Mobile phones have become an essential part of our lives. he most important communication tool in our digital world. When you plan to travel to another country, it is important to know whether the phone you use right now will work in the country you are going to.
Even more importantly, when you want to buy a phone overseas, it’s important to find out whether the phone will work in your home country. Making a phone work in another country is sometimes not as easy as saying swapping sim cards.
So before you buy a phone from a different country, or travel with your current handset to a different country, here is a guide to determine whether your phone will work there.
Is the Phone Carrier Locked?
Some phones are carrier locked and that means no other sim card from a different carrier will work on that phone. Even if the carrier works in that same country. If a phone is locked by one of the carriers of it’s local country, it will not work in another country.
However, a carrier locked phone can be unlocked. You can ask the service provider to unlock for you or use some unlocking tips and tools online.
There are two major global network standards for mobile phones. GSM and CDMA. Most phone use either of the standards. Very few phones use both and it’ most likely the phone you have now uses one of them.
Before you travel, determine what network standard your phone uses and what is used in your destination country. If they are different, your phone will not work. Many countries, like Japan and the US, use a mixture of GSM and CDMA. For example, the largest provider in the US is Verizon, which uses CDMA. A GSM phone will not be able to work on the Verizon network.
Will My Phone Work?
Now that you have an idea that your phone might not work in another country, here is a tool that will help you confirm your fears.
http://willmyphonework.net/ is a useful online tool that will help you determine whether a specific handset will work in a particular country. Enter the phone make and model, then select the country. The tool will show you whether the phone will work in that country.
If your phone will work in the country you are travelling to, all you need to do is buy a pre-paid sim card when you arrive and slot it into your phone.
What If My Phone Doesn’t Work?
If you find out that the country you’re going to does not support the network on your handset, you should start budgeting for a low cost phone to buy as soon as you arrive.
If you are sure the place you’re going to will have wifi, you can simply connect your phone to a Wifi network and communicate using apps like Whatsapp to make free calls and send messages.
If you want to buy a phone from a different country, make sure you check it’s network standard. GSMarena uaually has this information on the specifications page for smartphones.
If it will not work in your country, don’t bother buying it.