What Does It Mean to Use Your U.S. Phone in Israel?
It’s natural to have questions about how you will maintain the communication link when traveling to a foreign country. The minute you head to Israel from your American home, you will feel overwhelmed with technical jargon, expensive roaming charges, conflicting, advice, and whatnot. Of course, no one likes to discuss the nuances of GSM frequency bands or iPhone unlock codes with a mobile vendor in a country where you hardly know anyone.
Since all travelers from the United States want to continue to communicate with their family, friends, and colleagues while exploring Israel, we have put together this guide for you. It will save you from unnecessary complications and frustration.
How to find the Best Travel Phone for Israel
First of all, don’t get tensed. Before heading to Israel, you can easily get a phone for Israel online in the United States itself. You can either choose a cheap basic model or get a smartphone or even iPhone for Israel. The best thing is that you can either buy a phone or get a rental phone without any hassle.
Even if your current phone works physically in a new country, it is usually a good idea to get a separate phone. In case you don’t want to get a new phone, you can also choose to buy or rent Israel SIM.
What If I want to use my current phone in Israel?
In case you still want to stick with your current phone, then you have to confirm a lot of things. For instance, you need to make sure that your current phone is compatible with the technology and frequency.
The most common cellular technology is GSM, and it is widely used throughout the world. CDMA is less common nowadays and is used by only a few carriers in the United States. If your phone supports only CDMA, it is highly unlikely that it will work in Israel or any other foreign country.
Besides, even if your phone is a GSM phone, you still need to confirm that it supports the frequencies used in Israel. To ensure that you can send and receive calls, texts, and 3G data internationally, you need to look for “quad-band” or specific bands 850/900/1800/1900 MHz in your mobile’s specifications. If your phone supports all four bands, you won’t face many issues while traveling to another country. But your problem doesn’t end here. You will need to have your phone unlocked.
What does a locked phone mean?
When traveling to Israel, you will hear a lot of terms like ‘unlocking phone’ or ‘having a locked phone’. When you get a free or discount smartphone by signing up for a service contract, there is a higher possibility that it is network locked. It is especially true for Americans.
A locked phone means you cannot use that phone on anything other than its own network. This means, with a locked phone, you will be stuck with paying roaming charges from the minute you land in Israel until you arrive back home.
Since locked phones are common in the United States, it is something that you must keep in mind. You can ask your cell company to unlock prepaid phones after a year and contract phones after they have been paid off in full. Once you get your phone unlocked, you can simply rent or buy an Israel SIM card and use your phone as you want.
If you don’t want to waste your time in getting your phone unlocked, then getting a separate phone for Israel on rent is a good move.