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Talk Abroad

Multi-Country Calling from Cellular Abroad

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Continued from page 1

Field-testing Talk Abroad

photoI first used Talk Abroad on a trip to Paris several years ago. Cellular Abroad sent me a triband phone, a Talk Abroad SIM card, and detailed instructions.

Setup was easy: I just charged the phone's battery, inserted the SIM card, and made sure the band switch was set to "auto." Whenever I turned on the phone, it automatically scanned its three frequency bands for a network.

Calling with Talk Abroad was simple enough, once I'd read the instructions. The SIM card had a European number, so any calls outside the phone's "native country" (currently the UK) required using the international dialing code and a country code.

For example, to call a Paris number from within Paris with TalkAbroad, I'd dial 00 33 followed by the Paris area code (minus the initial "0") and the local phone number. I'd hear a ring, and after a short pause the TalkAbroad service would call me back to complete the connection.

Receiving calls was even easier: A caller merely had to dial my cell phone's international number, whether I was in Paris, France or Paris, Kentucky. When the phone rang, I answered.

The service worked flawlessly in Europe, and when I got back home to the U.S., the phone switched automatically to the domestic T-Mobile network.

More recently, I used a newer Talk Abroad card with the Duet D888 travel phone on two separate trips to Scandinavia and the Mediterranean, and I encountered only one glitch: The local network wouldn't register in Venice, Italy. I e-mailed Cellular Abroad and got  a quick reply from a Customer Service agent who told me how to activate the SIM card's "extended roaming" for Italy. The advice worked perfectly, and I haven't had a problem since.

Is TalkAbroad right for you?

The Talk Abroad package is a great product, but whether it's a better value than a single-country SIM card depends on your travel plans and telephone needs. For help in deciding which approach is best for you, see my comparison chart on page 3 and my recommendation on page 4.

Next page: Comparison chart

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