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    rmarkowitz's Avatar
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    Question Pre-Paid SIM Cards - GPRS/EDGE Access & Support In HK/China/Thailand?

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    I've used local pre-paid SIM cards overseas in the past for voice services with no problems.

    Now I'm using a new unlocked quad-band Blackberry 8310 phone and plan to visit Hong Kong, Guangzhou and Thailand in June.


    But now that I have a smart phone I really want to be able to access GPRS/EDGE web functionality on my phone. Yahoo Messenger, Skype, Email, etc.

    Can anyone tell me if you can buy pre-paid SIM cards in HK/China/Thailand that also include GPRS/EDGE data support for smart phones like the Blackberry?

    From what I can see there might an extra $10 charge on top of the regular SIM card to receive cheap data rates.

    Any local helpful info would be great. Thanks.

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    jblackfish's Avatar
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    I didn't think you could do that (data) with a pre-paid SIM. If you find out you can, I'd sure like to know about it.
    For every complex problem there is a solution, that is simple, neat, .....and wrong! (H. L. Mencken) jblackfish(at)pinstack(dot)com

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    After checking with some local friends in China it's my understanding that getting data service with pre-paid SIM cards goes something like this.

    1. Buy pre-paid SIM card from China Mobile with lots of initial credits, maybe 250HKD.

    2. Using SMS messaging you send a message to a specific SMS number (I don't know the number yet) to allocate credits towards data blocks. These data credits will debit your remaining airtime minutes.

    3. Update your TCP -> APN settings to the necessary setting. CMNET looks like it might work.

    4. Network ahoy.

    5. If you run low on voice or data minutes you can top-up the SIM card in the usual fashion and request more data blocks via SMS as needed.

    Sounds great in theory. I'll let you know what happens.

    http://www.china-mobile-phones.com/c...bile-gprs.html

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    Good rmark,

    Hope it works out - let us know. I probably won't use it in China - no plans to go there - but, if you can do it there, maybe I can do it in Europe the next time I go. I don't think it was available when I went to France last year, at least with the SFR SIM.
    For every complex problem there is a solution, that is simple, neat, .....and wrong! (H. L. Mencken) jblackfish(at)pinstack(dot)com

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    As I understand it Blackberry services will not work on pre paid sim cards. You get calls and sms only.

    You may get data for the pre paid sim card but it will probably be a general data plan not a blackberry specific one.

    You will therefore not be able to get emails on your device or use pin messaging or bbm or use the BBbrowser.

    Perhaps using Opera Mini or a wifi browser you would be able to check your email online.

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    Fortunately I don't rely on BB specific email so if that route is blocked I should still be in good shape.

    Basically I'm just hoping that Yahoo Go!, Yahoo Messenger, iSkoot, etc will still be functional and I'll be good to go.

    I would hope/think that once you have data/network connectivity up and running that all of your normal BB network apps would still work. Of course these things are not always that simple.

    Should be interesting. I'll let the forum know what happens.

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    I think Bluebell's got it. The "hitch" that I was thinking about is the Blackberry service on pre-paid. If you can get data, your other 3d-party applications should work. If you have Yahoo Messenger and iSkoot working you should be good to go.

    Bluebell, I see your carrier is O2...so you're in Europe? What country?...and do you use a pre-paid service or do you have a regular plan? (Just curious about your particular experience with European carriers.)
    For every complex problem there is a solution, that is simple, neat, .....and wrong! (H. L. Mencken) jblackfish(at)pinstack(dot)com

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    ~via BB (wap.pinstack.com)~

    Hi

    I am in the UK (Northern Ireland). BB data here is attached to a pay monthly voice contract not pay and go/prepaid.

    I pay Ł15 ($30) for the voice plan & Ł10 ($20) for blackberry internet service with a 250mb data allowance. With the voice plan I get 600 minutes & 500 texts. Note that in the UK we do not pay to receive texts and o2 doesn't charge for receiving texts abroad anymore

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bluebell Wood View Post
    ~via BB (wap.pinstack.com)~

    Hi

    I am in the UK (Northern Ireland). BB data here is attached to a pay monthly voice contract not pay and go/prepaid.

    I pay Ł15 ($30) for the voice plan & Ł10 ($20) for blackberry internet service with a 250mb data allowance. With the voice plan I get 600 minutes & 500 texts. Note that in the UK we do not pay to receive texts and o2 doesn't charge for receiving texts abroad anymore
    So Bluebell, the incoming text messages are not deducted from your 250mb data allowance but outgoing are deductied, right? ...so do you use BB messenger and are those exchanges the same as text msgs as far as charges or are?...and of course any internet browsing is also deducted, right?

    I wonder if this type of service is available to the original poster in China? I actually have some friends in China now - I'm gonna see if I can get them to check for cell phone plan information over there. I don't think they are using cell phones while there but they might be able to pick up some info on it.
    For every complex problem there is a solution, that is simple, neat, .....and wrong! (H. L. Mencken) jblackfish(at)pinstack(dot)com

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    ~via BB (wap.pinstack.com)~

    Text messages come out of the voice contract.

    The 250mb data allowance (BIS) is for bb messenger, pin Messaging, email & browsing the internet and running applications etc.

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    ~via BB (wap.pinstack.com)~
    The original poster is on the right track.

    On a pay and go sim card in the UK you top up the card with credit, with that credit you can buy a data add on or text bundle add on. This is done by sending a text to a number. He will receive a text back telling him when this has been activated an is ready to use.
    I would imagine china has a similar procedure but it depends on the services supplied by the carrier he gets the local sim from.
    His BB would need to be unlocked to use a local sim card.
    I was actually in china & Hong Kong last year but I did not use a local sim & I had a nokia 6120 then.

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    rmarkowitz's Avatar
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    Been chatting with a BB user in China regarding GPRS/EDGE data usage with pre-paid SIM cards.

    http://www.howardforums.com/showthre...=893539&page=4

    It seems that with China Mobile you can buy a pre-paid SIM and then send request(s) for data use allocations via SMS messaging. For example using SMS send "GPRS1000" to number 10086.

    China Unicom might offer something similar. More info in three weeks when I visit Guangzhou and Bangkok and actually try.

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    China Report:

    I bought a 100rmb SIM card from China Mobile. Had to send a SMS message of "BLKGPRS" to 10086 to activate GPRS/EDGE support. After that it I had internet access. Web browsing, Yahoo Go and iSkoot worked. Yahoo Messenger, BB Messenger did not work. BB Messenger requires BIS support. Not sure why Yahoo Messenger did not work. My guess is China Mobile does not have the IP Port# open then YM uses.

    Thailand Report:

    Bought a DTAC SIM card. GPRS/EDGE automatically became available. Like China web browsing, Yahoo Go and iSkoot worked. Yahoo Messenger, BB Messenger did not work. BB Messenger requires BIS support. Not sure why Yahoo Messenger did not work. My guess is DTAC does not have the IP Port# open then YM uses. Heavy data usage (uploading photos to Flickr) really sucked down the prepay minutes. I had to top up the minutes a few times.

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    rmarkowitz (or anyone who would know) -

    I am traveling to Thailand next week, read your post. I am wondering if you know anything about using a DTAC SIM in a BB and connecting to the net via BB as tethered modem?? I would need to get the WAP/APN, it would look something like - wap.voicestream.com or isp.cingular. Do you happen to remeber/know what the actual setting is? I know it can be done, I just need to get this setting and will be able to configure my dial up connection (to use for my laptop). Or does anyone know how to get that information??? All help is appreciated!!

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