CNET's cell phone editor gives advice on reporting a lost phone and finding a compatible phone for Verizon Wireless.
Kent GermanFormer senior managing editor / features
Kent was a senior managing editor at CNET News. A veteran of CNET since 2003, he reviewed the first iPhone and worked in both the London and San Francisco offices. When not working, he's planning his next vacation, walking his dog or watching planes land at the airport (yes, really).
Q: I lost my Alltel phone at a restaurant. I need to report it at once. Whom do I call?
A: You should report your lost phone to Alltel immediately. You can find a customer service phone number on Alltel.com or your billing statement. Alternatively, you could go visit your local Alltel store. Once you let your carrier know that your handset is missing, it will suspend your service and put a hold on your account. You also can make arrangements to get a new phone.
Q: I recently unlocked an iPhone so I could use it with T-Mobile. I used the Cydia software, but when I insert my T-Mobile SIM card into the phone it says "SIM error." Would you happen to know why?
A: The "SIM error" message occurs when you try to use another carrier's SIM in a locked phone. Since Cydia allows you to install apps on the iPhone that aren't approved by Apple, I suspect that you've only performed a jailbreak on your iPhone rather than unlocking it.
Remember that jailbreaking and unlocking are two distinct things. Jailbreaking is the method of removing the restrictions on an iPhone that limit the kind of software you can install. Once you jailbreak an iPhone, you can add applications and software not approved by Apple, get new features like video recording and change the look and feel of the iPhone's user interface. Unlocking, on the other hand, only removes the restrictions that tie a phone to one carrier. You'll have to perform both actions separately.
Q: I want to buy the Nokia E63 unlocked. Will I be able to connect it to a voice-only plan (I currently use a basic Verizon Wireless plan)?
A: Unfortunately, the Nokia E63, even in unlocked form, is not compatible with Verizon. The E63 uses a technology called GSM, while Verizon uses a separate and incompatible technology called CDMA. Verizon is now supporting unlocked phones, but you'll need a handset that uses the 800/1900 CDMA bands.
Q: On more than one occasion when phoning my friend's cell phone number, a different person answered. My friend claims she never got that call and that she got her SIM card from a neighbor. Is it possible that my calls were misdirected to a phone that had that used her SIM previously?
A: If you call a number, it should only ring the cell phone that is using the related SIM card. With GSM phones, phone numbers are attached to SIM cards rather than the actual handset.