SIMs

Can I just put my SIM into my new Samsung Galaxy S9?

Samsung Galaxy S9

Episode 1545

Patrick from California

Patrick bought a Samsung Galaxy S9 at Best Buy for Black Friday. Can he just drop his SIM card in or does he have to get it activated? Leo says he should just be able to drop his existing SIM into it and get started. Leo says that the FCC doesn't like carrier locks if the carrier isn't subsidizing the phone. So all he'll have to do is call the carrier and ask them to unlock it, if he needs to. But if he's a Verizon customer, it shouldn't be locked at all, and since he's not switching carriers, it should work if it uses the same SIM.

How can I bring my phone on an international vacation?

iPhone

Episode 1427

Kirk from Crestline, CA

Kirk is going on vacation to the south pacific and needs an international plan for his phone. Leo says that T-Mobile started a free 2G-3G international data and texting plan and it has put pressure on other carriers to do the same. Leo always brings T-Mobile with him when he travels. Leo also recommends Google Fi because it uses various carriers. AT&T has a daily pass option, which is $10 a day. Verizon was the hardest to use overseas, but they've recently started the day pass like AT&T. Kirk should check with his carrier and see what they offer.

What's the best plan for traveling internationally with my mobile phone?

Plane

Episode 1398

Joe from Sherman Oaks, CA

Joe is traveling to Asia and he wants to know if it's better to get an international data roaming plan or get a local SIM wherever he goes. He uses Verizon. Leo says that Verizon is the most international unfriendly mobile carrier. Sprint, AT&T, and T-Mobile have their own reasonable plans (especially T-Mobile that offers a free slow internet). Verizon has a $10 a day plan, though, which isn't bad, but it adds up. It's going to be the easiest way since he would have to have a different SIM for every country he visits, and his phone number will change with each new SIM card.

Can I use the Internet to make phone calls while out of the country?

Episode 1285

Cathy from Santa Ana, CA

Cathy is going to Italy and wonders if Viber will be good for getting free phone calls. Leo says that Viber is like Skype in that it uses the internet to make a phone call. She can also use Facebook Messenger. The issue is that whoever she calls will have to use the same program on the other end, unless she spends money to allow it to make calls to any phone. She'll want to be sure she doesn't use her carrier's data while being out of the country. It'll cost her thousands. She can use Wi-Fi, though.

How can I use my phone while traveling internationally?

Episode 1212

Tim from San Diego, CA

Tim is traveling and wants to know how he can save money on data charges. Leo advises going to prepaidwithdata.wikia.com and he'll find a list of countries and cellphone providers in those countries that offer SIMS, how much they are, and where he can get them. But he'll also want to know if his phone supports the traffic where he's going. Verizon was CDMA up until lately, when they transitioned to LTE world phone models. That means they have SIM cards.

How can I use my iPhone in Great Britain?

Apple iPhone 6

Episode 1168

Marie from Redlands, CA

Marie is traveling to Great Britain and is worried about data charges on her iPhone 6. Leo says that Marie can go into her phone's settings and turn off Data Roaming. That's where the real data costs will rear it's ugly head. Then she can just depend on local Wi-Fi. She can also download the maps and keep them in the phone so she won't have to worry about getting lost with no data.

Will the SIM from an AT&T phone work in a Verizon phone?

Episode 1146

Dianne from Williamsburg, PA

Dianne's 81 year old mother's cell phone was deactivated and she needs a new phone. Dianne wants to know if she could use the AT&T SIM in her old phone with an "Obama Phone" from Verizon on the Lifeline Assistance program. Leo doesn't think that would work. If not much time had passed, there's a chance that she could have her old number ported over to Verizon. But Dianne says it's been about a month since the old phone was cancelled, so that would be unlikely.

Is the iPhone the best choice for a first smartphone?

Apple iPhone 6 Plus

Episode 1142

Dan from Anaheim, CA

Dan is ready for his first smartphone and is looking at the iPhone 6 Plus. Leo says that while he doesn't carry an iPhone, it's a great phone, especially for beginners. It's a good choice accessibility-wise as well. The large screen in the 6 Plus makes it really easy to see. But Leo warns that it may seem like clown shoes going from the 4" iPhone 5 screen.

Why won't my Samsung Galaxy S3 read SD cards anymore?

SanDisk SD Card

Episode 1106

Ron from Boise, ID

Ron has a Samsung Galaxy S3 and it suddenly stopped reading SD cards. Ron cleaned the contacts on the cards, and now it can't be read. Leo says it could be the dialectic grease that he applied to it. Since the SD cards will be read by his computer, he can at least get the data off of them. Then he can either just use the internal storage on the phone, or he could look into a new phone. Leo says that phones age even faster than computers. It's as if they age 30 years every 1 year. That Galaxy S3 is now almost 4 years old, so it would make sense that it's starting to fail.