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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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I have read through a previous post regarding cell phone use in Europe. As an update to that discussion, I wonder which phone models are Bluetooth compatible, will work with the 7/6/5 and presumably x3 and 3 series, and will also work in Europe. If anyone knows the answer, please respond. Thanks!
 

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Any unlocked GSM quad band phone will work in Europe. There's a list of approve phone by BMW. V551 and the Sony T616 I know work. Remember, most US carriers lock their GSM phones w/c prevents you from using it with a SIM card from another carrier. But I know Cingular and T-Mobile will give you the unlock code if asked.

Check out this thread.
http://forums.e60.net/index.php?showtopic=8993
 

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arnolds said:
Any unlocked GSM quad band phone will work in Europe. There's a list of approve phone by BMW. V551 and the Sony T616 I know work. Remember, most US carriers lock their GSM phones w/c prevents you from using it with a SIM card from another carrier. But I know Cingular and T-Mobile will give you the unlock code if asked.

Check out this thread.
http://forums.e60.net/index.php?showtopic=8993
SIM cards have relatively high initial cost that come with few minutes. Abroad things work a little different. The minutes you purchase are only used up when you make outgoing calls. Incoming call minutes are actually paid by the person originating the call, even on local call. A call from the US to a cell phone abroad will usually be about double than a call placed to a land line.

I know that on T-Mobile SMS messages are free even abroad. With them you have to call them to activate international services. This is a free service and not the same as unlocking your phone. Using this in combination with US telephone credit card would be the cheapest way to stay in contact. With MCI phone card a call you place in Europe back to the US will be charged at same rate as if you wold be placing the call from your house back to Europe.
 

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I found some interesting info about unlocking a phone here. http://www.thetravelinsider.info/roadwarriorcontent/unlockingfaq.htm

Even if your provider refuses to unlock your GSM phone, you still have other options available for a nominal fee.

If you plan to travel between countries during your trip, you would need to buy different SIM cards if you want to avoid paying a roaming rate - which will become a hassle.
 

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Pterous said:
If you plan to travel between countries during your trip, you would need to buy different SIM cards if you want to avoid paying a roaming rate - which will become a hassle.
That sounds pretty strange! I have used my mobile phone(s) all over Europe, South Africa, OZ and throught North America. As long as the battery is charged and there is a network available, all is good. Same phone, same SIM card, same phone number.

I have never understood how screwed up mobile phone use is in the US, whether it is roaming in diffferent states, lack of coverage, use and cost of SMS, lack of MMS between different operators, contracts, number switching and so on.

Anyway.

.
 

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Phones in Europe...the complete answer

which phone models are Bluetooth compatible, will work with the 7/6/5 and presumably x3 and 3 series, and will also work in Europe
All of the answers above are incomplete due to the nature of your question. Here is the, unfortunately, complex answer. First, some background: Most of Europe uses the GSM system, but on different frequency bands than in North America. The original European GSM systems are at 900 MHz, and most metropolitan areas and some entire countries have additional systems at 1800 MHz. The original GSM systems here were at 1900 MHz, and carriers have been converting some 800 MHz channels to GSM (and generally calling it "850" for marketing reasons). Therefore, you need a tri-band or quad-band phone if you want the same phone to work here and in Europe. (To make it even more confusing, phones with either 800-1800-1900 or 900-1800-1900 service are marketed as tri-band.)
Next, it depends on whether you want to pay your North American carrier roaming charges while traveling or instead get service directly from one or more European carriers. If you go the first route, you do not need an unlocked phone. Just call your carrier before you leave and ask them to authorize international roaming. There is usually a small monthly fee, but calls can cost $1.00 per minute or more. But you keep your home number for incoming calls, which can be useful.
If you do want to switch to a European carrier, you need an unlocked phone and the appropriate SIM card. Often these are available as part of a pre-paid service. The per-minute change can be much less. You'll generally get a number in some European country depending on who you deal with. But you must check that you can make and receive calls in all the countries you plan to visit.
I hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
b-y said:
All of the answers above are incomplete due to the nature of your question. Here is the, unfortunately, complex answer. First, some background: Most of Europe uses the GSM system, but on different frequency bands than in North America. The original European GSM systems are at 900 MHz, and most metropolitan areas and some entire countries have additional systems at 1800 MHz. The original GSM systems here were at 1900 MHz, and carriers have been converting some 800 MHz channels to GSM (and generally calling it "850" for marketing reasons). Therefore, you need a tri-band or quad-band phone if you want the same phone to work here and in Europe. (To make it even more confusing, phones with either 800-1800-1900 or 900-1800-1900 service are marketed as tri-band.)
Next, it depends on whether you want to pay your North American carrier roaming charges while traveling or instead get service directly from one or more European carriers. If you go the first route, you do not need an unlocked phone. Just call your carrier before you leave and ask them to authorize international roaming. There is usually a small monthly fee, but calls can cost $1.00 per minute or more. But you keep your home number for incoming calls, which can be useful.
If you do want to switch to a European carrier, you need an unlocked phone and the appropriate SIM card. Often these are available as part of a pre-paid service. The per-minute change can be much less. You'll generally get a number in some European country depending on who you deal with. But you must check that you can make and receive calls in all the countries you plan to visit.
I hope this helps.
All this is indeed very helpful. I think what I can conclude is that when I buy a phone I need to go to the list of bluetooth/BMW compatible phones and within that list, make sure that the one I buy is 900-1800-1900. Also, I guess I will need to find out from the service provider that international roaming is possible. Thanks again and please correct me if my conclusions are wrong.
 

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It is just a slight bit more complicated...

All this is indeed very helpful. I think what I can conclude is that when I buy a phone I need to go to the list of bluetooth/BMW compatible phones and within that list, make sure that the one I buy is 900-1800-1900. Also, I guess I will need to find out from the service provider that international roaming is possible. Thanks again and please correct me if my conclusions are wrong.
If you are willing to pay the international roaming rates from your US carrier, that is the way to go. (It is what I do. I like keeping my US number, and I don't use the phone all that much. But my bill has reached and additional $100 for two phone in Germany and Austria for three weeks.)

About the phones: Here you will probably find two options are the most common:
(a) 800-1800-1900 tri-band GSM phones that work on 800-1900 here and 1800 and Europe. I think it whill be hard to find 900-1800-1900 phones, but possibly T-mobile has them as they work only on 1900 in the US (I think). I know Cingular/ATT Wireless has several 800-1800-1900 GSM models.
(b) "Quad-band" such as the Motorola Razr from Cingular. These work on all four bands--two here and two in Europe.
Good luck & have a nice trip.
 

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neurom said:
All this is indeed very helpful. I think what I can conclude is that when I buy a phone I need to go to the list of bluetooth/BMW compatible phones and within that list, make sure that the one I buy is 900-1800-1900. Also, I guess I will need to find out from the service provider that international roaming is possible. Thanks again and please correct me if my conclusions are wrong.
Another thing to keep in mind with international roaming. If a phone call goes unanswered or declined and it roll overs to voicemail you will be charged with 1 minute of roaming, at least that is how T-Mobile works.

Also you may want to check to see if your provider allows free SMS on international roaming. T-Mobile provides it for free and you can provide an e-mail address through which SMS can be sent to your phone from any e-mail program. I also have access to my personal e-mail account via my phone and I am able to respond to e-mails I get. I did not get any roaming charges when using that service abroad (T-Zones), though it may vary by carrier.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for the advise. I am using the phone to be available in case of emergencies or if I get lost or something and need to make an urgent call. For all I care, I will be on vacation and not on the phone, so I will roam. Thanks to all again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
b-y said:
If you are willing to pay the international roaming rates from your US carrier, that is the way to go. (It is what I do. I like keeping my US number, and I don't use the phone all that much. But my bill has reached and additional $100 for two phone in Germany and Austria for three weeks.)

About the phones: Here you will probably find two options are the most common:
(a) 800-1800-1900 tri-band GSM phones that work on 800-1900 here and 1800 and Europe. I think it whill be hard to find 900-1800-1900 phones, but possibly T-mobile has them as they work only on 1900 in the US (I think). I know Cingular/ATT Wireless has several 800-1800-1900 GSM models.
(b) "Quad-band" such as the Motorola Razr from Cingular. These work on all four bands--two here and two in Europe.
Good luck & have a nice trip.
The motorola razor seems to be the best option, price aside. Do you or anyone else in here can confirm that it is Bluetooth compatible with the 7/6/5 series?
 

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neurom said:
The motorola razor seems to be the best option, price aside. Do you or anyone else in here can confirm that it is Bluetooth compatible with the 7/6/5 series?
Actually, I had the Motorola V551 and that worked in Paris before a I lost it. I also know that it is one of the approved phones in the BMW list.
 

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neurom said:
The motorola razor seems to be the best option, price aside. Do you or anyone else in here can confirm that it is Bluetooth compatible with the 7/6/5 series?
Yes its compatible!
 

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neurom said:
It is fully compatible, but its antenna is not that great and there will probably not be a snap in kit developed (to enhance reception and provide charging) for it because the refined design does not have exposed contacts, I believe.
My wife has a razr and I am waiting to see how well it works in the new 7er before deciding what to get.
Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
djlfp said:
It is fully compatible, but its antenna is not that great and there will probably not be a snap in kit developed (to enhance reception and provide charging) for it because the refined design does not have exposed contacts, I believe.
My wife has a razr and I am waiting to see how well it works in the new 7er before deciding what to get.
Good luck.
The snap kit is really convenient. I think the V551 does have a snap kit, but it is not a quad band. Does anyone know if there are any quad band phones with snap kit? Where do you get this snap kits? From the dealer's parts department? I can't find a phone that has everything, including quad band and snap kit. It is very convenient and I would think would give you enhanced reception and ease of charging, so I may just sacrifice reception during my 2 weeks in Germany to get a phone with these options. When are you getting your new 7? I may use you as a guinea pig....I am picking up mine in June 20. If you are doing it after me, then you can use me as a guinea pig.
 

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neurom said:
I think the V551 does have a snap kit, but it is not a quad band. Where do you get this snap kits? From the dealer's parts department? I can't find a phone that has everything, including quad band and snap kit. It is very convenient and I would think would give you enhanced reception and ease of charging, so I may just sacrifice reception during my 2 weeks in Germany to get a phone with these options. When are you getting your new 7? I may use you as a guinea pig....I am picking up mine in June 20. If you are doing it after me, then you can use me as a guinea pig.
http://www.x5world.com/bluetooth_compatible_phones.htm
shows full compatibility with snap-in adapter part no. 84 21 0 307 726. I do not know where to get the part; probably BMW.

http://onlinestoree.cingular.com/we...11701&catalogId=11701&langId=-1&svcAreaId=SBC
shows V551 to be quad band.

I will be back from ED in mid-May so I will report what I know then, but I will probably not be using the Razr over there. Redelivery will probably not occur until mid-July.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
djlfp said:
http://www.x5world.com/bluetooth_compatible_phones.htm
shows full compatibility with snap-in adapter part no. 84 21 0 307 726. I do not know where to get the part; probably BMW.

http://onlinestoree.cingular.com/we...11701&catalogId=11701&langId=-1&svcAreaId=SBC
shows V551 to be quad band.

I will be back from ED in mid-May so I will report what I know then, but I will probably not be using the Razr over there. Redelivery will probably not occur until mid-July.
Really helpful stuff. The V551 is significantly cheaper too. Where do you get these snap kits? From a BMW dealer or is it a generic Motorola accessory?
 

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Since this post is in the ED forum, I'm guessing you might have been thinking of trying to use your pair your GSM phone with your new car during your ED trip...
In my experience, the Bluetooth module isn't activated until the car gets to the VDC. When I inquired at the Delivery Center about this, they told me this was the case for all models...
But maybe that wasn't what you were looking to do...

p.s. my Motorola V600 works great in Europe and in my 6er, just not both at the same time!
 
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