11

Jan

2008

Canadian Wireless FAQ

1. Bell Mobility

Are there some special phone numbers I should know?
Postpaid Customer Service
(Monday to Friday, 9am-9pm. Saturday, 9am-6pm. Sunday 12pm-5pm.)
From Cellular *611
From Landline 1-800-667-0123
From USA 1-800-667 ROAM (7626)

Prepaid customer Service (Monday to Friday, 9am – 5 pm)
From Cellular #321
From Landline 1-888-537-9999

Bell Canada Repair
If your home phone goes down, you can still use your cell to call Bell Canada Repair by dialing #611

Message Centre (Postpaid)
Dial cell number e.g.:(123)555-1212
Wait until the greeting starts, then press # xxxx (xxxx is 4 digit password)

Message Centre (Prepaid)
If you’re in Quebec, Kingston, Brockville, Cornwall, Ottawa and surrounding areas, to retrieve messages from a cell phone, dial 9998 + send, and wait for the prompt to enter your password. To retrieve messages from a landline phone, dial 1-877-907-5157. All other Ontario residents must dial 9999 + send from their cell phone or dial 1-888-304-8058 from a landline and wait for the prompt to enter their password.

To change the number of rings before a call goes to voicemail
*94 x (x is the number of rings 0-9) eg *945 would be 5 rings

Call Forwarding
*72 xxx xxx xxxx (10 digit number)
*720 un-forward

Block Caller ID Status
*67
Display Caller ID Status
*82

Voicenet (requires feature subscription)
#8888

Toll Free Test Call
*BELL (2355)

Toll Free Prepaid Top-up
#321
What are Bells’ Roamer Access Numbers?
Roamer Access Numbers were discontinued by Bell in June 2006. These type of long distance calling workarounds are not available from any Canadian carrier.
What features are available on Bell Mobility?
Call Forwarding, Call Waiting, and Conference Calling are all standard features on every Bell Mobility postpaid plan.

Individual Features

Unlimited Weeknights $15.00/month
Unlimited Weeknights local calling. Monday to Friday, 8pm-7am.

Unlimited Weekends $15.00/month
Unlimited Weekends local calling. Friday 8pm to Monday 7am.

Unlimited Weeknights and Weekends $25.00/month
Unlimited Weeknights and Weekends local calling.

Call Display $4.00/month
Allows you to see what number is calling before you answer they phone.
See what number is calling you. Your Digital PCS phone is a convenient way to monitor your incoming calls.

Mobile Browser $5/month
100 minutes of Mobile Browser access or unlimited 1x data access

Text Messaging $5 or $10/month
$5=100 text messages per month. $10=Unlimited text messages.

Touch Base Service $5.00/month
Make 20 local calls of unlimited duration to a designated phone number. Long Distance charges may apply.

Voice Dial $3.00/month
Place a call just by speaking a name or number. There is no need to subscribe to this service if your phone has Voice Dial built into it.

JustOne $10.00/month
Allows calls to ring at home first, and then your cell phone. If there’s no answer at either phone, a message can be left on your home Call Answer service.

No Answer Transfer $5.00/month
This feature will allow a customer to have a call ring at the cell first, and if there’s no answer, automatically transfer to another number.

Bundled Features

Value Bundle A $10.00/month
Call Display, Message Centre, Voice Dial

Value Bundle B $8.00/month
Call Display, Message Centre

Value Bundle C $6.00/month
Message Centre Express, Call Display

Text And Wireless Web Bundle $8/month
100 Text Messages, 100 Minutes of Mobile Browser per month

Message Pro $10.00/month
Message Centre, Message Centre Fax, Message Centre Plus, Call Display, E-mail relay/Text messaging

PowerPak $20.00/month
Message Centre, Message Centre Fax, Message Centre Plus, Call Display, VoiceDial, E-mail Relay/Text Messaging

Call Redirect $5.00/month
The combination of Call Display and No Answer Transfer allows you to identify incoming calls and either answer immediately, or let calls ring through to an alternate number. If you have voicemail at your alternative destination, messages can be left for you there.
Can I use any phone with Bell Mobility?
No. You can only use phones which are sold by Bell Mobility dealers (ie:Bell World, Future Shop, Telephone Booth, Wireless Wave, etc…). There are also 3 very good reasons why a phone from another carrier will not work on Bell Mobility.

Different technologies. This is quite obvious. A Rogers or Fido GSM phone uses a vastly different technology than Telus or Bells’ CDMA network. This is kind of like trying to use Windows XP on a Macintosh computer.

Digital unlock codes. Because cellular phones in North America are heavily subsidized, most carriers don’t want to see a phone they spent hundreds of dollars on end up on some other company’s network. Therefore, almost every digital phone sold in North America has a 6 digit programming lock code. Without this code, it’s impossible to program a phone with a new new number or network settings. These lock codes are owned by the company which sold the phone in the first place. Bell also has a policy of not activating “foreign” handsets on their network. This type of policy is usually a standard part of a roaming agreement with another carrier.

Software. Digital Cellular Phones are more and more like computers everyday. The software they have in them is specialized for the network on which they are to be used. If those phones are used on a different network, chances are they will not perform very well.

What extra charges are there with Bell Mobility?
From time to time, you may need some special consideration on your account. There are usually charges associated with any type of change to your account.

Activation, S.A.F., and 911
There is a one time fee of $35 for activation, a monthly charge of $8.95 for the System Access Fee, and another monthly charge of .75¢ for 911 service.

Moving and Phone Number changes.
There is a charge of $20 for changing your number even when moving to a new address. As well, for any number change, there will be a charge of $15 at a Bell World store for reprogramming your phone.

Plan Changes.
There is now a $20 fee for any plan change, regardless of whether you’re upgrading or downgrading. This is to prevent people from starting with a lower rate plan and taking advantage of promotions like 6 months Unlimited Local Talking, and then changing your plan to meet your needs after the promotional period. The idea is to be on the right plan for your needs right from the start. You can change your plan yourself at http://www.bell.ca/

Cancelling your service.
The Early Cancellation Fee is calculated as $20 x the number of months remaining on your contract, or $400 whichever is less. There is no charge to cancel if your contract has expired, however it will take 30 days to cancel your account from the time you notify Bell Mobility.

Hardware Upgrade
You may purchase a new phone at any point during your contract, provided your account is in good standing. However, you will be eligible for any hardware rebates only once every 24 months. There are now 2 rebate time periods. You may be eligible for a partial rebate earlier if needed, but the eligibility will depend on how profitable your account is for Bell Mobility. There is also a $25 Hardware Upgrade Fee, which is paid $15 in store, and $10 on the bill. Certain corporate rate plans may have exclusions to these policies.

Temporary suspension
The only way to ‘suspend’ your account is to reduce your rate plan to a minimum rate plan, which is currently $30/month. Of course, the $20 plan change fee still applies.

Serial Number Swaps
At some point, you may want to swap phones with a friend or spouse. There will be a charge of $35 to swap the phones, and an extra charge of $30 ($15×2) at a Bell World store for reprogramming.

Transfer of Responsibility
If you are under contract and you want to have someone else take over your account, both of you must call Bell Mobility to make arrangements. A credit check will be done on the new user, and a fee of $35 will be charged.
Does Bell Mobility offer corporate rate plans?
Yes. There are lots of corporate rate plans through Bell Mobility. The terms are different with each one, but there are some standard features.

Per Second Billing. As of right now, this is the only way a new customer can get per second billing with Bell Mobility. The real bonus of the corporate per second billing, is that it starts from the moment you hit send. There’s no one minute minimum, so it’s true per second.
Free Activation. You automatically save $35 when activating on a corporate account. There is still a $35 upgrade charge if you’re getting a new phone, and it does cost $25 to move from a standard account to a corporate one.

Detailed Billing. Your bill will list each and every call you’ve made.

Bonus features and monthly price reductions. Most corporate plans will include some very good bonus features, eg: Message Centre, Call Display, Unlimited Nights or Weekends, or any combination of those. As well, most corporate rate plans also give a percentage discount. The base plan is almost always $25/200 mins. There are discounts ranging from 6% to 20% off of that base rate depending on how large the corporate account is.

Bottom line is, whenever you walk into a Bell store to look at getting a new account, tell the rep who you work for or where you go to school. Usually, a corporate rate can be found, which can save you quite a bit of money every month.
What do I do if my phone is broken?
All new phones sold by Bell Mobility dealers come with a 1 year manufacturers warranty. Remember, it is the phone manufacturer, not Bell Mobility, which sets out the warranty requirements. Only defects due to the general use of the phone will be covered by warranty.
Refurbished units are sometimes sold, usually on a prepaid account, and they generally have a 90 day warranty. Make sure you ask before you buy.

Dead on Arrival (D.O.A.) phones
Each manufacturer has different rules governing the exchange of a phone if it becomes defective soon after the original customer purchase. Generally, if a phone is less than 30 days old, and has less than 300 minutes of use, only then can it be swapped out for a new phone in the store. After the D.O.A. period, the phone must be sent in to the manufacture for repair. There are no exceptions to this rule. Your phone may be gone for up to 6 weeks.

Loaner Phones
Do not throw out your old phone, unless it is completely unusable. If your new phone develops a problem and has to be sent in for service, you can use the old phone in the meantime for free. Many retailers will have a stock of loaner phones for you to use in the meantime if you do not have an old phone to use. Most stores will charge $25 for the use of their loaner. Bell Mobility is under no obligation to provide you with a loaner, and the stores have to buy their own phones at unsubsidized prices, which is why they charge for for them.

What’s not covered
Physical damage of any sort. Broken antennas are not covered. The most often seen type of non-warranty damage is liquid damage. The phones themselves usually come with a strip of litmus paper in them which will be a dead giveaway to liquid damage when the service person looks at it. As well, don’t leave your phone in the car on a cold winter night. By morning, condensation can build up inside causing liquid damage. Also, extreme temperature swings can crack an LCD screen, again not covered.

Extended Warranties
These are actually a good deal when it comes to cell phones. Currently, Bell World offers a 2 year extended warranty for $69 with a regular phone, $109 for a data device (Kyocera 7135, Audiovox Thera, etc…) This warranty covers an additional 2 years past the manufacturers warranty. As well, this warranty gives the customer a free loaner phone and free software upgrades for the whole 3 years. Different retailers will have different warranties. Make sure you ask about how the warranty works before you buy it.

2. Fido/Microcell

What is Fido’s coverage like?
As you can see Fido lacks digital rural coverage, but the coverage it does provide is exceptional. If you are in the urban area and plan to stay there, you should check out Fido.
What are Fido’s GPRS settings?
Account 1:
Name: FidoWAP
APN – wap.fido.ca
User: fido
password: fido

Account 2:
Name: FidoINT
APN: internet.fido.ca
user: fido
password: fido

then, to set up WAP, create a Wap profile with the following:
Name: Fido
Connect using: FidoWAP
Gateway: 205.151.11.11
user: fido
password: fido

OR

homepage: wap.fido.ca
session mode: permanent
connection security: off
data bearer: GPRS
GPRS connection: when needed
GPRS access point: wap.fido.ca
IP address: 205.151.011.011
authentication type: normal
login type: automatic
user:fido
password:fido

I hope one works for you!
Will Fido be moving their evening/weekend time to 8 PM like the other providers?
Fido will not be moving their evenings and weekend clock to 8 PM like the other providers, Fido will stay at 7 PM.
What are my plan options with Fido?
You can have a Monthly package.

You can have a pre-paid package.

Or, you can have a little bit of both, have the advantages of a monthly package, while paying it like prepaid. It is called “Monthly paid in advanced”.

Visit www.fido.ca for more information.

3. Telus PCS and Mike Service

What voice services does Telus Mobility offer?
Telus Mobility offers three types of voice services, one geared toward the business customer and two services geared toward the non-business customer. There is some overlap between the types of services offered so if you are considering Telus Mobility, you might want to evaluate both business and non-business (personal) services to see which is most appropriate for your needs. The three types of services offered are:

Business:
Mike service – geared toward the business customer.

Personal:
Digital PCS – geared toward the non-business customer.
Pay & Talk

How can I contact Telus Mobility Client Care?
There are several ways in which to contact Client Care.

From your Telus Mobility phone, simply dial *611. This is a free call.

From a land-line phone, you may reach client Care via the following numbers:

Toll-free: 1-866-558-2273.
Toll-free in Eastern Quebec: 1-800-463-8988.
Vancouver: 604-291-2355.
Calgary: 403-387-5825.
Edmonton: 780-732-2901.
Winnipeg: 204-999-2532.
Ottawa: 613-282-2532.
Quebec City: 418-802-2532.
Montreal: 514-830-2532.
Toronto: 416-279-2532.

For postal and email addresses, please see this page:

Additional Contact Info
How can I send a text message to a Telus Mobility customer via the Internet?
You can send a text message to a Telus Mobility customer by visiting this web page:

Text Messaging

Make sure you know the 10 digit telephone number of the customer you wish to contact.
Does Telus Mobility offer any special numbers that I should know?
Telus Mobility offers many special numbers but not all numbers are available with each type of service. Two numbers that are available for all services are the number to call Client Care directly from your phone as well as the number for emergencies. These numbers are free to call and are:
Client Care: *611 or 611.
Emergency: 911

Please view the following page for other special numbers that are available to digital PCS and Pay & Talk customers:

Special Phone Numbers
Can I view a map of the coverage area for Digital PCS in Ontario?
Click on this link for a coverage map of digital PCS service in Ontario:

Ontario Digital PCS Coverage
Can I view a map of the coverage area for Mike service in Ontario?
To view a map of the coverage area for Mike service in Ontario, click on the following link:

Mike Service Ontario Coverage
Can I view a map of the coverage area for the Pay & Talk service in Ontario?
You can view a coverage map for the Pay & Talk service for Ontario by clicking on the following link:

Pay & Talk Ontario Coverage

4. Rogers AT&T

What are some important Rogers AT&T numbers?
Customer Service
Ottawa 613-739-4811
Ontario 1-800-268-7347
USA 1-888-975-3933
PayGo 1-800-575-9090
From your Cellular phone *611/*811

Accounts Receivable
1-800-361-0538

Payments Hotline
1-800-214-5979

TDMA/Analogue
1-877-592-1541

GSM
1-866-931-3282

GSM Voicemail
1-416-358-1549 – Toronto
1-403-561-3172 – Alberta

Wireless Guard Claims
1-877-823-7854

4.1 Rogers AT&T TDMA
Can I access GPRS on my TDMA phone?
No, you cannot, GPRS only works with GSM-GPRS capable phones.

4.2 Rogers AT&T GSM
What is the cost for GPRS from rogers?
Plan Monthly Service Fee Included Data Additional Usage Rate

$5 Wireless Internet Plan $5 150 Kb $0.04/Kb
$10 Wireless Internet Plan $10 500 Kb $0.03/Kb
$20 Wireless Internet Plan $20 1.5 Mb $0.02/Kb

*Monthly Usage Limit is measured by the number of characters sent and received. One character = one letter, or number, or symbol, or space. 1000 characters = 1000 bytes = 1k

You should book mark the pages you visit using GPRS, you end up downloading a lot less. Compare the following activities when it was book marked and when it wasn’t.

The first column is if it isn’t book marked, the second is if it is.

2Kb N/A Access My Mobile Home Page
2Kb 1 Kb Check Local Traffic Conditions
5Kb 2 Kb Get a Weather Report
7Kb 1 Kb Find a stock quote
12Kb 1 Kb Look up a movie time
12Kb 1 Kb Read a restaurant review
Is Rogers GSM Better Than Fido?
Is Rogers GSM Better Than Fido?

“I’ve deliberately worded this question in the form of “who is better”, but if you’ve read many of my opinions and suggestions in other parts of this web page, you’d know that I don’t give that sort advice. However, this is the way most people seem to think of the issue, and so I felt that it was better to start that way.

The biggest problem with the question, as asked, is the word better. There are many ways that a network can be better or worse than another, and in the case of Rogers GSM vs Fido (Microcell Connexions), it comes down to two distinct issues: 1) Amount of coverage; and 2) Quality of that coverage.

In terms of amount of coverage, there is no question that Rogers GSM covers vastly larger areas of Canada than does Microcell Connexions. However, much of that extra area is sparsely populated, and for the vast majority of city-dwellers, the coverage is of little use to them. However, if you are someone who spends much of their time outside of the areas covered by Microcell Connexions, you are definitely going to feel that Rogers is better than Microcell Connexions. Any coverage is better than no coverage at all.

For those who live, work, and play inside the areas covered by Microcell Connexions, the issue of coverage is moot. To this group of users, the issue is which provider has the best coverage quality. In that respect, Microcell Connexions comes out in the lead. In most places around Southern Ontario, where both networks provide coverage, Microcell Connexions has at least 2 to 3 times as many sites serving that given area. In the GTA, both have about the same number of sites, but Microcell Connexions still wins for the following reasons:

First, Rogers has yet to implement Frequency Hopping, and as such they haven’t got anywhere near the resistance to interference that Microcell Connexions does in the GTA. Second, the handoff schedule implemented on the Rogers GSM network is simply not responsive enough. Throughout hours of online testing, I have been extremely disappointed with the extent of call damage caused by delayed handoffs. In fact, these delayed handoffs have resulted in at least 20 dropped calls in areas where coverage is quite decent. Those delayed handoffs have also resulted in countless situations where the audio was damaged to the point of being useless for periods exceeding 5 seconds (though in the end, the call recovered by eventually handing off).

When it comes to network tuning however, we can always hope that the engineers at Rogers will eventually set things right. They can certainly implement Frequency Hopping, and they can change the handoff schedule any time they please. As for the lack of sites outside of the GTA, that too can be fixed by investing in a rather heavy build-out of new GSM-only sites in those areas. This means that in time Rogers can bring their call quality up to the same standards that Microcell Connexions already has. When that happens, we can compare networks solely upon their coverage, but until that day arrives, you must pick which GSM network you want based on the following criteria:

If you require your GSM phone to work in areas where Microcell Connexions does not provide coverage, or where their coverage is weak and Rogers is strong, then go with Rogers. If you spend the vast majority of your time in the urban areas that are well-covered by Microcell Connexions, you’ll find that you’ll get markedly better quality service by going with them. If you seem to be the type that finds themselves in both situations frequently, you might want to consider getting both services, and using the one that suits you the best at any given moment.”

Microcell Connexions = FIDO
Taken from Steve Punter’s website.
What are Rogers AT&T GPRS settings?
Setting’s name: Rogers
Homepage: ?mymobilehomepage.rogers.com
Session Mode: Permanent
Connection Security: Off
Data bearer: GPRS
GPRS access point: goam.com
IP Address: 208.200.067.150
Auth Type: Normal
Login Type: Automatic
User Name: wapuser1
Password: wap

5. GSM
What are some of the GSM features?
GSM Features That Aren’t Widely Known

I don’t think anyone deliberately withheld this information from us, I think they just didn’t think of it when they put together their information packages. The following are standard GSM codes and procedures, so you aren’t learning anything “Top Secret” here. Just the same, you might find this information extremely valuable.

SMS Delivery Reports

As many of you know, GSM is the only technology that supports the SENDING of SMS from the handset. You can use this feature to send SMS to another handset, or to a gateway. But how do you find out if the person you sent the message to has picked it up? On the menu of most GSM phones you’ll find an option for “Delivery Reports”, but this doesn’t seem to work on Microcell Connexions in Canada, nor on some other GSM networks in North America.

But here’s something that DOES WORK. Add a string of three 1’s to the beginning of your message, something like this:

111Hi Joe, are you coming to the meeting?

Your recipient won’t get the “111” at the beginning of the message, but you will be sent a confirmation message immediately after your recipient’s phone downloads the message from the switch. This doesn’t guarantee he’s read your message, but it does guarantee that it is now IN his phone. If the message “goes stale” and is deleted from the carrier’s system before it is picked up, you will also receive a confirmation of this.

I can’t guarantee this will work on ALL GSM networks, but it should.

Call Forwarding

GSM supports FOUR types of Call Forwarding:

Forward All Calls: This mode forwards each and every call that comes into your GSM number, unconditionally. This is what most people traditionally think of when you mention call forwarding.

Forward if Busy: This mode forwards calls that come into you GSM number when your phone is busy. This means that instead of getting a busy signal, the caller is deflected to a different phone number.

Forward if Not Answered: This mode forwards calls that come into your GSM number when you fail to answer them. This normally occurs after 15 seconds, but you can change this duration (as you will see later).

Forward if Out of Reach: This mode forwards calls that come into your GSM number when your phone is either turned off, or out of the service area (showing No Service).

Each of these four modes operate independently of the others, which means you can set a completely different number for each, or choose to forward under some circumstances and not others. Most people choose to set Forward if Out of Reach to their Voice Mail, thus insuring that calls go there when the phone is off or out of the service area.

To turn your phone into a pager, you need only Forward All Calls to your Voice Mail, but leave the phone switched on. No one can call you, since their calls go directly to the Voice Mail, but once a message has been left, the phone will still beep to inform you of this fact. Numeric and Text Messages also arrive uninterrupted.

And did you know that you don’t have to use the menu options to set, clear, or check these four forwarding options? The following is a list of the strings you can type into your phone to access these features. After typing in the string, press the TALK button.

Forward All Calls
– Activate
– Cancel & De-register
– Cancel & Retain
– Status
– Re-establish
*21*[Phone Number]#
##21#
#21#
*#21#
*21#

Forward if Busy
– Activate
– Cancel & De-register
– Cancel & Retain
– Status
– Re-establish
*67*[Phone Number]#
##67#
#67#
*#67#
*67#

Forward if Not Answered
– Activate
– Cancel & De-register
– Cancel & Retain
– Status
– Re-establish
*61*[Phone Number]#
##61#
#61#
*#61#
*61#

Forward if Out of Reach
– Activate
– Cancel & De-register
– Cancel & Retain
– Status
– Re-establish
*62*[Phone Number]
##62#
#62#
*#62#
*62#

Simultaneously perform ALL
FOUR forwards:
– Activate
– Cancel & De-register
– Cancel & Retain
– Re-establish
*002*[Phone Number]#
##002#
#002#
*002#

Simultaneously perform ALL
Conditional Forwards:
– Activate
– Cancel & De-register
– Cancel & Retain
– Re-establish
*004*[Phone Number]#
##004#
#004#
*004#

For example, to forward calls to 416-867-5309 when you are out of reach, you enter:

*62*4168675309#

Note: The cancellation feature actually has TWO different modes of operation. By prefacing the operation with two pound symbols instead of one, you instruct the network not only to cancel the forwarding operation, but to completely de-register this service. So what’s the difference? If you use just a single pound symbol, this does turn off the selected call forwarding option, but the network retains a memory of the last number used. This allows you to turn the forwarding option back on, with the same number as before, by simply entering the “Re-establish” code noted in the chart. Re-establish will FAIL if you try to use it after performing a “Cancel & De-register” operation.

Being able to enter these functions as strings means you can store them in memory locations and speed-dial them whenever you need to. Be careful when attempting to set or clear Forward if Busy, Forward if Not Answered,. and Forward if Out of Reach, as these features will NOT change if you presently have Forward All Calls active. Turn off this latter feature first, or you may receive a “Not Done” error message from the network.

Earlier I said that you could set how long the network would wait before assuming you had not answered your phone. To do this, use the following string to activate Forward if Not Answered (it cannot be done from the menus):

*61*[Phone Number]*11*[Time]#

For example, to forward to 416-867-5309 after allowing your phone to ring for 25 seconds, you would enter:

*61*4168675309*11*25#

The Time parameter may be 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, or 30. These are the only valid entries you may use. The “11” in this code refers to “Voice Calls”, but since Fido only handles voice calls at this time, there’s no point telling you what the other codes mean. Besides, I’d have to run off and look them up. This timing instruction can also be added to the *002 and *004 codes.

When forwarding to your voice mail, Fido gives you an additional short cut so that you don’t have to remember the actual phone number to forward to. Instead of setting the forward to the actual phone number, forward to 3436 (that spells FIDO). For example, to forward all calls unconditionally to your Fido voice mail, you would enter:

*21*3436#

The Fido system recognizes 3634 and converts it to the correct phone number for you. If you use the status code *#21# right after you do this, you will find your phone forwarded to the correct voice mail phone number.

And here’s another thing that can come in really handy if you wish to screen calls. Most of you probably guessed that if you set Forward if Not Answered, you can check the call display and ignore calls you don’t wish to take. After the phone has rung 5 or 6 times, it will forward to the designated number (mostly likely your Voice Mail). Having the phone ring and ring like that is hardly a great solution if you’re at a meeting, and changing the forwarding wait time to 5 seconds (the minimum allowed) means you may not have sufficient time to answer those calls you do wish to receive.

Here’s how you can handle this situation using your GSM phone. Instead of setting the Forward if Not Answered feature to the desired phone number, set the Forward if Busy feature instead (or as well). Now when your phone rings, check the incoming number and if isn’t someone you wish to speak with, press the END key. This tells the GSM to immediately forward your call. Nifty eh? And by the way, if you press END while a call is coming in, and you haven’t set a phone number to forward to, then the caller starts getting a busy signal.

Call Waiting

Suppose you have just called a phone number where you end up on hold. While listening to the annoying music in the background you receive a second call via call waiting. You don’t really want to answer that call, since it would put your first call on hold. Someone might answer while you were away, and besides, you don’t want to run up the airtime if you can no longer service that call. All you need to do to terminate the first call before answering the second call is to press the END key. This will tell the GSM network to end your current call, but right away the phone will start to ring. To answer this call, just press the TALK button.

Did you know that you can take a call waiting party and allow them to join in your current conversation? When the second call comes in, answer it as usual by pressing the TALK button (or by selecting the answer option on the appropriate soft key). After confirming with the caller that he or she wishes to join your current conversation, choose the Join (or Conference) option on your phone. For a Nokia 2190, this entails pressing the Menu key and holding it for a half second. On the 6190, just press the Options soft key. You’ll find the Join (Conference) option in the list that appears on your screen. I don’t own either the Ericsson or Nortel phones, so I don’t for sure how to get to the Join option on those phones.

You can quickly disable Call Waiting by entering #43# then pressing TALK. You can re-activate Call Waiting by entering *43# and then pressing TALK. You can check the Call Waiting status by entering *#43# and pressing TALK.

Text Messaging

When you first signed up for Text Messaging, your phone was automatically programmed with the Fido Message Center Number (or SMSC for short). This would be fine if it were possible to send text messages to any other GSM phone in the world through this number, but it isn’t. Some GSM providers, such as PacBell in California, will not accept text messages sent to its subscribers from the Fido SMSC.

All is not lost however, since you can change the SMSC in your phone to that of PacBell’s (or most other SMSCs in North America), and both Fido will allow this. By changing your SMSC to +12099042010, you can freely send text messages to any subscriber on the PacBell network. Don’t forget to change it back to +15149931123 once you are finished.

Fido seems to disable the multiple “Message Sets” provided by the 6190. This would have allowed you to enter different SMSC numbers in each of the 5 groups and select the one you wanted. You can still change the SMSC easily enough on the 6190, but it’s a shame you are denied an even easier way to do it.

I’m still experimenting with this to see what is and is not possible. Someone did post a message with a web site containing all the SMSCs for GSM providers around the world. Unfortunately I have been unable to find that address, but as soon as I do, I will post it here. Some SMSCs in other countries will send messages to your GSM phone. I recently tried a web page gateway in Austria and I received my message from that system within seconds. In the future, once the GSM providers stop screwing us around, we will be able to send and receive text messages from any GSM phone in the world WITHOUT changing the SMSC in our phones.

Showing Your Number

As you may already know, there is a menu item available on GSM phones that determines whether your phone number will be shown on the call display units of people you contact. However, did you know that you can override this setting on a per-call basis?

Say you normally display your phone number, but once in a while you want to hide it. To do that, put #31# in front of the number you are dialing. For example:

#31#4165551212

You could also store some of your phone book entries with #31# in front of them. This is handy if you have someone you call regularly who you don’t want to send your number to. Let’s face it, some people won’t answer their phone if they know it is you calling.

Now suppose you normally didn’t like your number displayed, but once in a while you did want to show it. To do that, put *31# in front of the number you are dialing. For example:

*31#4165551212

NOTE: Microcell Connexions also supports the use of the landline standard *67 for suppressing your number. If you can’t remember the GSM codes, you can always remember that one.

Call Timer

On all other cellular and PCS technologies, the call timer runs whenever you press the TALK (or SEND) button. In other words, the timer is basically stupid, and doesn’t really know when you are being charged and when you aren’t. GSM on the other hand has full control over your timer. Calls are billed from the time the called party picks up his phone, and NOT from the time you press TALK. Next time you play with your phone, try calling your home number and let it ring 5 or 6 times before you answer. Note that the timer doesn’t begin until you pick up the phone. Also check your next bill, and you’ll find that the service provider only charged you for the time you were ACTUALLY CONNECTED.

Since the network has control of your timer, it can decided whether your timer should even run. Try calling a phone number that doesn’t exist, so that you’ll get the recording that says “We’re sorry, but your call cannot be completed as dialed”. You’ll find that your timer doesn’t run AT ALL under these circumstances, even though you are on the air.

This fine timer control was built in as part of a feature set that lets users see how much a phone call is costing him. Many North American GSM providers (including Fido) disable this call cost feature since they basically expect you to do most (if not all) your calling within the free minutes they provide each month. If your GSM provider charges you airtime for most calls, they might very well have activated the call cost feature.
What does GSM stand for?
GSM (Global System for Mobile) is a digital cellular radio network used in over 200 countries worldwide. It is the dominant standard in Western Europe with nearly complete coverage and is growing in the Americas, Asia and other areas too.

GSM uses three frequency bands.

GSM 900 – operates in the 900 MHz frequency range and is the most common in Europe and most of the world.
GSM 1800 – operates in the 1800 MHz frequency range and is found in a growing number of countries already using GSM 900.
GSM 1900 (also called PCS (Personal Communication Services) 1900) – is used in the United States and Canada.

A significant feature of GSM is roaming; this allows cellular subscribers to use their services in any GSM service area in the world in which their provider has a roaming agreement.
How can I divert my (mobile) phone to a pager?
On a GSM cellular phone you can key in the following command **61*phone number#send to divert calls when your cellular phone is switched off, out of coverage or if you choose not to answer it. The “phone number” referred to is the access number (including the area code) for your pager operator service. For all other types of mobile phone you should consult the handbook supplied with the phone or the Phone Company providing you with cellular service.

6. TDMA
What is TDMA?
Time division multiple access (TDMA) is digital transmission technology that allows a number of users to access a single radio-frequency (RF) channel without interference by allocating unique time slots to each user within each channel. The TDMA digital transmission scheme multiplexes three signals over a single channel. The current TDMA standard for cellular divides a single channel into six time slots, with each signal using two slots, providing a 3 to 1 gain in capacity over advanced mobile-phone service (AMPS). Each caller is assigned a specific time slot for transmission.

7. CDMA
What is CDMA?
Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) is a digital wireless technology that was pioneered and commercially developed by Qualcomm.

CDMA works by converting speech into digital information, which is then transmitted as a radio signal over a wireless network. Using a unique code to distinguish each different call, CDMA enables many more people to share the airwaves at the same time – without static, cross-talk or interference.

In 1999, the International Telecommunications Union selected CDMA as the industry standard for new “third-generation” (3G) wireless systems. Many leading wireless carriers are now building or upgrading to 3G CDMA networks in order to provide more capacity for voice traffic, along with high-speed data capabilities.

What is 1x?
1xRTT is short for single carrier (1x) radio transmission technology, a 3G wireless technology based on the CDMA platform. It is a new Data transfer technology that can give speeds of up to 86kb’s per second. This service is unique because instead of being billed by the time spent online, you’re actually billed for the amount of data you transfer through the network. This improvement for wireless data is similar to going from dial-up to high-speed service. When data is not being actively transferred, the 1x Data service becomes dormant and a virtual connection to the network is maintained. This , allows you to still receive voice calls or text messages on your cell phone. When you are ready to resume the data session, you can re-engage the network connections immediately.

Not only will 1x improve data transfer, it also allows for more user network capacity and longer battery life. All of Bell Mobility’s current phones support the 1x network.

1xRTT is also referred to as CDMA2000.

8. General
Is in-building coverage about the same for all four technologies?
Theoretically, CDMA has the best in-building coverage due to a greater tolerance of weak signals. In practice, you will probably be able to use a CDMA phone A LITTLE DEEPER inside a building than with GSM, IS-136, or iDEN, but there is a far more important factor at work here.

Networks can provide excellent in-building coverage by means of indoor picocells (or enhancers). Most of the Toronto PCS providers have coverage in Toronto’s underground concourses (known as the PATH system) using these picocells. In the absence of such cells however, the ability to penetrate a building is highly dependent upon the proximity of the closest site. You can check my maps to see how close a site is to the building you wish to use your phone in.

Statistically speaking, Rogers (who has the most sites) should provide in-building coverage in more places than Mike (who has the least). However, a secondary factor plays a part here too. Because of the huge number of sites Rogers have, they must greatly reduce the range of each site to avoid interference. This means you must be much closer to one of their sites to get descent in-building signals. Mike can keep the output of their sites relatively high, and you can be further away and still get good in-building coverage.

CDMA systems have one peculiarity that does not affect GSM, IS-136, or iDEN. As the number of subscribers using a particular site goes up, the range of that site goes down. This is difficult to explain without getting into the technical details of CDMA systems. The upshot of this is that what seemed like good in-building coverage one day, may not be so good the next. In-building coverage would suffer the most during rush hour.

The bottom line is: All service providers have their good buildings and their bad buildings. The closer the site is to the building, the better the coverage. No one technology is inherently much better than another, so don’t let misinformed souls lead down the garden path on this one.

Taken from :
www.arcx.com/sites/faq.htm#InBuilding
Where can I find site locations for these providers?
Simply go to Steve Punter’s site, scroll down to your provider and select the area you live in or the area you wish to visit, and you can see if there are any cell towers in your area.

Do Those Stick-On Antenna Boosters Really Work?
Absolutely NOT. Even if such a concept could actually work, each antenna would have to be specifically designed for each phone model, in order to properly interact with the existing antennas and shielding. Since these devices are the same for all phones, we know they are pulling our legs even before we apply simple antenna design theory to them. Your best bet is to save your money, and use it for something more worthwhile.

How Does Paying by the Minute Compare to Paying by the Second?
Paying by the minute is obviously more expensive than paying by the second, but exactly how this impact upon your monthly bill does. To begin, we need to look at the statistical average overpayment that rounding-up incurs. On the low end, the overpayment is 0 seconds, since you might make a call that is exactly 3 minutes for example. At the high end, the overpayment is 59 seconds, since you could conceivable go 1 second over the boundary. If we assume that your call times are randomly distributed, then the long-term average overpayment is 30 seconds per call.

Based on that average, we can easily determine how much more airtime you paid for by simply counting the number of individual calls you made during a given month. If you made 150 calls for example, that would use up, on average, an extra 75 minutes of airtime than if you’d been paying by the second.

However, just because you consumed an extra 75 minutes doesn’t mean it will actually cost you anything. That depends upon whether you were going over your “bucket of minutes”. Say for example your service came with 300 minutes, but you routinely used about 200 of those minutes. If that were the case, then those extra 75 minutes wouldn’t have any impact on your bill at all. On the other hand, if you routinely used almost all of your minutes (or sometimes when slightly over), then virtually all of those 75 minutes are going to count against you. You’d either have to pay for them at the cost of overage, or you would need to move up to the next highest package available.

The only way to know for sure if charging by the minute is bad or neutral (because it certainly isn’t good), you have to examine your bills and multiply the total number of calls by 30 seconds. Use that figure to see how much extra it would cost you, if anything.

However, being charged by the minute has a psychological impact that isn’t obvious from simply working out whether it truly affects your bottom line. Knowing that you will be charged for a full extra minute if you go over a minute boundary makes you far more likely to become a clock-watcher during your calls (utilizing the minute minders that many phones provide). You then start to rush your calls when those beeps sound, and using the phone becomes a less enjoyable experience.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of a contract?
Contracts are not new to the cell phone market, but in the late 1990’s many of the service providers allowed people to buy inexpensive cell phones without contracts due to the fierce competition within the North American cell phone market. Now that the market has almost reached saturation, many of these service providers are returning to signed contracts to ensure that their customers remain with them for several months.

Contract Advantages:

Your monthly rate will not increase over the contract period, provided that you stay on the same rate plan
The phone purchase may be reduced by $50-$150 or more over not signing a contract
You might receive a billing credit a few months into the contract
A network setup charge may not apply ($25-$50)
You might receive bonuses, such as free incoming minutes, caller ID, or voice mail

Contract Disadvantages:

Phone purchase price likely is higher
There might be a setup charge
You are restricted in your monthly plan for the contract duration (rate increases are permitted, but not decreases)
If you lose or want a new phone, you purchase that phone at the full, non-contract price, if you are still on a contract
If you break the contract then there is a penalty, often the price of the remaining months on the contract
Contracts often require a minimum monthly fee, which might be more minutes or features than you might use

Source: http://www.broadbandreports.com

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