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Question about "unlocked" cell phones.

Old 08-22-05, 09:58 PM
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Question about "unlocked" cell phones.

I'm considering buying one of the unlocked Motorola Razr phones off eBay. However, the auctions simply state that I just need to pop in my SIM card and I'm good to go. How did this work as far as voicemail is concerned? When I press and hold down the voicemail key, does it somehow know what number to dial based on the SIM card?

I'd like to get one of these phones, but not if it's going to require a lot of work once I get my hands on it.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 08-23-05, 12:48 AM
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When I bought my unlocked Moto v80, to make the voicemail work the same I had to make an entry in the phone book to call my own number and assign it to key number 1. It worked fine, I just had to have that extra entry.

On a side note, the phone would do some funny stuff sometimes, like reset in the middle of a call, or the screen would go blank for a few seconds and it would lose it's signal. It worked great for the most part, especially considering you can't really get it in America. I think a lot of it comes down to how the person unlocked it and which firmware/seam edit/etc they are using on it.

Good luck.
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Old 08-23-05, 08:58 AM
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The Razr phones don't have that feature (press 1 to reach voicemail). Instead, it has a dedicated voicemail button, and it can check and display the number of messages you have there.

Specifically, you press the voicemail button, then the top center button (hard to describe that button any other way), then select "voicemail setup" and put in your voicemail number and such. That's also where you can set it up to check your email and everything else.

Your SIM card might be able to set it up by itself, but I wouldn't bet on it. However, setting it up is easy, there's no real hidden menus or anything.
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Old 08-23-05, 10:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Otto
The Razr phones don't have that feature (press 1 to reach voicemail). Instead, it has a dedicated voicemail button, and it can check and display the number of messages you have there.

Specifically, you press the voicemail button, then the top center button (hard to describe that button any other way), then select "voicemail setup" and put in your voicemail number and such. That's also where you can set it up to check your email and everything else.

Your SIM card might be able to set it up by itself, but I wouldn't bet on it. However, setting it up is easy, there's no real hidden menus or anything.
That sounds pretty easy. Thanks for the info.

In general, do you happen to know if there are any downsides to getting an unlocked phone? Will I be giving up any features?
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Old 08-23-05, 10:31 AM
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The unlocked models generally don't have the vendor-specific menus that allow you to purchase stuff like games and ringtones, but you probably don't want those anyway. I know some of the unlocked software versions aren't as pretty or smooth in terms of the graphics too, but the difference is minor.

The unlocked phones certainly cost a lot more, for sure. No vendor discounts or rebates. I mean, if you get a Razr on Amazon with a 2 year Cingular contract, the phone is basically free after rebates.
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Old 08-23-05, 10:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Otto
The unlocked models generally don't have the vendor-specific menus that allow you to purchase stuff like games and ringtones, but you probably don't want those anyway. I know some of the unlocked software versions aren't as pretty or smooth in terms of the graphics too, but the difference is minor.

The unlocked phones certainly cost a lot more, for sure. No vendor discounts or rebates. I mean, if you get a Razr on Amazon with a 2 year Cingular contract, the phone is basically free after rebates.
Yeah, I saw the Amazon offer.

The problem is that my current phone sucks, and I'm locked into an AT&T contract for another year. Since AT&T merged with Cingular, there are no more AT&T phones. My only option for a vendor specific phone is to "switch" to Cingular. They'll let me do that, but the problem is that my wife and I are on a family plan. If I switch to Cingular, she'll have to switch too. That means that in order to get myself a new phone we'd have to buy 2 new phones. It seems like such a waste considering that my wife's phone works perfectly and doesn't need to be replaced. That's really the only reason I'm considering an unlocked phone.
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Old 08-23-05, 10:38 AM
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This might be a "duh" suggestion, but make sure your current phone is GSM and does indeed have a removable SIM. If you're not already using a GSM phone, you're screwed as far as simply switching a card over.
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Old 08-23-05, 01:16 PM
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Yeah, my current phone is GSM with removable SIM.

To go back to one of your earlier responses, is there no way to add ringtones to an unlocked phone? Most phones come mostly with melodies. I hate melodies. I want my phone to sound like a phone and have a "ring," not a song. On my last phone I had to download a couple of normal sounding "rings." Are you saying that with an unlocked phone I have to live with the ring options provided by Motorola?
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Old 08-23-05, 02:00 PM
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Of course not. The Razr supports MP3 ringtones as well as those polyphonic things. I send my ringtones to it via BlueTooth. Search this forum, I've posted info on how to do it here before.

What you lose is the ability to go to, say, Cingular's site on the phone and directly purchase ringtones from them. Not a big loss, in other words.
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Old 08-23-05, 02:10 PM
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Gotcha. Thanks for the help. I'll try to find your post about sending ringtones through BlueTooth.
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Old 08-23-05, 03:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Double Down
Gotcha. Thanks for the help. I'll try to find your post about sending ringtones through BlueTooth.

You'll need a USB Bluetooth adapter on your PC for wireless transfer ~or~ a USB to Motorola cable for wired transfer of files. After that get MPT. See this thread:

http://www.dvdtalk.com/forum/showthr...ighlight=phone

You can get either the cable & software or just the software CHEAP on ebay!

Sonic
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Old 08-23-05, 03:28 PM
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I know squat about web-access from cellphones, but I know it can be tricky with unlocked GSM phones if the original and new providers use different protocols. I was toying with getting an unlocked Audiovox SMT5600, but decided to stick with a T-mobile branded RAZR for my first phone.

Last edited by adamblast; 08-23-05 at 03:35 PM.
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Old 08-23-05, 03:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Sonicflood
After that get MPT.
You don't need MPT to transfer stuff via Bluetooth.

adam: The Razr is quad-band. It'll work with any GSM system anywhere.
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Old 08-23-05, 05:28 PM
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Otto -- would I be able to sync my Outlook contacts with the Razr through Bluetooth? without MPT?
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Old 08-24-05, 09:17 AM
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Syncronize: no.
Transfer contacts back and forth: yes.
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Old 08-24-05, 10:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Otto
Syncronize: no.
Transfer contacts back and forth: yes.
Thanks, Otto. You've been very helpful.

If you don't mind, could you possibly explain how I would go about transferring contacts from Outlook to my Razr without using MPT? I ordered my phone and it should be here by the beginning of next week. I'd like to understand the process ahead of time so that I can be set and ready to go when it shows up. Thanks.
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Old 08-24-05, 10:35 AM
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Bluetooth has a functionality in it called "OBEX Object Push". It'll be one of the icons in the "My Bluetooth Places" folder that is available for your phone.

If you drag/drop .VCF files onto this icon, it'll send them to the phone, and the phone will recognize them as contacts and act accordingly. So in Outlook, export your contacts to VCF files, drop them on there, and voila.
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Old 08-24-05, 06:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Otto
Bluetooth has a functionality in it called "OBEX Object Push". It'll be one of the icons in the "My Bluetooth Places" folder that is available for your phone.

If you drag/drop .VCF files onto this icon, it'll send them to the phone, and the phone will recognize them as contacts and act accordingly. So in Outlook, export your contacts to VCF files, drop them on there, and voila.
Fantastic. Thank you.
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