Talk:Mobile phones

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Country information[edit]

Mobile telephones#Information by Country is a mess of poorly-organised and often redundant information which overlaps the individual country articles, particularly in North America with United States of America#Mobile phones, United States of America#Buying a mobile phone and Canada#Mobiles. See Talk:United States of America#Buying a mobile phone. K7L (talk) 18:30, 1 September 2014 (UTC)

Prepaid operators[edit]

I think the table about operators offering prepaid or international SIMs will be a monster if covering even a dozen of the most visited countries. I also doubt it be maintained for all countries covered. I have no solution to the problem, but we should think carefully what the scope of such a table should be. --LPfi (talk) 06:25, 15 April 2015 (UTC)

True. I might have been the one who tagged this as {{merge}} when it was a separate stub of an article, and maybe this should have been sent to VfD instead as the whole thing is skewed to one country too badly to be useful. :( K7L (talk) 14:23, 15 April 2015 (UTC)

Phone numbers[edit]

There seems to be no section about phone numbers. The issue can be somewhat confusing, as numbers are often found in domestic form, and many enter phone numbers in domestic form when not travelling. Some discussion would be helpful.

Under what circumstances is a number without international prefix (+code) treated as referencing that number in the home country of the SIM, and when as one in the local operator's country? Many numbers are unreachable from abroad, are they reachable from roaming phones?

The issue popped up for Norwegian emergency numbers. 112 is treated as a special case by the phone and by the network (at least GSM and successors), but what about 113 & al, and service numbers such as 08505? And what about 911, 999, 111 & co if recognized by the phone but possibly in conflicting use locally?

--LPfi (talk) 08:45, 6 April 2017 (UTC)

Costs for caller[edit]

I have understood that the caller always pays the rate he or she would pay if the target phone were in the home net (defined according to SIM and called number). Any higher costs would be surprises for those not knowing about the travel, and the operators will hardly give any reductions without special arrangements.

However, in Roaming we say "Moreover, those who send you an SMS using a carrier back home will be charged at local rates." as if the same were not the case for calls. I suppose the sentence should be removed, but want to be sure.

--LPfi (talk) 09:36, 6 October 2017 (UTC)

Alternative banner for this article?[edit]

Banner currently used in this article
Suggested new alternative banner

I created a new alternative banner for this article (I initially created it first and foremost so that it would be used at the top of the parallel article in the Hebrew edition of Wikivoyage, yet I later decided to also suggest that the English Wikivoyage community would consider using it here as well). So, which banner do you prefer having at the top of this article? ויקיג'אנקי (talk) 08:28, 13 September 2018 (UTC)

I like the composition of the current banner, but the phone in it is so old, so I think we should go with your suggested replacement, even though the photo is kind of drab. Ikan Kekek (talk) 08:49, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
Alternative banner. --Comment by Selfie City (talk about my contributions) 14:22, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
I like the alternative much better. —Granger (talk · contribs) 14:40, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
It seems like everyone wants to see the new banner, so I will make the change for this one. We can always change it back if someone comes along and disagrees with the change. --Comment by Selfie City (talk about my contributions) 17:34, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
Looks good! --Comment by Selfie City (talk about my contributions) 17:35, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
I agree, looks good and the tech featured is more current. DethDestroyerOfWords (talk) 13:52, 14 September 2018 (UTC)

To guide?[edit]

Another quite extensive article; what would you say is missing before it can be upgraded to guide? -- ϒψιλον (talk) 17:25, 1 April 2019 (UTC)

It needs a thorough review. I notice the first section after the intro ("Mobile phone basics") talks extensively about the EU, with only some remarks about the rest of the world. The section on technologies in "Bring your phone" is quite nerdy, with name dropping of sometimes unclear benefit. I think it could be written to be quite a bit clearer. Roaming is mentioned three times before the section "Roaming", where most of that information has to be repeated. Etc. I.e. some moving stuff around is needed.
One thing I notice is absent, is a discussion about what kind of phone to bring or buy, except the discussion on radio standards and frequencies. Should you bring a smartphone or buy a sturdy and cheap old model? If you look forward to install local apps, are those available for all phones or is some OS a safer bet than others? I suppose there are other choices, which may be relevant when travelling but less so at home, and thus easily forgotten. (And should you install some apps already at home? – at least navigation apps with large maps are probably in that category.)
The Regions section has more than a screenful about North America (apparently Canada and USA, with "the Caribbean" mentioned in parenthesis), while Europe has a paragraph each on three countries, Asia mentions six and Africa has three lines about Egypt. Some attempt should be done to research the missing countries.
--LPfi (talk) 18:57, 1 April 2019 (UTC)

Mandatory ID checking[edit]

The article says that prepaid SIM cards "used to be cheap (€10 or less with credit included) and widely available in the EU until 2016, when legislation banned anonymous pre-paid SIM cards."

A month ago I bought a prepaid SIM in Finland for €5, containing €6 worth of calls and data (valid 6 month without topping, no weirdness, 7c/min, which I regard normal, although most people over here have €20/month unlimited bundles). Similar SIMs are offered all around. I did not tell my name nor show an ID.

Was the telco shop breaking rules? Is Finland an outlier?

--LPfi (talk) 17:51, 5 April 2020 (UTC)

Saunalahti at least doesn't seem to ask for ID "to take the service in use". --Ypsilon (talk) 18:09, 5 April 2020 (UTC)
No registering needed with my card, not then and not for topping up. They do have some offers that require registration – and if you buy an Android Google and its patners want to know anything about you, even if you are going to nuke the operating system ... But no, no ID needed for legal purposes. –LPfi (talk) 10:09, 13 May 2021 (UTC)
I now removed the discussion from Mobile phone basics, where it does not belong. What directive is this? Implementation seems to vary to a degree that there is no use discussing EU as one entity when it comes to SIM buying. Here are the removed sentences:
[SIMs used to be cheap and easily available] in the EU until 2016 when, due to an EU directive, buying a pre-paid SIM has become more difficult in some countries due to their implementation of this directive; for example, in some countries (e.g. Italy) a local tax code may be necessary. However, in many other EU countries it is still quite possible to freely buy prepaid SIMs without any identification or only minimal identification as a short-term visitor (in fact, in most EU countries that require identification it is sufficient just to present your passport or passport and hotel booking as proof of address).
LPfi (talk) 08:01, 30 June 2021 (UTC)

List of problematic countries[edit]

I am not sure we want the list of countries where obtaining a local SIM is problematic (the infobox). The information should be in the respective Connect sections anyway. I think it is enough to mention the problems generally, warning about groups of countries or territories (Come on, would you expect to be able to get a SIM from a local supermarket or telco outlet in the South Sandwich Islands? A small gift shop at Grytviken is all there is, no mobile phone antennas other than perhaps on visiting ships). China#Mobile phones recommends buying a prepaid card for stays over a few days, is that info outdated? Similar for Cuba#Phone. India#Mobile seems to suggest prepaid, with no issues mentioned. –LPfi (talk) 12:55, 6 June 2021 (UTC)

The linked site has a million partners for which cookies have to be turned off manually one by one in a hidden list, if I understood correctly. Accept or turn off javascript. I don't like such sites and my filters are not working (upgrade problems). –LPfi (talk) 13:12, 6 June 2021 (UTC)
I like how you left examples of different restrictions with examples. Sorry for providing a link to such a website. uBlock Origin removes 100% of their cookie consents via special anti-cookie list. I mentioned this website since it's the most valuable website for the topic of prepaid SIMs. OFFTOPIC: do you think I may add one international SIM operator, that I have recently started using? I'd really like to recommend it, since its really a good deal for roaming (and also has unlimited traffic for messengers). Soshial (talk) 14:52, 6 June 2021 (UTC)

Domestic phone numbers with foreign phone[edit]

Swept in from the pub

I asked a few years back at Talk:Mobile phones#Phone numbers. Now the question popped up again in Talk:Australia#Phone number format:

There seems to be no section about phone numbers. The issue can be somewhat confusing, as numbers are often found in domestic form, and many enter phone numbers in domestic form when not travelling. Some discussion would be helpful.
Under what circumstances is a number without international prefix (+code) treated as referencing that number in the home country of the SIM, and when as one in the local operator's country? Many numbers are unreachable from abroad, are they reachable from roaming phones?
The issue popped up for Norwegian emergency numbers. 112 is treated as a special case by the phone and by the network (at least GSM and successors), but what about 113 & al, and service numbers such as 08505? And what about 911, 999, 111 & co if recognized by the phone but possibly in conflicting use locally?
--LPfi (talk) 08:45, 6 April 2017 (UTC)

LivelyRatification wrote in Talk:Australia:

"In most cases, you simply don't have to call these listings overseas. Maybe for booking accomodation, but [...]. My personal preference would be to format numbers as you see them in Australia, +61 XX XXXX XXXX. If we must keep it internationalised, [...]"

So does anybody know the standard or have experience from around the world? If you call 02 1234 5678 from Queensland with a SIM from France, does it get answered in New South Wales or in Brittany? Does whether you have the number saved in your phone (without prefix) matter? Are special numbers such as 113 in Norway guaranteed to work as expected with a foreign SIM? What about the 0800 toll-free numbers in many countries?

LPfi (talk) 10:38, 13 May 2021 (UTC)

My experience in Thailand (but already a few years ago): Calling 02 123 4567 (no country code) would connect me to a wired phone in Bangkok. But my Dutch phone company had some extra information that said: "When in Thailand, make shure you are connected to Thai phone company X, when connected to another Thai phone company than X the call will be more expensive". So if there is a kind of business arrangement between both companies, you get the best price by selecting the advised connection from the available connections. In another country it could be possible that you cannot make any call unless you connect to the right phone company, because without a business arrangement with your own phone company your call cannot be charged to you own phone company. --FredTC (talk) 11:56, 13 May 2021 (UTC)
I see two possibilities for that advice: either the Dutch company has roaming agreements with different companies, with different terms, or the Thai companies have different policies/agreements with the landline company, and letting that spill over on the foreign roaming customers. I'd suppose there are international frameworks for the roaming agreements, and those would influence what customers should expect. Does anyone know? –LPfi (talk) 07:48, 14 May 2021 (UTC)

"Global 5G support"[edit]

The bullet on 5G was changed to

Many countries have 5G networks available now, although phones with "global" 5G support are not widely available yet.

@Jamar0303: Are there incompatible 5G standards? How does a phone with "global 5G support" differ from one with domestic 5G support? –LPfi (talk) 07:15, 30 June 2021 (UTC)

It's not that there are incompatible 5G standards; surprisingly, the world has largely agreed on the NR standard. However, there are a significantly larger variety of radio bands that 5G spectrum can be deployed on (band numbers are now creeping into the 3-digits), and mobile phone manufacturers are largely choosing to only include a given region's frequency bands in devices sold in that region. Some flagship phones have some measure of support for 5G outside the region they're sold in, but it's not common practice yet. Jamar0303 (talk) 07:26, 30 June 2021 (UTC)
OK. Odd that they didn't succeed in getting the frequencies standardised. Do they vary from country to country or are they coordinated by ITU region? –LPfi (talk) 07:33, 30 June 2021 (UTC)
Some frequency bands are country-specific or specific to a couple of countries (for example, n71 is limited to the US and Canada for now, and n2, n12, n260, and n261 among a couple others are US-only) but others are more coordinated (for example, n78 is the "common" mid-band and n28 is the "common" low-band in ITU regions 1 and 3; you'll see those most often in those ITU regions). Some are only used by a few countries but don't seem to be ITU-coordinated (for example, n41 is being used in China, Thailand, Saudi Arabia, Trinidad and Tobago, and the US). Also, the one exception to the "largely agreed" I mentioned earlier is that some wireless operators in the US are running separate 5G networks for mobile users and home internet, where the 5G home internet network uses a different standard not used elsewhere. These proprietary networks cover areas that the NR-standard networks for mobile users also cover, so any visitor with a 5G phone that supports the US frequency bands would still have access to 5G with no issue. Hope that helps explain. Jamar0303 (talk) 17:42, 30 June 2021 (UTC)
My impression of what you are saying is that although there are frequencies used in only some countries, there are also widely used frequencies, and I'd suppose most 5G phones to cover enough "common" frequencies to get 5G coverage in any country with a 5G network, perhaps not as good coverage as a domestic phone, but enough that whether there are any 5G networks around is a bigger issue. Isn't that so? –LPfi (talk) 09:12, 1 July 2021 (UTC)
The point I made with saying that "global" support isn't all that common is that there are widely used frequencies, but that they're still limited by ITU region. At this time, most 5G phones sold in EMEA or Asia will have enough "common" frequencies to work within those regions, and in each other's regions. As you mentioned, speeds and coverage will not be as good as a locally sold phone that might cover some local-specific frequencies, but they will work. Going to and coming from North America, however, most 5G phones sold in North America so far will only work on 5G in North America and a few countries that happen to use some of the same North American frequencies, and the same applies in the other direction. As an example of a mid-range phone with 5G not having "global" support, a factory-unlocked or T-Mobile branded Samsung Galaxy A32 5G purchased in the US only has n25, n41, n66, and n71. Of these, only n41 is used outside North America, and China is the only other country to widely use it (that is, widely enough that worrying about whether 5G is around is the bigger issue). Meanwhile, a Europe-market model of the same phone has n1, n3, n5, n7, n8, n20, n28, n38, n40, n41, n66, n78, and n79. Of these, only n5 (AT&T), n38 (Rogers), and n41 (T-Mobile) are used in North America, and only AT&T's is "nationwide", while the other two use theirs for additional capacity in large and mid-sized cities. So it's a bit of a minefield. Jamar0303 (talk) 02:38, 3 July 2021 (UTC)