FAQ
(Frequently Asked Questions) about
GSM MOBILE TELEPHONY
New questions can be sent to OsbyMikro
About phones
About subscriptions
About costs
About Swedish operators
About foreign operators
About roaming
About SIM cards
About accessories
About GSM net/technics
About SMS
.
About phones
Q: Can I use my ordinary GSM phone in the USA?
A: No, most probably not, if you don't happen to own one of the very latest Dual-band or Tripple-band phones that are prepared for this.
Q: Which is the best GSM phone?
A: It is impossible to say. Most GSM phones are good enough. Try to ask your friends and collegues what their experiencies are. You almost always get what you pay for. Check the real prices, not the subsidiesed ones, then you´ll get a hinch about what you get. The largest producers in the world are Motorola, Ericsson, Nokia, Siemens and Samsung  (not neccesary in that order).
Q: I´m going to buy a new phone and can't decide, Nokia or Ericsson. Which one should I pick?
A: Both phones are about the same quality. It's a matter of taste.
Q: Can I connect my PC to the phone and in that way administer phone numbers and such?
A: Yes, many mobiles have data cables or IR (infra red) connection.
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About subscriptions
Q: What kind if subscription is Comviq Fritid? You never see it advertised.
A: It is a special type of subscription with a fee of 50SEK/month to call for or to save for comming months.
Q: What PrePaid GSM SIM cards are there in Sweden?
A: Right now (June 2003) there are Comviq Kontant, Comviq Tango, Telia halebop, Telia Refill, Vodafone PrePaid. There are also so called virtual operators that use other company's nets. Exemples of these cards are; Lunar Mobile Vrål, Djucie (Telenor owned).
Q: What is the differens between a PrePaid card like Comviq Kontant and other GSM subscriptions?
A: Comviq Kontant and others above mentioned, are so called PrePaid cards, which means that you can buy it and make calls untill the credit is all used up, just like an ordinary phone card. When the card is empty you can fill it up again. The card has its own phone number. You don't sign any contract. There is no credit control or no age limit for the buyers.
Q: What subscription is the most inexpensive?
A: It all depends on how much and when you call. It's almost impossible to say. There are different types of subscriptions to fit different user profiles.
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About costs
Q: What is the cheapest way of making international calls?
A: The cheapest way is usually through a call back provider. With call back you usually mean when you place a call through an operator in the USA. You then pay the low US prices. This is specially noticeable when you're in Europe calling to the Americas. Calls to eastern Europe are very often cheaper through your local provider.
Q: How much is it to send an SMS?
A: It's about 1.30SEK/st in Sweden. It varies much between different countries
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About Swedish operators
Q: I live in Malmö. Which operator shall I chose?
A: Now, I would avoid Comviq. They suffer from a devistating lack of capacity. With Telia and Europolitan are usually no bigger problems. When the operators have their GSM1800 net up and running it will be much better for the subscribers in larger cities.
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About foreign operators
Q: Can I, living in Sweden, get myself a foreign GSM subscription and use it in Sweden to get access to all three Swedish GSM nets? What would it cost?
A: It is possible with many operators and service providers, but they usually demand a permanent address and a bank account in the country. On top of that they demand a fairly large deposition, sometimes as large as 15.000SEK. It's worth noting that all calls are international calls in roaming. And one have to pay for all incomming calls, too. There might be other possibilities when secure systems for billing while roaming with PrePaid GSM SIM cards has developed. Italian Omnitel has introduced such a system on 12 January 1997, but it's only for clients living in Italy..
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About roaming
Q: In what countries can I roam with my GSM phone?
A: All three Swedish operators have roaming agreements with many different GSM operators around the world. Generally you could say that you can use your GSM phone all over Europe, large parts of Africa, Asia, Oceania and America. Put yourself in contact with your operator's customer care department, to get accurate information on the countries you're interested in.
Q: I am going to New York. Can I bring my GSM phone and use it there?
A: You most probably can't use your phone, if your're not the owner of a so called tri-band phone, but bring your GSM SIM card and use it in a rented or borrwed phone. It is usually called "SIM roaming".
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About SIM cards
Q: How can I in a simple way copy all my phone book entries on my SIM card to a new SIM card?
A: There are some SIM card readers.They consist of SIM card reader and software. This equipment enables you to copy and edit the phone book and stored SMSs. In some phones, for example Nokia you can easily copy the phone book on the SIM card to the memory in the phone and vice versa.. With this function you can indirectly copy between two SIM cards.
Q: What is the differens between a small and a large SIM card?
A: Nothing but the amount of plastic surrounding the chip.
Q: What is "SIM lock"?
A: Some operators lock their subsidised phones to their own SIM cards, which means that you won't be able to use the phone together with any other SIM cards. It is a way for the operator to ensure that he will get the subsidies back. After the contract period, you could get the unlocking code from the operator.
Q: What is the difference between PIN and PIN2?
A: PIN is the personal locking code for the SIM card, which is used so noone else can gain access to the subscription. PIN2 is used on SIM cards of Phase2+ type, where some functions are supposed to have the possibility of being locked by the user, temporarily, for example if someone else borrows your phone.
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About accessories
Q: Can I change antenna to another on my mobile phone? There's so many fancy ones, short or long and blinking ones, too.
A: Antennas are delicate parts of the phones. I could consider changing it if I had a replacement antenna that I could feel sure that it had been design in harmony with the rest of the delicate electronics. I would choose an original or one from a well known company for example Swedish Allgon.
Q: Are "pirated" batteries always of lower quality than originals?
A: Not neccesarily. When you are buying a battery, it's very hard to tell the diffrence in quality. In a battery of high quality you will not only find the cells but some sort of fuse, too, for overload or heat protection. But since the batteries are all sealed you can't very well examine this. The best advice is to buy known brands, wether it's original or not.
Q: How can a new battery be priced 495SEK when a new complete phone only costs 99SEK sometimes? 
A: It has to do with the fact that the real price of phone is not 99SEK but maybe 2499SEK. The customer pays 99SEK and the rest of the money comes from the net operators or service providers. They pay to make the customers sign a 12, 18 or even 24 month contract. The 99SEK that the customers are paying is more of down payment than the price of the phone..
Q: Can I connect my laptop computer to my GSM phone? 
A: Some phones are already prepared with this function. You'll have to have some sort of interface card for the computer to let tou connect it to your GSM phone. These interface card are ofte incorrectly refered to as modems, as they have the same function as a modem. There are also phones with an infrared link. Some others do the trick with only a cable and software.
Q: Could the plastic in my phone bags windows have ruined the display of my phone?
A: Sure, some types of plastic don't go together well. Are there also seams, they could make it even worse. If you buy a phone worth appr 4000SEK (without subcidies) you could buy a better bag than a 79SEK one!
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About GSM net/technics
Q: How far from a GSM antenna can I use my phone. Does it help if I attach an exterior mounted antenna to the phone?
A: There is a technical limitation of 35 km in an ordinary GSM900 net. Nowadays there are solutions toovercome that limitation, too. The user himself can't do anything to extend the maximum distans with the help of an exterior antenna. Of course it will improve your reception qutilty within the 35km limit.
Q: In the users manual of my phone there is something about "cell info". What is that?
A: You can receive information about in what cell you're in. I some nets they have substantially lower calling rates within your "home cell". Danish Sonofon has such an arrangement. It costs 0.60DKK resp 0.40DKK per minute.
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About SMS
Q: How do I send an SMS?
A: To start with you'll have to have a phone that is capable of sending SMSs. Then you'll have to enter the correct number for your SMS Centre (Vodafone +44385016005, Comviq +46707990001, D1 +491710760000). Then you are ready to enter your message and send it. To be more accurate you'll have to look it up in your user's manual.
Q: Can you get a confirmation that the SMS has reached the receipent?
A: Yes, but it differs between operators. Ask your operator or service provider.
Q: Can I send and receive emails with my phone?
A: Yes, with some operators. But check the prices. There are huge differences.
Q: Can I receive SMSs abroad? Does it cost me anything?
A: You can, if the net you are logged in to supports it. Most nets do, but not all. In the majority of nets it doesn't cost anything to receive an SMS, but there are exceptions.
Q: Can you send SMS from a PrePaid GSM card.
A: In most net but in a some you can't, but you can always receive.
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