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International Cell Phone Plans
Although there are a variety of options available to make international cell phone calls from overseas, there is a significant problem: the vast majority of cell phones in use in the United States don't work outside of North America.

Why wouldn't I be able to use my U.S. cell phone overseas?

In general, to use a cell phone overseas, you will need a GSM cell phone. GSM is short for "Global Service for Mobile Communication " and it is the mobile communications standard used across most of the world. One feature unique to GSM cell phones is that they all utilize a small semiconductor chip known as a SIM (Subscriber Identity Module Card) which, among other things, stores the data that identifies the caller to the network service provider. In the United States, the only major cell phone providers utilizing GSM are Cingular (including some of the customers that Cingular acquired from AT&T) and T-Mobile. Sprint, Verizon and Alltel operate on a different wireless standard known as CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) and Nextel utilizes yet another type of wireless service known as iDEN (Integrated Digital Enhanced Network). Since CDMA and iDEN cell phones cannot be used to place calls over GSM networks (and since GSM is the type of cell phone service used in the majority of the world), most Verizon, Sprint, Alltel and Nextel customers will find that their international roaming options are very limited. Even if your U.S. cell phone provider is Cingular or T-Mobile and your phone is a GSM cell phone, the odds are strong that it will still be useless outside of North America.

Why wouldn't I be able to use my Cingular or T-Mobile U.S. GSM cell phone overseas?

GSM networks in North and South America tend to operate at frequencies of 1900 MHz and 850 MHz but most GSM networks in other countries operate at frequencies of 1800 MHz and 900 MHz. Unless your U.S. cell phone can operate at these other frequencies (or bands), your phone will not be compatible with most international cell phone services.

How do I know if my U.S. GSM cell phone will work overseas?

For a cell phone to operate effectively throughout most of the world, you will want to have a tri-band phone that can operate at 1900MHz+1800MHz+900MHz or (better yet) a quad-band phone which can operate at 1900MHz+1800MHz+900MHz+850MHz.

GSM Frequencies Used
USA, Canada + parts of South America
1900MHz + 850MHz
Most of the rest of the world
1800MHz + 900MHz

All that said, unless your cell phone is "unlocked" you probably WON'T WANT to use it overseas.

What do you mean "unlocked" and why is this important?

Most U.S. cell phone providers "lock" their cell phones so that you can't use the phones they issue with any other cell phone provider. Unless your cell phone is "unlocked", it can only be used with the service of the company that issued it. If your phone is not "unlocked" (even if it operates on the proper bands for you to use it overseas), the only way to use it overseas would be through your US cell phone company's "international roaming" plan. These international roaming plans will typically cost you around $1.00 to $7.00 per minute for the calls you make as well as for any incoming calls that you might receive!

What alternative is there to expensive "international roaming" plans?

For most people, we recommend buying and using prepaid SIM cards from vendors like Cellular Abroad or Telestial. The RATES ARE TYPICALLY MUCH LOWER and in many countries you also get FREE INCOMING CALLS. If your cell phone is a GSM phone and it works on the proper frequencies, see if your cell phone provider will help you to "unlock" the phone. If so, you will only need to buy the prepaid SIM card(s) to save. (Be sure to also verify that your phone's charger can plug in and use the proper voltage for the electrical system in the country or countries where you'll be travelling.) If you have the wrong type of cell phone or you can't get it unlocked, Telestial or Cellular Abroad can sell you an unlocked world phone that you can use. If this is just too confusing and you aren't sure what to make of all of this, just ask them. They are very helpful and more than happy to explain everything you need to know!

We recommend signing up for UWT's International Callback Service to get even lower rates on your international calls from overseas. This is an especially good deal with the international cell phone plans that give you free incoming calls as you'll be able to avoid airtime charges from the cell phone service. This is because phone calls made with Callback Service are perceived by the cell phone service as an INCOMING CALL. Telestial also offers their own callback service but UWT offers all the same features plus outstanding customer service and much better rates!

International Cell Phone Service for Travelers

In most cases, we believe that the best option for making cell phone calls from overseas is to use an unlocked GSM cell phone with prepaid airtime in the form of a prepaid SIM card.

Renting a cell phone at the airport or using international roaming service through your current cell phone provider forces you to pay outrageously high rates for all of the calls you make as well as for all of the calls you receive. On the other hand, prepaid international cell phone service lets you take advantage of the exact same rates that locals enjoy in the country or countries to which you will be traveling. With prepaid service, all outgoing calls usually cost just fractions of a dollar per minute (even for international calls) and, in almost every country, you'll get unlimited incoming calls for free.*

*Getting free incoming calls gives you the opportunity to enjoy even more savings by using an international callback service such as that offered by United World Telecom.

With prepaid international cell phone service, you're always in control of how much you spend and, since there are no monthly bills, you can decide ahead of time how much you will spend on cell phone calls.

To help you to get the best deals on international cell phones and service, we have formed partnerships with two outstanding international cell phone service firms: Telestial and Cellular Abroad.


CLICK HERE for international cell phones
Telestial makes international cell phone service easy by offering both unlocked GSM cell phones and international cell phone service (in the form of prepaid SIM cards) for use in 130 different countries. For those who work, live or travel in areas outside of regular cellular coverage, Telestial also offers Iridium, Globalstar and Thuraya Satellite Phones for rental or purchase.

Click here to visit Telestial Wireless!


CLICK HERE for international cell phones
Cellular Abroad carries an extensive selection of some of the most unique and innovative cell phones (many which are not conventionally available in the U.S. market) from respected companies such as Motorola, Siemens, Nokia and Sony Ericsson. All of their phones work domestically in the U.S. as well as internationally. Cellular Abroad is also one of the few online sources for Japan cell phone service!

Mention promo code ALLWORLD and get $10 off your Cellular Abroad order!

Click here to visit Cellular Abroad!


Mobile Phone Services for Residents* of Canada, the UK and Australia

In addition to offering international cell phone plans for travellers, we are now able to offer great deals on mobile phone service for residents* of the Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia!

*To qualify and be able to order from any of these mobile phone for residents services:
(1) You need to have lived in the country you want service in for a minimum of 3 years and also be a resident of that same country.
(2) You need to have a registered credit or debit card issued for the country of service


Rogers Wireless Cell Phone Deals

Rogers Wireless is Canada's leading cell phone provider, offering coverage to approximately 94% of Canada's population. Order today and receive free shipping and free accessories. Click Here for Details!


3 Mobile - the UK market leader in 3G

In May 2000, the UK government awarded five licences to run 3G wireless services. In order to increase competition, the largest of these licenses was set aside for a new entrant – Hutchison 3G (now 3). In 2003, 3 launched the UK’s first video mobile network. Today, 3 is the UK's market leader in 3G; with national coverage for calls and texts and the best 3G coverage in the UK – with over 88% population coverage for video services like video calling, video messaging and the downloading of video clips.

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