BB 8830 WE (Sprint) - Traveling to Asia
Hello, I am hoping someone out there is knowledgeable on traveling to Asia with 8830 WE (sprint network in US).
I am traveling to Beijing, Hong Kong, and Macau in May. It looks like the most two common options are:
(1) Call Sprint to activate the international plan: phone would work in Asia, so as sending and receiving data. However, phone calls would cost like a ridiculous $2.99 per minutes.
(2) Get a local sim card, and calling would be much cheaper, but generally no data on those.
Here are my questions:
(1) If I intend to buy local sim card for each of the city I am visiting, do I still have to call Sprint? Don't I simply plug in the local sim cards and I would be off to go?
(2) Using local sim card: Does that mean I have a local number, or could I still retain my US number on the phone?
(3) Reading the forum shows that 8830 WE is an unlocked phone. Does it mean it is already unlocked to be used in those cities above?
(4) Do I have to do something about the network (such as GSM vs CDMA) on my phone so that the phone would look for the GSM networks in Asia?
Thank you so much, and I hope some one might know the answers to these questions.
- CrackBerry User
03-09-2010, 12:48 PM #2
- 70 Posts
If you get a local SIM, put it in your unlocked 8830, you will have a local number. Pre-paid SIMS come with some time on them, and you buy a card to recharge or reload them. You can now make calls and send texts very cheap, and locals can return calls and texts. I could not get my BB to work in BES or BBM. I did not work real hard at it, but it seems that is not easily done or worth it if you are in the country for a short time.
My answer, was a second GSM phone to use.
I get my BB functions for "free", even data with VZW. The GSM phone gets a local SIM that I give everyone the number for. Usually, it is cheaper to use the local SIM to call the US. I even chose a double duty phone, by getting an unlocked Nokia N82, which a couple of years ago was hot stuff, lol. It also serves as a pocket digital camera. 5MP, Xenon flash, auto focus, zoom, and Carl Zeiss lens. It also has wifi, but the screen is so small, not much to do once hooked up, lol.
Make sure you have your passport with you when you buy your SIM. I have been asked a few times. you can get away with a Hong Kong SIM in Macau, but not so much the other way around. China would be for China only. My last trip something funny happened that never has. I bought a SIM in Beijing. When I was in Shanghai, it was very hard to find a recharge card for it. That had never happened before. I wish I could remember the company I got last time.
I have a few times had to manually change settings in my 8830. Maybe 10% of the time. Options>Mobile Network>Network mode set to GSM>Network Selection Mode set to manual, it will then scan for a network. If it picks up several, try each one until you see data flowing.
Hope my ramblings helped a little.
Thanks terryb99. I think I have a much better idea what to expect now. This is especially insightful when you mentioned that Hong Kong SIM might also work in Macau. I never thought of getting a cheapy GSM phone, but I guess that's always a possibility. How did you manage to get free data from VZN? Sprint charges international data by kB, and this does not sound good at all.
I also looked into skype mobile, but it does not seem to support BB. Is that true? Anybody used a sprint unlimited data plan?
- CrackBerry Newbie
05-28-2010, 02:31 PM #5
- 2 Posts
I also have a BB 8830 with Sprint and will be travelling to China. Looking to get work email (enterprise server), hotmail and place phone calls. Would just adding a SIM accomplish this?
What are typical rates for voice / data.
yuenlaikit - did you get your phone to work with SIM?
OK, load down using BB 8830 WE (with Sprint) in Asia:
*I do not use BB enterprise, so no comment on that service abroad.*
Note: Mainland China uses CDMA network, and Macau and Hong Kong use GSM networks.
(1) I called and subscribed to International data plan so that I have unlimited data in Asia. Data worked well in Beijing. Opera Mini (Web browsing), Google Talk, and email all worked well under the CDMA network in China. One minus, tetherberry does not work well in China. Perhaps the government has blocked some of the websites. For example, accessing facebook on the phone was not a problem, but tetherberry with a laptop, facebook is unavailable.
(2) 2nd destination - Macau experience: what a nightmare. Sprint somehow did not activate my SIM card, and so for a day or so, I have no data service. My love one's thought I went missing, and they were frantic. After calling customer service from Macau (and Sprint didn't make it clear that calling customer service is toll free), they claimed that activation for GSM based networks is different from that of CDMA (like mainlain China). So, after some negotiation of refund, I got data back on Macau. However, couple of things I found. One is that phone did not detect GSM, but rather GPRS, and data was very sluggish. Opera Mini does not work in Macau, nor other data intensive apps like Google Map and Pandora. However, it served my purpose as long as I have email and google talk. Also, a word of caution on texting. Sprint charges incoming texts, and in Macau, I received incoming SPAM text every 10 min or so (from local casinos to lure you to gamble with them). So, I have to block text while I was out there.
(3) 3rd Destination - Hong Kong: Same experience like Macau with sluggish data. In Hong Kong, I did get a local sim card to call relatives and friends. Text was still blocked since Macau, and so I have no experience with it. Now that I have experienced Sprint's service abroad, here's what I would have done. I would have bought a SIM in Hong Kong WITH DATA so that I do not have to swap SIM all the time.
(4) Returning to U.S.: I called Sprint to restore to my regular U.S. data service the day before I fly back. Albeit the rep was nice, polite, and tried to be helpful, nothing happened when I am back to U.S. I have to call again to repeat the request anyways in U.S. Essentially, no data service in U.S. until I call.
(5) Most people in China, Macau, and Hong Kong text in Chinese using their T9 Chinese input. On a separate handset, I learned how to do it in about 30 min or so. Anyone knows how to install T9 Chinese input in my BB? Would be neat to write email messages in Chinese like that. Texting in Chinese? Forget it. Texting in Chinese is just not impossible through a U.S. Carrier.
Sorry about the ramble. I thought I need to share all the details so that people know what to expect when they travel abroad.
Comments and Questions welcomed!
- CrackBerry Newbie
05-31-2010, 03:25 PM #7
- 2 Posts
Call to Sprint confirms GSM is unlocked and CDMA is locked (cannot be unlocked). Did you try GSM in mainland China. Looks like both networks are used.
Also I was told that the Word Data plan should work.
Do you know if I could use voice SIM (purchase in China) on GSM and use Sprint data plan together? I guess I might have ot switch networks to do each?
I have never heard of using a SIM for phone calls, but retain data services from a U.S. carrier. My understanding is that if you put a SIM into your phone, then the entire mobile service would be provided by the SIM provider.