Social Question

JLeslie's avatar

Is it true that in the countries in Europe you can use any mobile phone with any carrier?

Asked by JLeslie (56041points) November 22nd, 2010

Someone was telling me that when cell phones hit the scene the European governments purposely enacted laws that cell phone manufacturers and cell phone providers could not make exclusive deals. Here in America for instance if you want an iphone, you must sign up with AT&T, no choice. So if you love a phone, but hate the service you get with AT&T, or the prices they charge, you are in a quandary here. I hate it. I think it prohibits wide open competition.

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13 Answers

Seelix's avatar

I don’t know about Europe, but in Canada you can use different cell phones with different carriers. I have a Blackberry and use Telus, but my friend has one and uses Rogers. I had no idea that there were exclusivity deals in the US!

JLeslie's avatar

@Seelix Interesting. I didn’t realize you are in Canada. I love Canada.

downtide's avatar

In the UK, the i-phone is limited to one carrier only, but that’s the only one I know of that’s restricted.

xxii's avatar

Not sure about Europe, but that’s how it is in Singapore and many other parts of the world. When I came to the US I was pretty shocked at how carriers could exclusively claim phones for themselves, because I’d never heard of it happening anywhere else.

john65pennington's avatar

I used T-Mobile, while in Italy. but first, i had to notify T-Mobile, before my trip. i am sure the carrier, in Italy, was AT&T. at least, this is what was on my cellphone. no problem.

jaytkay's avatar

There is also a technical issue, with two different types of service in the US, GSM and CDMA. Kind of like the difference between FM and AM radios.

AT&T Wireless, and T-Mobile USA use GSM.
Sprint Verizon and Virgin Mobile use CDMA.

Most of the world uses GSM.

JLeslie's avatar

@jaytkay That is interesting too. I did not know there is a technical difference.

BarnacleBill's avatar

I have a GSM phone that we use abroad, and change out SIM cards by country.

JLeslie's avatar

@BarnacleBill Does that cost a lot of money? Do you have to pay international charges when using the phone in a different country?

BarnacleBill's avatar

No, it was rather inexpensive. It’s like buying a phone number for that country for a short period of time. You can then add extra money to that number. They sell things at tobacco shops, and in vending machines. The phone itself was about $100. I bought one here from T-Mobil, and it was useless overseas, so I bought one in England, and its been used in Italy, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, China and Hong Kong. (Not all those trips were me, unfortunately. I lent it out.)

This is a helpful article that explains phones and SIMs.

mattbrowne's avatar

It’s all GSM and your phone will search for a new carrier signal when crossing borders. First choice is a subsidiary if available. I got Vodaphone Germany and this carrier is available in many countries. When I fly to London, the display reads Vodaphone UK. Switching carriers is more expensive but still works.

rojaroja's avatar

^^^^^ ya i agree.. but once you get your very own mobile unlocked to that country’s network you simply swap any network to your phone whenever necessary…

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