If you simply can’t imagine a moment, let alone a life without cellphones or your favorite electronic devices, try moving to Green Bank, West Virginia, USA, where no electronics of any kind are permitted. This isn’t down to any moral or overbearing nanny state issues, it’s because Green Bank happens to be home to the world’s largest steerable satellite, and it requires absolute radio silence in order to be able to do its job. This means no high-speed broadband, no cellphones, and no radio interference of any kind is permitted. Even TV is completely banned.
To enable the telescope to operate without disturbances and receive signals from millions of miles out in space, the town, with a population of just 149 residents, has completely outlawed the use of electronic transmitting devices and there’s even a WiFi cop whose sole job is to patrol the streets seeking out errant wireless signal abusers.
Green Bank West Viriginia Telescope
Only first responders for medical emergencies are allowed to use radios and the town has but one pay phone. Residents still have access to the internet, but it operates only at the exasperating pace that dial-up used to offer some 20 years ago.
Of course no electronics can make modern life difficult for the residents of the town, but some see it as a blessed relief from the round the clock intrusiveness of modern day messaging such as Tweets, Facebook postings, texts, badly taken Whatsapp selfies and all the other WiFi social media junk that high speed broadband has made possible and ubiquitous. For this reason, some see a move to Green Bank as a positive, life reaffirming step, which is why, starting from the mid-2000s, many 21st century escapees have begun flocking to Green Bank.
The peace and quiet of no WiFi noise and stress is deemed as beneficial, and some of the newer residents who have arrived in recent years are there because they claim to suffer from Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity (EHS), a disease or condition which is not yet recognized by the medical community, but has been featured in the hit TV show ‘Better Call Saul’ a prequel to the hugely popular AMC show ‘Breaking Bad’.
At least the residents of Green Bank West Virginia are making an informed choice about their no WiFi world. Unfortunately for some, the digital divide is a daily source of frustration. No place more so than in the Philippines, which has the unwanted honor of being the country with the worst internet connection in the world.
Officially the Philippines is the country with the slowest connection and poorest coverage of LTE in the world, a phone application that measures internet speed. According to the “State of the LTE” by OpenSignal Inc., the Philippines has the slowest LTE or Long Term Evolution connection of the 16 countries surveyed, with 5.3 Mbps (megabits per second), only next to the US with 6.5 Mpbs.
Conversely, Asia is also home to the country with the fastest broadband in the world. South Korea has the world’s best LTE coverage at 91%. Second place goes to Tele2 Sweden. LTE or Long Term Evolution is designed to be 10 times the speed of its 3G counterparts for mobile devices.
It looks like there may not be too much demand for our remote cellphone unlock services in Green Bank, Virginia, but in every other part of the world, achieving the best broadband speed at the best rate is a never ending quest. For this reason, UnlockBase offers the largest database of cellphone providers and cellphones on the net. With constant new additions and updates as new models emerge, even brand new phones can be unlocked quickly, reliably and cost efficiently usually in just a few minutes. So if you’re not residing in Green Bank, why not give us a try.
It wasn’t so long ago that all you needed to bring with you on a holiday was a simple cell phone, after all, a smart phone is designed to take pictures, to play music and videos, send messages, and slip easily into your pocket. How could you possibly need anything else? Yes, but standing still is not something smart phones do. Suddenly a whole industry has grown up around smartphones that means without the accessories your cellphone is somehow naked and incomplete. Here is an overview of some of the new must haves that have evolved seemingly in the blink of an eye.
Sim Free Phone
This is a definite ‘don’t leave home without it’ item if you want to save serious money on overseas surfing and call charges. If you have a good quality smartphone tied to a network provider UnlockBase can quickly unlock it for you and free your phone up so that when you travel you can simply slip a local SIM card into your phone and pay local rates instead of what can easily be extortionate network provider rates. Don’t leave it till it’s too late. Get your phone unlocked now!
DiCAPac Action Floating Selfie Stick with Water Proof Bluetooth Remote
It’s no longer enough to have just an ordinary selfie stick. For your exotic beach side holidays you need a floating selfie stick that enables you to capture the action in the pool or indeed the sea. The DiCAPac Action Floating Selfie Stick boasts a water proof Bluetooth remote, in addition to the selfie stick being 100% waterproof, as the name suggests, it floats so you will not lose it as you enjoy yourself in the pool.
Olixar ToughBeats Outdoor Wireless Bluetooth Speaker
These small Bluetooth speakers pack a punch and at the same time enable you to stream your music via Bluetooth no matter where in the world you happen to be. Designed to withstand the elements, you can also answer calls hands-free. The speakers are small enough to carry with you in a bag or rucksack or fit into a bag and share your vast library of cool sounds with your friends.
Local SIM cards
A much smarter way to bypass all roaming charges and let your smart phone live like a local in your chosen destination is to simply dust off your spare phone, fit it with a WorldSim or simply buy a new local sim card as soon as you arrive. Of course to do this you first need to make sure your phone is unlocked. Luckily, this has become incredibly easy through reliable online cellphone unlock companies such as UnlockBase. Most phones can be unlocked in a matter of minutes, leaving you free to insert the sim card of your choice.
Proximo Key Fob Bluetooth Tracker
Available for both iPhone and Galaxy S, Proximo ensures you never lose your phone. The Proximo Fob works with the free app on your phone, alerting you as soon as your phone or keys get too far away from each other.
Olloclip Clip-on Lenses
Companies such as Olloclip have opened up huge photography possibilities for travelers using a smart phone. Their range of clip on accessories include wide angle lenses, telephoto lenses and macro lenses to enable you to take professional looking pictures on your iPhone or Samsung Galaxy.
Noise cancelling headphones
Noise cancelling headphones can quickly carry you away to your own little cocoon of pleasurable sounds on your smartphone. The Bose QuietComfort headphones may not be the cheapest on the market, but the quality is undeniable.
Fiddling about with cables to charge your phone, and the very act of needing to constantly keep it charged while out and about can be a hassle. With Chargekey you have re-charging power on the go. Chargekey is the world’s most portable USB charging cable for iPhone & Android. It fits perfectly on your key chain and charges and syncs just like your regular cable charging device.
So the next time you are planning an overseas trip, get creative about what accessories you bring with you to enhance the fun of using your smartphone and how your handle your call charges. Or if it’s all too much hassle, just leave your phone at home and send a postcard!
Roaming charges – the sting that comes with any type of international travel! Let’s face it, none of us are likely to leave home without our phones while we are away – with no access to google maps to find our way back to the hotel, no Facebook and no way to call home to let people know we are safe. Luckily there are some sneaky tips that can make your roaming fees much more manageable…
Limit background data
Background data consists of things like app updates and emails. For apps that you don’t need you can go into your settings (usually in the menu that is called something like ‘wireless and networks’. Here you can choose which apps to limit. Better yet go to Play Store/Apple Store and turn off automatic updates (you can switch them to update when Wi-Fi is available).
Switch to Data Server mode
In Chrome you can switch to data server mode which restricts the amount of data that is used while browsing. In the Chrome settings it’s usually in the Advanced menu (Android) or the Bandwidth menu (IOS).
Switch your SIM
Your contract SIM might not give you such a good deal overseas, in which case a travel SIM is a good idea. Not only are they pay as you go so you can’t over spend, but you can receive calls for free in all the popular destinations (your regular provider will charge you for this). Plus you get access to significantly lower data rates and call charges worldwide.
Change your apps
There are lots of apps that do the same thing as some of the apps you might already have – although they don’t need a data connection. Switch Google Maps for maps.me for example, so you can navigate your way around with no data roaming charges. In addition disable any apps that have ads as this will eat through your data and cost you a fortune!
Get Onavo Extend
This uber cool app compresses data usage by as much as five times, meaning you get 5 times more data without the added costs. Better still – it’s free!
Automatically connect to Wi-Fi
You can change your settings to automatically connect to Wi-Fi when it’s available. This will potentially save you a lot of money. I say potentially as you should remember to keep safe with your online security – open networks are prone to hackers who could steal your private information (bank details, PayPal logins etc). Be careful and only connect to secured networks that you trust.
Take WiFi with you
With handy little portable WiFi gadgets, you can take WiFi with you. An unlocked WiFi hotspot will enable you to put any data SIM inside whether that be your contract SIM, worldwide data SIM or a local SIM. You can generally connect 10 – 15 devices, and then you can get online anywhere worldwide!
Don’t leave our data roaming on
I shouldn’t have to say it but just in case! Make sure you keep data switched off unless you need to update or get online.
As smart phones continue to get smarter and smarter, they naturally become more and more indispensable. These days, airlines, buses, and trains are making things even easier by offering ticketless travel. Just show up, present the ticket details on your phone and board the transport of your choice. Apart from that, the smart phone can schedule your trip, find you the best car rental, book your hotel…and of course, phone home. It’s a must have accessory on any trip.
So since the smart phone is so smart, it’s time you became equally wise, and not sleep walk into exorbitant overseas call charges from your service provider. These charges will drain you of your money quicker than a beach pickpocket on overtime.
For example, did you know that if you were to send a picture home via conventional text message, it could cost you up to $40.00 with some plans! That’s outrageous and criminally dumb, especially in this day and age where there are so many better and cheaper alternatives available.
In fairness, many of the leading carriers have relented and started to offer free roaming charges to several destinations. They didn’t do it because they wanted to. The truth is that every year since 2007, the maximum rate for calling or texting any European Economic Area (EEA) number while roaming within the borders of the zone while on a mobile phone in the EU, has been lowered. This covers all 28 EU member states plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway (the cap also applies to data). On July 1st this year another new cap will come into force, further reducing the cost of roaming in Europe.
This is following years of extremely high overseas charges where bills could easily run to thousands of dollars with the unaware cellphone owner having no idea as to the true cost of travelling overseas with a smart phone. But do not be deceived by some of these seemingly benevolent offers. Call charges overseas can still easily run to $3.00 or $4.00 a minute, and that doesn’t include data costs charged by the megabyte as you leisurely decide which restaurant to visit on your phone.
Also, forgetting to put your phone on roaming before you leave home is a big mistake. All of your home country voice mails, texts and other data are automatically “pushed” to your phone before you are out of the airport, or as soon as you have a signal. These can cost you a lot of money in a hurry.
But there is a better and much easier way. Here is a simple 5-step process for taking a smart phone with you when you travel overseas and how to save BIG money while doing so.
Step 1: Leave your contract smart phone home alone.
Just put it in a drawer and forget about it.
Step 2: Buy a SIM Free phone
Buy a SIM Free smart phone purely for travelling. Or if you have a second smart phone you don’t often use, get it unlocked by a reliable online unlock service such as UnlockBase. This will enable you to swap SIM cards easily as you travel and instantly enjoy local call rates in whichever country you visit. Friends and family will quickly get used to your new number while you are overseas.
Step 3: Buy a “World SIM” SIM card
As an alternative to swapping SIM cards wherever you go, consider a SIM card such as World SIM, which enables you to use your phone anywhere using just one number. This award-winning SIM card gives you free international roaming in 90+ countries, international phone calls for just a couple of cents a minute and competitive local call rates while you are at home.
Step 4: Investigate free Wi-Fi options
Whenever you travel, and wherever you are, try to avoid using too much data on your cell phone. The chances are you can get free WiFi in your hotel room, at an Internet cafe, or in a coffee shop. Check out JiWire WiFi Finder App for international Wi-Fi spots; searching by your destination makes it really easy to figure out which companies offer Wi-Fi services at your destination.
Step 5: Use Skype, WhatsApp, Twitter, and Facebook for free messaging
Once you are happily in your room with the free WiFi blazing, use these free apps on your SIM Free smartphone to send your holiday photos, instant catch ups, email messages and more. If you have to make calls, make them, it’s ok because you will be on local or World SIM rates. If you use a Lycamobile SIM card you can even make free calls provided you call another Lycamobile number.
So get smart and follow these 5 simple steps so you can have peace of mind while actually enjoying your vacation and not worrying about an eye watering cell phone bill from your carrier when you get home.
When preparing for a trip overseas, there’s so much to think about. Let’s take a quick look at a few mobile phone tips to follow both before and while traveling abroad.
Before You Go
Unlock your phone: A lot of people forget to have their phones unlocked so they can be used overseas, at a much cheaper rate. Don’t let this happen to you! You have two basic ways to get your phone unlocked; either through your network carrier or through a third-party service provider, like UnlockBase.
Unlocking your phone allows you to use it on a local carrier serving the country you are traveling to. Without local service, or in the least an international data plan, you will likely pay upward of $15/MB for data; this means sending a simple picture message will cost about $30.
Download: You’ll want to download these four apps on your phone before you head out:
- Currency App: This app simplifies knowing how much money you’re spending when dealing with different currencies. All you do is select the currency you’re making a purchase with and then select the conversion you want to take place.
- Transit App: If you’re using public transportation, Transit App is a must. It shows you the quickest way to get to your destination using a variety of transportation methods, including bike shares, commuter rails and more.
- Data Manager App: “This app helps you take control of your mobile data usage and save you money on your monthly phone bill.” Clint Johnston from TripHackr says.
Clint Johnston from TripHackr
- Offi Journey Planner: If you’re using public transportation, the Offi Journey Planner app is a must use. It shows you the quickest way to get to your destination using a variety of transportation methods, including bike shares, commuter rails and more.
Once You Arrive
Buy a SIM card: Go to a retailer — possibly even a gas station — that sells SIM cards and data plans for the carrier you want to switch to. Simply pop the SIM card in your phone and follow the activation process; you’ll then have a working cell phone with cheap international calling.
If you don’t want to take the route of switching out SIM cards, you can always take advantage of KnowRoaming, which requires the simple, one-time application of a sticker on your current SIM card that activates itself and provides cheap international voice, text and data roaming rates in over 200 countries. KnowRoaming’s prepaid system puts you in control of your usage and spending, which you can monitor in real-time using the KnowRoaming app.
Dave Dean from Too Many Adapters gave KnowRoaming a try and was more than satisfied.
Dave Dean from Too many adapters
WiFi: While on your trip you’ll want to avoid costly data usage charges by tapping into free WiFi connections as much as possible. SpeedSpot is an app that helps you identify the closest free Internet connections.
Translation: If you’re in need of a translation app, there’s no better one than OneTongue, which has the capability to support eight users simultaneously.
Stay connected with friends and family: When it comes to staying in contact with your loved ones back home, you can’t go wrong with Skype. Simply download the app to your smartphone and you’ll be able to make international calls for as cheap as 1 cent a minute. Google Hangouts is another excellent communication app, supporting both voice and video connections.
Extra Tips to Keep In Mind
- Keeping your phone in airplane mode ensures that you don’t unknowingly use any data,
and it’s also ideal to turn off any push notifications.
- When communicating with your friends and loved ones, do your best to do so with a free WiFi connection.