What are you waiting for, register to join now (it's free): CLICK HERE

Author Topic: Cell Phones  (Read 2325 times)

Offline mrbearhug

  • Forum Champion
  • Posts: 92
  • PC Status: Applicant
Cell Phones
« on: January 20, 2016, 10:14:15 AM »
Question: Has anyone been to use a iPhone while serving to make actual calls? I have iPhone 6 but trying to find out if this will work or have to get another phone. The project site will have solid internet access so prob could use phone to hook up to internet but making reg calls might different story. Prob could Skype or buy a cheap cell phone in that country if needed.

Offline Marion

  • Administrator
  • Forum Champion
  • Posts: 70
  • Botswana (2011-2013)
  • PC Status: RPCV
Re: Cell Phones
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2016, 10:43:54 AM »
I served in Botswana 2011-2013.  They had cell service there and there were two companies providing that service, but they were not the usual companies you see here in the states.

So the problem with many people was that their phones (whether Iphone or otherwise) had to be unlocked to use a different carrier. Getting the phone unlocked while over there was a lot of trouble for some people I knew and many never were successful.  I would suggest you get your phone unlocked BEFORE leaving the country, if you plan to use it with a foreign carrier.

If that was resolved the smartphones worked fine with the foreign companies -- if they are GSM phones.

Most cell carriers around the world use the GSM technology, but in the US, some providers have non-global ready (CDMA-only) cell phones.  Just be sure your phone is GSM ready (it probably is).
Marion
RPCV, Botswana (2011-2013)

Offline mrbearhug

  • Forum Champion
  • Posts: 92
  • PC Status: Applicant
Re: Cell Phones
« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2016, 11:24:01 AM »
Thanks for info

Offline Jeff

  • Forum Hero
  • Posts: 177
    • Doing it Twice
  • PC Status: RPCV
Re: Cell Phones
« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2016, 01:05:24 PM »
I would say the answer to this is very country-dependent.

Which place are you asking about?  If Macedonia, I can give you some info....
Jeff
RPCV - Ghana, 03-05
PCV - Macedonia, 15-17

Offline mrbearhug

  • Forum Champion
  • Posts: 92
  • PC Status: Applicant
Re: Cell Phones
« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2016, 03:50:47 PM »
Yes Macedonia and/or  Rwanda - Thanks

Offline Jeff

  • Forum Hero
  • Posts: 177
    • Doing it Twice
  • PC Status: RPCV
Re: Cell Phones
« Reply #5 on: January 21, 2016, 02:21:44 AM »
As for Macedonia, many of us (and many HCNs) have iPhones of various types...we use them to make calls within the country, but when calling outside the country back home we usually use a VOIP app such as Skype or Viber.  They work really well here.

The plans we get are usually through T-Mobile, and PC staff will help get that set up for you once you are in-country during the first week here, called Orientation Week.  You will have to pay for it, but they'll do the legwork.  You will either need an unlocked phone, or if you'd rather not use it, you can buy a 'dumb' flip-phone here.  Some people actually use the flip phone for talking in country, and then just use their iPhones/smartphones from home for wireless stuff and calling back home through internet apps like Viber (as mentioned above).

Direct calls on the network (not through VOIP) can be VERY expensive, and aren't usually worth it since there is so much wireless everywhere.
Jeff
RPCV - Ghana, 03-05
PCV - Macedonia, 15-17

Offline Marion

  • Administrator
  • Forum Champion
  • Posts: 70
  • Botswana (2011-2013)
  • PC Status: RPCV
Re: Cell Phones
« Reply #6 on: January 21, 2016, 08:55:56 AM »
Yep...   I had a smartphone (Blackberry) that I used for local calls and for checking my email, etc.  To call the USA I used Google Voice.  Many used Skype.  That was in 2011-2013, there are more choices now.

In Botswana they gave us all a cheap phone at orientation, that varies by country.  I used my own Blackberry during my stay.

The modern Peace Corps is a whole lot different than the stereotypical Peace Corps you may imagine.  In earlier decades I imagine volunteers were completely cut off from contact for months at a time.  Now you probably are not far from an internet cafe or a library where you can shoot a quick email to folks back home and get the latest news.

We actually had wifi in our home, Posh Corps.

Marion
RPCV, Botswana (2011-2013)

Offline mrbearhug

  • Forum Champion
  • Posts: 92
  • PC Status: Applicant
Re: Cell Phones
« Reply #7 on: January 21, 2016, 09:34:03 AM »
I have a iPhone 6 through Sprint at this time. It appears would have solid internet at one project site for Skype...email..etc (not sure about living area). Thanks for info. Prob end using phone with computer and buying another cheap phone for actual calls..but need to talk sprint about a possible international plan.

Offline Jeff

  • Forum Hero
  • Posts: 177
    • Doing it Twice
  • PC Status: RPCV
Re: Cell Phones
« Reply #8 on: January 21, 2016, 11:17:05 AM »
You are much better off (most likely) seeing if Sprint will put you under a military suspension for the term of your service.  I don't know the appropriate number for that for Sprint as I have Verizon, but I was able to do that with Verizon while I'm here.  As soon as I get back I just pick back up with my same phone number and plan.

In country, you will most likely want to get a local plan...and PC staff in whatever country you wind up in will help you out with that.  Especially in Macedonia, you really don't want to use a US plan here.
Jeff
RPCV - Ghana, 03-05
PCV - Macedonia, 15-17

Offline mrbearhug

  • Forum Champion
  • Posts: 92
  • PC Status: Applicant
Re: Cell Phones
« Reply #9 on: January 21, 2016, 02:21:20 PM »
Not bad idea...thanks