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Why pay more for a cell phone?

Did you know that you don't have to buy your cell phone from your wireless service provider? Instead, you can buy an "unlocked" GSM phone that has all the features you want, and then get the GSM calling plan you want from your preferred service provider.

Intrigued? See the selection of unlocked phones available at Crutchfield Wireless. Be aware, as you shop, that not all service providers offer GSM plans.

You'll probably pay more up front for an unlocked phone. But if you switch service providers, you won't have to get a new phone. And you won't have to start from scratch with all your speed-dial contacts. If you change phones often, want to replace a lost or damaged phone, or don't want to be chained to another long-term service contract, an unlocked phone might be just the ticket.

Traveling overseas? With an unlocked GSM phone, you can insert a prepaid SIM card and save a lot of money. Prepaid SIM cards usually include free incoming calls originating from anywhere in the world. For more information, visit Telestial.

When you buy an unlocked phone in the U.S. make sure you look at what bands it has. The T-Mobile GSM network uses the standard European band (1900 MHz), so just about any 3-band phone works fine. The ATT (Cingular) network uses an American specific band (850MHz) extensively, so if you buy an unlocked phone without that band and try to use it on ATT in the U.S., you'll have large areas without coverage. The safest course is to buy a quad-band phone, since it will work everywhere in the world. In any case, make sure the phone you buy includes the bands used in the countries you plan to visit.

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