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Thursday, February 7, 2013

Can Your Cellphone Do This?

Outside of the United States, a cellphone is known as a "mobile."  That is not the only difference.  As a general rule, they operate on GSM technology and the phone is purchased independently of a carrier.  Once you have your phone, you go to a carrier and buy a SIM card with your mobile number and some refillable number of minutes.

This scheme opens the market to a lot of competition.  Here, three carriers fiercely battle for market share and offer a variety of incentives such as free or very low priced service at night.  To take advantage of the various pricing schemes, people were carrying two or three phones two years ago.

Enter the Samsung Duo.

Flip this phone over, open the back and you will find spots for two different SIMs!  You can carry two different carrier's phone numbers in one phone.  Of course, the phones aren't locked.  Egyptians don't know what a locked phone is, much less can they imagine why one might be locked.

If you are lucky enough to own a GSM phone in the U.S. it is undoubtedly locked to a specific carrier.  And did you know that as of last week you can be hit with a $500,000 fine and five year prison sentence for unlocking it?

I'll leave the television rant for later.  Suffice it to say that when you purchase your basic $30 satellite dish here in Egypt and point it to the sky, you will pick up a couple hundred free channels.  You have to get a bit more elaborate to get over a thousand free channels.

Have you ever wondered what lobbyists, politicians and government industry regulators talk about over lunch?

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