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Service options (US) w/ original mfr phone (PLEASE HELP)

by TastesLikeVermin / May 28, 2010 7:42 AM PDT

Hello, I'm new here, and would appreciate any information which can be provided on the use of phones in the US which are NOT the ATT, Verizon, or T-Mobile stripped-down versions. After two years of gnashing my teeth at what AT&T did to what was originally a beautiful Ericcson, which they also rigged to cause easy pocket-dialing to their really awful billable-by-the-minute online network, I am now finding that it only gets worse now that I am considering a smart phone upgrade. Some of them which had extra cameras for teleconferencing, wi-fi capability, and even FM transmitters have such features removed by the American service providers who sell them. Also, almost all of them have less memory as well - the more I dig, the more of a horror it is to learn just how far they go to control the access I have to what are otherwise fine products when it's them!

As a result of the above, I have concluded that I may need to purchase my next phone independently of any, or most carriers in the US, if I don't want to be let down by a product which is not consistent with the glowing reviews which were written by people who received their products directly from the manufacturer. Am I wrong on this (I have so far researched mostly the free-with-contract, or very-low-charge-with-contract Samsung, HTC, and LG offerings through AT&T, but a few Google-clicks indicates that other companies practice similar product-dismembering). Are there any in the US which don't operate by this despicable practice, or are there some which will leave it mostly intact if I spend $100 or two (instead of $500 through the manufacturer)?

If no to the above, and I go with buying an original-manufacturer phone, are the USA companies permitted to, or known to deny anyone connection service due to it not being through one of their phones? If not, can I sign up for a plan similar to the contract calling plans, or will I be stuck with only the pay-as-you-go options? Please help if you can - thanks!

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Don't forget
by birdmantd Forum moderator / May 28, 2010 8:46 AM PDT

Some of the features that are "stripped" (not all) are to pass the FCC's stringent guidelines for phones that are sold in the US. There is nothing preventing you from using an unbranded GSM handset with T-mobile or At&t (2 largest GSM carriers in the US) but be certain that they have the correct operating frequencies (850/1900 mhz) or you will be greatly disappointed. The main reason that US carriers "strip" certain features is to make the phones more affordable (ie. less costly for them to buy). Don't read into it more than necessary.

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Could you elavorate on operating frequencies?
by TastesLikeVermin / May 29, 2010 5:58 PM PDT
In reply to: Don't forget

Could you elaborate on the operating frequencies? Would this be an issue common to new phones? My two-year old cheap phone worked with the cell towers overseas, which is why I'm confused. Of course, I'm well aware of the need for an American charging system!

Also, if there are FCC issues with phones as they are originally designed by manufacturers, how do they come into play in getting an unbranded phone to work with an American network like AT&T? Would an un-branded phone necessarily be full-featured, or consistent with the English-language descriptions from the UK or Europe?


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by birdmantd Forum moderator / May 29, 2010 11:12 PM PDT

Some European/Asian handsets (sold as unlocked) are Triband and may not include both 850 & 1900 mhz frequencies which are used in the US. Some phones do include all 4 frequencies (850/900/1800/1900 mhz) but not all, I am only suggesting you do your homework before buying one. In addition, T-mobile uses a completely different frequency for 3G data in the US (1700 mhz) that is not used by any other carrier.

To avoid issues w/ the FCC, cell phone manufacturers make phones to either run in the US and/or Europe/Asia. For instance, Sony Ericsson sells models with the "A" designation for use in the US and a different designation for use in Europe/Asia.

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