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From Bay Area to Barcelona

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A new mobile phone [ Monday, 10 Nov 08 | 20:26 ]
[Tags|, ]
[My Location |El Masnou (Barcelona) España]
[My Mood |geekygeeky]

So after nearly three years I finally bought a new mobile phone. The battery of my old phone would only keep a charge for two days and I couldn’t find a replacement battery. Not even the Sony Ericsson on-line store had one listed. I was dreaming of an Apple iPhone, but couldn’t justify the on-going expense.

I looked for phones at several stores and thought I had decided on a model. I went to The Phone House, which bills itself as “the world’s largest independent telecommunications retailer.” That translates to having lower prices than Fnac or Media Markt. Of course the model I wanted was discontinued. So they gave me a catalog to look for more options.

Basically I wanted mobile with 4 GSM bands so that I could use the phone anywhere. Also I needed Bluetooth so I could synchronize contacts and calendars with my computer. I selected the Sony Ericsson S500i, which is a “slider” style phone.

Sony Ericsson S500i
Contrasted Copper


The phone was available in black (called “mysterious green”) at Fnac, but it was available in “ice purple” and “contrasted copper” at The Phone House for 90 € less. I opted to save money over a preferred color. The phone has a hidden keypad, which allows for a 240x320 pixel TFT screen without increasing the size of the phone.

My old phone had an exposed keypad which meant that I had to activate a keylock so it wouldn’t accidentally make a call when it was banging around in my pocket. Now I just slide the phone open to use it.

I have used Sony Ericsson mobiles for more than 10 years and I am used to their software. With each phone the software has improved. This new phone allows me to configure it so that the functions I normally use are more quickly available than before.

Of course there is some “fun” stuff. Ruben found photo templates that can be used when using the built-in camera. So he took the following picture of me.

astronaut template


So I had to do the same thing to him!

mountain climber template


The camera can produce up to a 1200x1600 pixel image, which is plenty for a phone. If I want to take “real” pictures, I will use one of my digital cameras.

This phone is a completely “free” (libre) meaning that I can use any SIM card in it. Currently I use a prepay SIM from Movistar, probably the most expensive operator in España. Ruben recently found a cheaper operator, Simyo, which offers calls at 8 centimes a minute to other operators. The first 10 minutes of a call to another Simyo subscriber is free (after a 0,15 € connection fee.)


[User Picture]From: cuboz
Tuesday, 11 Nov 08 | 02:56 (UTC)

I'm presuming you kept the same mobile phone number (the one ending in 956), so that people can call you on important occasions? *wink* :-)

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[User Picture]From: ursine1
Tuesday, 11 Nov 08 | 05:54 (UTC)

The same mobile phone number

Umm... that's what is meant by completely “free” (libre) phone meaning that I can use any SIM card in it. The phone number is connected to the SIM. It takes about two weeks to transfer a number to a different SIM. The phone, since it is "free" didn't come with a SIM. This is rare for the US, I don't know about Oz.

When I bought the new mobile, the salesman put my existing SIM card in the new phone to make sure it worked. They do that here in Spain, they make sure the phone works before you leave the store.

When you buy electronics here, they normally inspect the packaging to make sure everything is there. Often things do not come "shrink wrapped". In the US many stores have a machine in the back and they re-wrap returned goods so you think they are "brand new".

Curious that since a different phone ID is transmitted when making a call, my operator called me a few days after I bought the new mobile and asked if I wanted to change from prepaid to contract. I told them NO, I am just using up my existing credit before switching to a cheaper operator (Simyo).

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[User Picture]From: gorkabear
Tuesday, 11 Nov 08 | 08:19 (UTC)

Re: The same mobile phone number

My ex Oscar had Simyo and he was quite happy with it. The only drawback is that it is more expensive to call you. They use Vodafone's network
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[User Picture]From: cuboz
Friday, 21 Nov 08 | 09:42 (UTC)

Re: The same mobile phone number

Nice to know you have the same number...

Yes - you can buy LOTS of "unlocked" phones here, that you put your own SIM (and therefore own number) in to.

And they introduced "porting" quite some years ago, which meant that you could change phone companies, and take your number with you.... :-)
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[User Picture]From: stoicbear
Tuesday, 11 Nov 08 | 03:00 (UTC)
Looks pretty nice. :-)

Personally, I just use my phone to phone people, as a file transfer devise (think USB dongle thingie with 4GB capacity) and I take pictures with it in a pinch too. It's a crackberry pearl, but after playing with a bunch of the data features/toys for a few months, I just wasn't into the "fun" stuff of/on a phone, so I quit the data/internet plans. I spend too much time with electronic devices anyway. :-)

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[User Picture]From: ursine1
Tuesday, 11 Nov 08 | 05:39 (UTC)

I just use my phone to phone people

Same here, although SMS messages are more popular here than in North America. (They are cheaper than calling.) I don't have a data or internet plans either, I'm retired! I pay under 50 € a year, and that's with the really expensive roaming when I am in the US.

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[User Picture]From: stoicbear
Tuesday, 11 Nov 08 | 19:35 (UTC)

Re: I just use my phone to phone people

That's a pretty good rate. Cell phone rates in Canada are quite high, because there's little competition. That's going to change soon, though, because they allowed more carriers into the market after the frequency sell off.
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