On Call runs every two weeks, alternating between answering reader questions and discussing hot topics in the cell phone world.
Q: When do you think iPhone 4.0 will arrive?
Q: What's the real deal with 3G? Today I went into my local
A: I can't understand why the AT&T reps would have downplayed the benefits of 3G. Though the service isn't for everyone, it is indeed faster than EDGE data and it is good for more than just making calls and sending e-mails. Though 3G will bring you faster e-mail service, it's best for customers who will be using a phone's Web browser and downloading apps and files. If that sounds like you, then I suggest getting a phone with 3G.
Q: With cost reduction in mind, I'd like to get a smartphone and combine it with a basic voice-only service plan. I'd like to use data only when Wi-Fi is available, but I cannot find a carrier that will go along. Can you comment on whether the idea will work? Are you aware of a service provider that will provide voice-only service to a smartphone? Thank you.
A: Unfortunately, all major carriers require specific plans when you purchase new smartphones with a subsidy. This is true even for prepaid-only carriers like
I've heard from some CNET users who have successfully purchased an unlocked phone and inserted an active SIM card that has just a calling plan (this would limit you to GSM carriers like AT&T and
Of course, you can always try going the unlocked route and see what happens. Just make sure the data roaming functions are turned off (though that's not really possible on a BlackBerry).