Saturday, July 2, 2011

Roaming in Eilat

I have been traveling in Europe and Israel recently, and I decided to bring my Pantech Crux from Verizon, mostly to use as an alarm clock!  In Paris, Greece, Tel Aviv, and Jerusalem, I could not get any kind of signal.  I expect that this is because these places use GSM, which operates on a different frequency than CDMA in the States.  In addition, I was not aware of any relationship between Verizon and local international providers.

The Crux is a CDMA-only phone.  The designers did not think that the phone would be used outside of the US (since it basically does not work), thus they didn't provide an option to change the date and time manually!  The date/time is changed according to the US timezone in which coverage is being provided. For the first few weeks of my trip, I was setting the alarm 6 or 7 hours behind, because the phone was stuck on EDT.  When I arrived in Eilat, one of my alarms triggered and I didn't understand why... until I noticed that the time had changed and I was getting a roaming signal!  I dared not dial anyone for fear of a $1.99/min fee.

It turns out that Verizon does have CDMA towers in over 40 countries, Israel being one of them.  They claim that they provide service in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, but that did not happen in my experience.

Anyway, if you own a CDMA phone from Verizon, at least you can rest easy... Just get to a CDMA tower in the closest country to you, and reset your alarms!

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