Which phone service is best for me?
Will my existing phone work in the country that I am traveling to?
If my existing phone won’t work, what type of phone should I buy?
How do I forward my existing number to my new roaming number?
What is a SIM card?
Will a different SIM card work in my existing phone?
How do I unlock my existing phone?
Going on short a vacation or holiday to another country?
Enjoy the benefits of STA Travel Connect's Global Service
Visiting several countries in a region or staying in a country for an extended period of time?
Enjoy the benefits of STA Travel Connect's Passport, and Home and Roam Services:
Visiting a specific country on a regular basis, or for a longer period of time?
STA Travel Connect offers local services or domestic services. These services offer low rates for local calls and local a phone number in that country. In general, these services do not work outside the country for which they are designed.
If you are from the United States or Canada and are planning to travel to Europe, Asia, Australia or South America, chances are your existing cell phone will not work in the country you are traveling to. If you are from the UK or Australia, your phone may not work in North America.
There are two reasons for this.
Frequencies by region are typically:
|Canada||850/1900MHz (3G only)|
If you are planning to travel internationally, you need to check if your phone is GSM compatible and if it will work on the GSM frequency band used in the country you are traveling to. This information should be in the instruction manual that accompanied your existing phone when you purchased it, or you can call your network operator.
If your phone will not work in the country you are traveling to you will need to buy a new GSM phone. You have a choice:
1. A dual band phone that works in the country you are traveling to, but not in your own country. There are different types of dual band phones:
|Dual band phone types||Suitable for:|
|850/1900MHz||North America only|
|900/1800MHz||Europe and Asia Pacific|
2. A tri-band phone works in most countries (with the primary exceptions of Japan and South Korea). There are two main types of tri-band phone:
|Tri-band phone types||Suitable for:|
|900/1800/1900MHz||Europe, Asia Pacific, North America and Caribbean|
|850/1800/1900MHz||North America and Asia Pacific|
3. A quad-band phone works in most countries (with the primary exceptions of Japan and South Korea).
|Quad-band phone types||Suitable for:|
|850/900/1800/1900MHz||All GSM operators in the world|
4. A 3G dual-mode phone works in Japan, South Korea and in the rest of most countries. These phones include combination of GSM and WCDMA (also known as 3G or UMTS) technology. There are two main types of dual-mode phone:
|3G Dual-mode phone types||Suitable for|
|3G/900/1800/1900MHz||Excellent in Japan, South Korea, Europe, Asia/Pacific, Africa and Brazil. Very good for US/Canada, Central and South America and Caribbean|
|3G/850/1800/1900MHz||Excellent in Japan, South Korea, USA/Canada, Central and South America. Not suitable for Europe, Asia/Pacific, Africa and Brazil.|
Dual band phones are cheaper than tri-band phones because they don't work in as many countries. If you are concerned about the up front cost of a phone, the cheapest option is a dual band mobile phone. However we recommend a tri-band phone so you can use it when you have finished traveling.
If your existing phone will work in the country you are traveling to, you may be able to buy just a SIM card (without having to buy a new phone).
You can forward calls from your existing number to your new roaming phone number by changing the settings in your existing phone.
For instructions on how to enable call forwarding with network operator short codes, please click here.
Depending on your GSM operator, the cost to forward a call to another number may vary.
A SIM card is the device (a small plastic card about the size of a thumb nail) that enables your phone to work and provide a phone service. The SIM card stores information that identifies the phone to the network service provider and thereby allows the phone to connect to the network and make calls. In many phones the SIM card can be removed and replaced with a different SIM card.
A different SIM card will work in your existing phone if your phone is a GSM compatible phone and is not "locked" to your network provider.
Many network operators sell "locked" phones. "Locked" means that the phone is restricted by the network operator to work only on itsï¿½ own or affiliate networks. If your existing phone is locked, you cannot use a SIM card supplied by another network provider without unlocking your phone first.
Check if your phone is locked - Your phone may be locked if you purchased it on contract or pay as you go. To check, insert a SIM card from another network into your phone and switch it on. If you are able to view the menu then your phone is unlocked. If the phone does not allow you to view the menu, but displays an error message such as "Phone restricted", "SIM not valid", or "SIM card not accepted, insert correct SIM card", your phone is most likely locked to your network provider. If you are not sure, contact your provider and ask them if your mobile phone is locked or not.
In most cases it is a simple process to unlock your phone. You have several options: