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I'm a Sprint customer, and I've been waiting with bated breath for the Motorola Q
for several months. So when I hear the first version of the Q would be CDMA, I was eager it would come to Sprint. But now I see Verizon has an exclusivity contract. Why is that, and is it common? Will we see a Sprint Q? And why did it take so long to come out?
A: In a carrier-dominated market such as the United States, exclusivity contracts are common, especially for higher-end devices such as the Moto Q. Cingular had an exclusive period selling the Motorola Razr, and Sprint was first to get the Palm Treo 650. For the carrier, exclusivity contracts are a boon because they'll be the only source of the device for a set period. If they're not a Verizon customer already, early adopters and cell phone fanatics eager to get the Motorola Q have to switch to Verizon. And you can bet many people will do so even if that means paying a contract-termination fee. On the manufacturer side, I'm not sure the relationship is as beneficial (remember, it's a carrier-dominated market), but they do get a committed vendor that will sell their product. In any case, I don't think Moto has to worry about the Q being a flop.
At the moment, I don't know for sure which other carrier will pick up the Moto Q. Motorola said it is developing a GSM/UMTS version, but we shouldn't see that until the end of the year. Unfortunately, I can't confirm if we'll see a Sprint Q, but I'd say there's a very good chance. And in regard to your last question, I agree readily that the Q took ages to come to market, but Motorola was spending much of the time continually refining different elements such as the keyboard. Secondly, carrier negotiations can take many weeks as well. And I wouldn't be surprised if there was another reason. The more months we spend speculating on a device such as the Moto Q and the more time we spend recycling the rumor mill, the more hype it gets.
I am one of the old dinosaurs still using a TDMA phone, and I need to find a replacement. I have a great rate with more minutes than I'd ever use in a month, which I'd lose if I changed over to a different service plan or carrier. What's the best TDMA cell phone, and who makes it?
A: I have to admit, Michael, I don't get many questions about TDMA phones anymore. They are becoming rare, especially as carriers move toward 3G services. While I understand the desire to keep a great cell phone plan, most carriers are phasing out their TDMA networks; before too long, you may not have a network left. But until that point, TDMA phones still are available, so you have some options if you don't want to make the switch just yet. The only problem is CNET hasn't reviewed TDMA phones for a couple years now, so I'm unable to recommend a particular handset as your best choice. We liked the Motorola V60t back in 2002, but I'd bet you'd be satisfied with just about any basic Nokia model. Nokia established a reputation back then for making solid, dependable TDMA phones. Q:
I have a friend who moved recently to Chile from Sweden. He brought a cell phone with him, but it doesn't seem to work with any SIM cards he gets there. Do you know what the best options are for him to get a cell phone in Chile?
Also, I understand that in order to call him from the United States, I should purchase an unlocked quad-band GSM phone. Is that right? I just don't know which brand phone would work best, and I don't understand what kind of SIM card I need.
Do you use your cell phone abroad? TalkBack to me below.
Your friend has a few choices, but it depends on how long he's going to be in Chile. If he's settled there for a long time, he can buy a phone through a Chilean carrier and sign up for service. I can't recommend a specific carrier or plan (I'm not too familiar with carrier options in Chile), but that would be a good option for not only calling you but also for calling within Chile. Alternatively, he (or you) can buy an unlocked phone--that is, one that's not tied to a specific carrier--and use it with a SIM card he buys in Chile. It can be either a prepaid SIM or one from a carrier. If you send him the phone, it should be a quad- (GSM 850/900/1800/1900) or triband (GSM 900/1800/1900) model.
If you want to call him, you can use almost any cell phone, as a quad-band GSM phone is not necessary for calling other countries from the United States. Your only requirement is that you have a phone with service and that you've set up international calling with your carrier. Calling outside the United States can be expensive, though, so make sure you've researched the costs thoroughly.