1. oldff's Avatar
    This newby would be grateful for educational help. In what follows, do not assume that I know what I'm talking about.

    Santa Claus brought me a new Playbook, which I'm learning and enjoying. I do not now have a smartphone, just an old TDMA cell, and I figure it's time to upgrade -- I'm looking at the 9900. My web studies suggest the following so far.

    In Canada, the 9900 can act as a wi-fi hotspot, providing a platform to feed input to the PB, provided that I have a combined voice and data plan with my carrier Bell Mobility. The cost of the 9900 will be lowered substantially by Bell if I sign up for a long-term contract. But if I do that, the phone will be locked to Bell, and cant be used elsewhere or with any other carrier.

    OTOH, I can pay more elsewhere and buy an unlocked 9900, for which I can then buy from Bell a SIM card and enter into a plan for combined voice and data. I presume that I wouldnt then have to enter a long-term contract, since they wouldnt be subsidizing the purchase of the phone.

    Then I could take my 9900 and PB off to foreign lands, particularly including Australia soon, drop in a local SIM card from an indigenous service provider, and pay for voice and data as I use them while travelling around.

    All this without fussing around to get a locked 9900 unlocked.

    Does all this sound reasonable? Is there a better way to organize the 9900-PB combination here at home and abroad?

    Many thanks for any help.

    OldFF
    01-16-12 04:30 PM
  2. dew066's Avatar
    I am not a pro, but I would get a locked BB 9900 on Bell contract and then get it unlocked for about $20 or less. With your BB data/voice plan you can use a BB application called BB Bridge which will allow you to access the internet anywhere without wi-fi on the playbook. When you go to Australia get a SIM card there.
    This is assuming you will only be visiting Australia.

    Posted from my CrackBerry at wapforums.crackberry.com
    01-16-12 06:31 PM
  3. kevinnugent's Avatar
    You *will* need to unlock your 9900 before stepping foot on our fair shores to use a local SIM, OldFF. Most telco's will unlock their phones if you tell them you're travelling.
    If not, do as dew066 suggests and pay a few bucks to have it done online.

    Oh, and when you get here make sure you get a Blackberry Plan SIM. They are different services and not all telco's here provide them "pre-paid".
    01-16-12 09:21 PM
  4. Dapper37's Avatar
    I do the same you wish to all the time and it works perfectly. lots of places don"t even charge to unlock anymore (Thailand anyway) the price of a sim card is nil and BB service is arond $10 a month everywhere.
    You will be thrilled
    Sounds like it will be better than you think, rely!
    I was just using the bridge in Kazakhstan, they don't even sell BB here, yet it works fine on my work BB.
    01-17-12 06:14 AM
  5. pmccartney's Avatar
    First off, congratulations on getting the PB from S.C. I hope you are enjoying it and finding it useful. By now you have heard there is a pretty big update coming in February.

    The Bold 9900 will be a great companion to the PB (or vise versa).
    As mentioned, you will be able to unlock the 9900 regardless of where you obtain it.

    Personally, I dislike phone contracts. I buy my 'new' phones from sites such as Kijiji. There are plenty of Bold 9900's, unlocked, a month old, going for ~$300 and they still have RIM warranty.
    Signing a 3 year contract (worth in excess of $2400 in Canada), to save ~$430 on a phone, which will be outdated (but still very useful) well before the contract is up, is pointless imo. For some it's the best way, just not me.

    Cheers.
    oldff likes this.
    01-17-12 09:18 AM
  6. oldff's Avatar
    Many thanks to all who so helpfully replied. I now realize that I did not completely understand the locked/unlocked situation.

    I had thought that once a carrier had you in his clutches with a "locked" BB, you could not legitimately get it unlocked, either by the carrier or by one of the web-based services who promise to do it (or provide you with the codes to do it) for a nominal sum. Is it the case that some carriers will do this and others won't? If you use one of the web-based services, is this likely to make your carrier grumpy? What can they do about it?

    Can anyone advise what Bell Mobility's position is on this? Assuming that Bell will unlock me to go off to Australia for a month, would I then have to submit to being re-locked with them upon my return?
    01-17-12 09:36 AM
  7. robsteve's Avatar
    Personally, I dislike phone contracts. I buy my 'new' phones from sites such as Kijiji. There are plenty of Bold 9900's, unlocked, a month old, going for ~$300 and they still have RIM warranty.
    Cheers.
    Do you have a contact you can provide for getting the used but less than year old phones serviced by RIM? There are a lot of posts on this site where people have bought 9900's from third parties and when they had a problem, there was no support from their carriers, and nowhere to get them repaired.
    01-17-12 09:52 AM
  8. robsteve's Avatar
    Can anyone advise what Bell Mobility's position is on this? Assuming that Bell will unlock me to go off to Australia for a month, would I then have to submit to being re-locked with them upon my return?
    They probably will not unlock your phone for you for free, they may do it for a fee. I had asked Rogers about unlocking my wife's old iPhone 3, since it was done its 3 year contract, and the fee was $50. It is in the carrier's best interest to collect the roaming fees, so it will probably be tough to get them to unlock a new on contract phone. The online unlocking sites will provide an unlock code for under $10 and it is very simple to do at home.

    The carriers will tell you an unlocked phone is not covered under warranty. I am sure there is some leeway and it may depend on your type of account with them. For instance, if you have had an account with the same company for the last ten years and always payed your bills, they will want to keep you as a customer. If you have been Pay as You go, you might not get much help. Finally, if the 9900 bricks, there is no way they are going to tell if it is unlocked.
    01-17-12 10:03 AM
  9. oldff's Avatar
    In fact I have access to RIM's "friends and family" pricing, so could get a new unlocked 9900 at a (somewhat) reasonable price. Based on your helpful earlier post, that's the way I'm leaning. Would be grateful for any other comments you can offer about this way forward, and particularly the Australia plan.

    Cheers.
    01-17-12 10:06 AM
  10. pmccartney's Avatar
    Do you have a contact you can provide for getting the used but less than year old phones serviced by RIM? There are a lot of posts on this site where people have bought 9900's from third parties and when they had a problem, there was no support from their carriers, and nowhere to get them repaired.
    Correct, legally RIM does not warranty it if it has changed hands so technically that's correct so I should not have said there is warranty.
    However, if you take it to the original carrier with the original receipt you will not have any problems. I have done this myself as I am sure so have many others. I wouldn't purchase a used BB from someone without the receipt and original box.
    http://forums.crackberry.com/blackbe...-phone-683426/
    01-17-12 10:47 AM
  11. raino's Avatar
    oldff, here's another point to consider. If you want 3G while in Australia, you must buy a phone with the correct 3G bands. Otherwise, you will be stuck with 2G speeds. For your convenience, here are some relevant 3G frequencies:

    Bell Canada: 850/1900 MHz
    Telestra Australia: 850 MHz
    Optus Australia: 900/2100 MHz
    Vodafone Australia: 900/2100 MHz
    So, as you can see from the band listings above, if you buy a Bell branded phone (and unlock it), you will get 3G on the Telestra network only.

    If I were you, I would now go about finding Telestra's prepaid pricing, if you do end up buying a Bell branded phone.
    Last edited by raino; 01-17-12 at 11:09 AM.
    01-17-12 11:07 AM
  12. blackburberry's Avatar
    The cost of the 9900 will be lowered substantially by Bell if I sign up for a long-term contract. But if I do that, the phone will be locked to Bell, and cant be used elsewhere or with any other carrier.
    How committed are you to Bell? My personal experience with Bell customer service is a couple of years old, but it was terrible.
    01-17-12 12:33 PM
  13. oldff's Avatar
    Like all red-blooded Canadians, I love to complain (and with justification) about Bell, especially their customer service. But everything I hear suggests that they're the best of a bad lot, and I have satellite and landline bundled with my mobile service. So I guess I'll stay, but I'll try to minimize my interactions with them. Incidentally, I've got more and better info from this forum than I have from Bell, to whom I've been posing the same questions.
    01-17-12 02:03 PM
  14. OniBerry's Avatar
    Bell has no objection to customers unlocking their phones. On that note, don't ask em, their CSRs get all huffy. As long as you continue to pay your monthly fee, they leave you alone for the most part.
    Unlocking;
    Use an online service, or take it to any third party retailer that you, or a friend trusts for the unlocking. As was mentioned, Bell's devices will only work with Telestra's 3G.
    01-17-12 02:54 PM
  15. Fr3lncr's Avatar
    So, to throw in another option (though potentially time consuming...)

    Buy a 9900 when it goes on sale for $0 on contract. It's happened a few times at FutureShop and BestBuy. Then, break the contract after a month which I think it the minimum you'll have to pay). Breakage fees with Telus/Koodo, Bell/Virgin max out at $400 (WARNING: Rogers it is $500 so don't buy from them).

    End result, new phone with receipt for $450 +tax (basically save $150). Even better is when they have the $0 sale with a $100 gift card.

    It doesn't cost a lot to unlock a BB. You can also often get free unlock codes (there are threads on Crackberry Forums where you can submit your name and get a free code... I did this 4 times when I owed a BB).

    But for the warranty issue, you are best to buy the phone from the carrier you are going to use it on since that is where you have to bring it if you have an issue. So, Telus owns Koodo and Bell owns Virgin, and Rogers owns Fido. I used to be on Rogers when I had a BB but with my S2, I am on Virgin and I have to say I really like them. Price wise it is good and the customer service is pretty good (even though for anything really technical, it gets pushed to Bell).

    All comes down to what is the best price I guess as I rarely ever called tech support since they are basically useless. But I would never go back to Rogers (if for no other reason, there cancellation fees are just too high).

    My two cents...

    I'm looking to buy a 9900 again as a second phone and have thought about the used route but there are just a few too many concerns on that when forking out $400+ (I haven't seen a 9900 listed under that price)... Mind you I sold my 9700, 9780 and 9900 on Kijiji so I shouldn't be prejudiced...
    01-17-12 03:49 PM
  16. kevinnugent's Avatar
    Bell has no objection to customers unlocking their phones. On that note, don't ask em, their CSRs get all huffy. As long as you continue to pay your monthly fee, they leave you alone for the most part.
    Unlocking;
    Use an online service, or take it to any third party retailer that you, or a friend trusts for the unlocking. As was mentioned, Bell's devices will only work with Telestra's 3G.
    Vodafone in Australia now operate on the 850 band too, so either them or Telstra would work for your phone. Now, just to throw a spanner in the works, Telstra don't offer a Pre-Paid plan that you can use the Blackberry data on. Only Optus and Vodafone do. Check out: 'http://www.crazyjohns.com.au/crazy-johns-29-blackberry-sim-pack/' as they use Vodafone. Also Vodafone Australia - Mobile Phones, Mobile Plans & Mobile Broadband for their pre-paid Blackberry plans.
    01-17-12 09:48 PM
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