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Although you can find a mobile phone shop on every town these days there are still (mainly older) people who do not have one or are mystified as to what the advantages are and whether they should have one. So this page is NOT for the mobile phone junkies, who can't live without a phone glued to their ear (unwisely - the jury is STILL out on whether there may be long term harm).
AgeUK sell a phone which has simple buttons and will be set up for you with your main contact numbers. From £55 plus calls it is still more expensive than buying a basic phone from a shop with a PAYG (Pay as you go) arrangement but this may suit some people who find mobile phones confusing or difficult to use. See the video at http://www.ageuk.org.uk/products/mobility-and-independence-at-home/mobile-phones/ or telephone 0800 011 3342
April 2013 'Basic' phones are now very cheap This Brand New Dual SIM Quad-Band (GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900) Mobile Phone can be used with any GSM service provider (O2, Orange, T-Mobile, Vodafone, etc). It is not locked to any carrier.for instance this one is only £12 plus delivery and one can get a 'SIM' for the cost of a £10 top up.
It is therefore that 'Basic' now includes Dual-SIM support, Bluetooth wireless technology, Built-in rear-facing camera, Full-colour screen, Audio player (MP3), Video player (3GP), Voice recorder (WAV), Video recorder, 3GP), Image viewer (JPG), FM radio, Text messaging (SMS), Integrated hands-free speakerphone, Phonebook with up to 100 contacts, Vibrating alert, Call waiting, call diverting and call barring, Logging of dialled, received and missed calls. Speed dialling, Calendar, Alarm clock, World clock, Torch, Calculator, Supports microSD (TransFlash) memory card up to 64GB, English, Portuguese and Spanish display, Dual SIM Quad-Band World, Wired Headset, Travel Charger, User Guide !!
A new phone under development has a normal colour screen but on the other side is a low power paperwhite 'digital ink' screen which, like a Kindle, uses hardly any power at all.
The much faster 4G mobile network is up an running, providing you have a suitable phone and live in certain urban areas. There is only one provider (called EE, which is Orange) so far. The amount of data you can download each month is very limited (500mb) and would be used up within minutes, when you would be asked to pay if you want more.During 2013, other phone companies will bid for the system. Depending on how much they have to pay will affect what their fees will be. HM Government is hoping to make a killing from the auction, so things are not going to get much cheaper.
September 2012 was a big month with both the 4G compatible iPhone and iPad Mini arriving along with the launch of 4G itself (the 5 times faster mobile connection). Most phone providers are spitting blood because it initially only 'Everything Everywhere' (The phone system provided by T Mobile and Orange) will have the bandwidth available and others will have to wait.
Mobile Phone technology moves even faster than PC technology, spurred on by the the cash people, especially young people, are prepared to pay to be able to show off the latest. But you can get a Pay as you go (PAYG) phone for under a tenner that will keep you in touch. You just have to 'top up' the phone with a few pounds and there will be no charges unless you use it. So everyone should have one, even if it is just for emergencies. I am quite deaf but I can still call people. You should make the occasional call (say once every three months) or the phone provider may cut you off.
Phone Charges. I think most people know that it is a good idea not to download the film version of "War and Peace" to your phone while abroad. But did you realise that there are many charging anomalies when using a mobile phone to call 0844, 0845, 0870 and 0871 numbers? For instance a 20 minute call on an Orange mobile (pay monthly) account to 0845 or 0870 numbers could cost £8. (Twice as much as O2). Surprisingly on 'Pay as you go' it would be £2.40. But if you made the same call to an 0844 number it would be £2.46 on a monthly tariff and £8 on PAYG. There is absolutely no logic to the charges and you would not find out until you got your bill. Another peculiarity is that, in certain instances, calls to 0844 numbers vary according to what number follows the 0844 (on land line OR mobiles). Ofcom has said it plans to simplify the system but 'don't hold your breath'.
Looking at one of Nokia's latest Windows phones shows how things are going http://www.phones4u.co.uk/nokia/lumia-920/?&cid=ppcgoo&gclid=CKmzppityrMCFaTMtAodRGEAKw
http://www.simplemobilephone.org.uk/ Not everyone wants or needs the latest gizmos. Most older people would benefit from a phone that is loud enough and has big buttons. All the rest is a bonus.
Loud mobile phone http://www.connevans.co.uk/store/viewProduct.do?id=4638836&tr=4664686
Or a complete comparison site at http://www.mobiles4everyone.com/
But the latest phones have much more to offer (or cope with, depending on your point of view). SMART phones usually do not have keyboards and depend upon touch screen technology to access everything, including the keyboard. They may be linked to the ubiquitous transmitters you can see everywhere or they may also be linked to a satellite. Undoubtedly the most famous is Apple's iPhone but others, often using a different program (Google's Android), are catching up. Not only are they phones but they also have sufficient computing capability to use programs (applications - Apps) that can be downloaded. These applications are capable of achieving many things, from games to video to Satellite navigation and a million other things such as e-mail and browsing the net. App suppliers may provide these free (for the sake of fame?) or may charge, although charges are not high. For instance a free App called Myfriend Mobile www.aupix.com enables you to see and hear the other person as well has text them instantly. If you miss a call a message can be sent to your email address. The Dragon Dictation App (also free) recognises voice and transcribes it into text, although the process is two part - not instantaneous like Google Voice or Google translate.
The sort of thing which will be seen with the latest Google Android operating system (4.1) will be rapid transfer of photos and videos, the facility to control applications by voice, feedback on the state of traffic ahead or even when the next bus is due to arrive, even information about the area you are walking through (e.g. restaurants)
But as an example of a more basic phone, the Nokia C2-01, is an easy-to-use mobile phone with all the handy features youll need. Make phone calls, send texts, take pictures and film (video + sound) off-the-cuff moments; listen to MP3 songs, tune into FM radio and play games can be found for as little as £7 a month (T Mobile), 3G capability to access the web anywhere; send updates on Facebook and watch YouTube videos; colourful screen and useful shortcuts for easy navigation; unlocked handset to all networks. If you do not want a monthly contract then you have to pay more, initially, for a mobile that will do all those things and you can top it up when you want.
Warning : In a TV program, investigator, Dom, found that there is little protection for mobile phone users against having to pick up the expensive bills incurred by someone who steals their phone. The program investigated a £3000 bill incurred by someone who had their phone stolen while on holiday abroad, despite having notified provider, O2, immediately. Dom was led a merry dance by Carphone Warehouse, O2, Oftel and even the (apparently powerless) Phone Ombudsman before getting the bill cancelled. Dom suggested that people should password their SIM to prevent such use.
Each year more than 350,000 phones are stolen. Police can check if a mobile has been stolen by searching the Mobile Property Register (even on the beat). You can log the details of your phone (or other mobile device) with this register at www.immobilise.com and www.checkmend.com/uk Checkmend also sell various security devices such as labels to attach to phones or electronic tracers for bikes.
Smartphones This is the term used for the most capable mobile phones, such as the Apple iPhone, HTC Incredible5, Nokia E7 and various versions of Blackberry. They would normally include a quality camera for stills and video, some with lenses on the back and front. Most have a large touch screen and this can be used to type on an on-screen keyboard. It will also accept 'gestures', enabling you to flick through photographs or text with a wipe of the fingers or even zoom in or out by pinching or spreading the photo with two fingers. They will give access to your emails and the internet and can load additional "Apps" such as satellite navigation, whether you are in a car or walking. They may play music or even video of films, sport or newscasts. Bear in mind that a large screen and extensive use of the internet may drain the battery. Be prepared to pay quite a lot for a smartphone either on purchase or monthly contract.
What is a SIM ? SIM stands for Subscriber Identity Module. It is the little card that is in the back of your phone. It identifies you to the network and stores unique information about your account, including your phone number and payment method. You can get another SIM card (often free or very cheap) and keep your existing phone. Some phones are locked to a network and will need unlocking before you can use another SIM card in them. There is usually a charge.
For people who can't stand fiddling with buttons to create a text message one can get a phone with a QWERTY keyboard (this may be on screen) where the keys have the same layout as a computer keyboard. But the majority still have keys that contain several letters on each. So a key might show a, b and c. So if you are trying to send someone text and want to type C you have to tap that key three times. Kids get clever at this but it will not suit everyone.
Another very loud phone is the Doro. It is sold by RNID and Conevans (the deaf equipment people) but is a lot less expensive from Carphone Warehouse.
For other easy to use phones try AgeUK (0800 011 3342), Action of Hearing Loss (0808 808 0123 or the RNIB (0303 123 9999) Some will turn text that people send you into audible speech.
A Good comparison site can be found at http://www.moneysupermarket.com/mobile-phones/
Important to me is the announcement that mobile phones will eventually have High Definition (HD) Voice. Deaf people have great difficulty with the quality of telephones. HD voice increases the speech bandwidth from the standard 300 - 3400 Hz to 50 - 7000Hz. This will mean people with high or low frequency deficiencies will have a much better change of getting the message. Hopefully, the inventive mobile phone sector will influence advances on land lines and their receivers.
I do use a mobile occasionally. Mine cost £8.50 from Phones4U plus £10 prepaid call charges. I find it quite satisfactory; it worked in South Africa on holiday - no setting up required - and does things like take pictures. And it came with a swipe card, so instead of having to phone to top it up I can just go to a shop and pay them some cash. Easy!
Got an old mobile phone ? It might be worth something. See http://www.envirofone.com/
** n.b. The most common form of robbery on the streets today is for mobile phones. And yet you can block the use of a phone almost immediately by getting in touch with the service provider and telling them to block it. You will need to tell them the Serial Number. To get this you should press *#06# on the phone and make a note of it in a safe place
First, the Pros and Cons of a Mobile phone, Cell phone or Cellular phones
The main disadvantage of the mobile phone is that the cost of calls is higher than from a landline phone. The initial cost of the latest phones is very high unless you sign a contract and pay monthly, when the phone may be 'free'.
Secondly there are some areas where reception is poor or impossible - but see satellite below. If you are often in an area where reception can be bad (in a valley, out of line of sight of a transmitter), it is very important to choose the right company, as they each have their own transmitting aerials
They are one of the most frequently and easily stolen items. The thief can then rack up huge bills for you until you cancel the account. They can also get a great deal of information which may help them with scams such as Identity Fraud. You should register your phone or other valuable items (free) with with www.immobilise.com. That way the police can verify if the oik they just arrested has your phone. In fact they can do it by the roadside. It is also possible to check if a phone is listed as stolen (for a fee of £1.99) by going to www.checkmend.com. (Checkmend has a history of 40 billion serial numbered items worldwide - not just phones)
Although many have excellent volumes some cannot be used with a hearing aid in the 'T' (induction loop) position. However, most now have Bluetooth facility and this will work with some deaf aid equipment such as a neck loop.
You don't need a land line connection, so can telephone from anywhere where reception is reasonable. There are many motorists, solitary pedestrians (especially children) and even yachtsmen who have been very relieved to be able to get in touch when in difficulty. One friend suspected he was having a hear attack. He dialled 999 and was in hospital within an hour. It probably saved his life.
Once you have bought your phone, if you choose a Pay as You Go method of payment, there is no cost whatsoever unless you use the phone.
Your mobile phone has its own answerphone system, so if your phone is not on or you do not answer it, people can still leave messages.
You can send text messages to people which can be picked up later and are cheaper than voice calls. Useful if you are deaf. For use with hearing aid loops it is necessary to purchase a T-link device and some phones also require an adapter. See http://www.deafequipment.co.uk/store/viewCategory.do?id=299.
The phone has a screen and this can be used to display messages, notifying you that a text or sound call has been left.
A deaf person, like myself, can be contacted. Not only do the phones ring but they can also vibrate to tell you a call is coming through. The screen can also be used to display games.
Many phones allow you to take still and video pictures with sound and these can be sent to other mobile phones, transferred to a computer or uploaded to Youtube or other social networking sites.
Some phones have massive memories or a facility to add a memory card, allowing you to load professional videos as well as MP3 music and photographs. These can be downloaded from your computer via USB or wirelessly via 'Bluetooth"
There are often facilities to be updated on sporting events by text or even video excerpts.
Some phones are contactable via satellite and can therefore be used anywhere in the world and can also be used for satellite navigation whether in a car, on a boat or on foot. Many lives have been saved by mobile phones, not only by calls from injured people but also from people in danger, such as at sea, lost, stranded, trapped in a vehicle or half way down a cliff. Many children now have them for safety reasons.
Many telephones allow you to send and receive e-mails. The RIM Blackberry, the mobile phone you can use at the top of Mount Everest (and pick up your emails while you are there) has sealed a deal in China, which already has 600 million mobile phone users. In fact any mobile phone that can access the net can also receive email from web based sites such as Googlemail.
The mobile telephone network is now worldwide, so you can probably telephone someone on a land line or another mobile phone anywhere in the world, although may have to have a phone which is suitable for use in Europe, Japan or the USA. Some services are remarkably cheap, especially to more technologically developed countries.
All mobile phones have a Menu of facilities including a telephone book. These numbers may be called merely by pressing one number. A friend pressed the number of his contact by mistake and the contact answered. The friend said " But I thought you were off to Singapore !" The contact replied " Yes I am"
It will soon be able to track a mobile phone user almost anywhere in the world, providing the owner has given you permission. This will be useful for keeping track of kids (or forgetful old people!) and even to track where it is when it has been stolen. If it is a satellite based phone it will be within a few feet. If, not it will still be possible for a short distance (where there is a nearby transmitter)
Most phones will enable you to get emails or surf the web from almost anywhere via WAP.
WAP stands for Wireless Access Protocol, and is more commonly referred to as "Mobile Internet" Most of today's mobile phones, smartphones and PDAs come with a built in WAP browser. With it you can access dedicated WAP pages while on the move. For further information see HERE The cost of WAP depends on your phone company but also on the way you access the net. With standard dial-up, you pay by the minute to access WAP, and with GPRS, you pay for the amount of data you download.
Saving money on mobiles abroad
Danger, Voicemail abroad
If your voicemail's called when you're overseas, whether the phone's on or off, even if no message is left, most networks charge as if you'd received a call. This can be up to £1/min, plus retrieving the message is an overseas call too.
Mobiles are overseas once the phone is switched on and connects to an overseas network, it's then set as "abroad" until its next UK connection, even if it's switched off for the remaining time. If you're willing, ask your network to switch the voicemail off.
If voicemail isn't disabled, keep the phone on, as it's cheaper to answer than pay double to receive and then listen to a voicemail; provided you don't natter on once you're called.
Change message. Re-record your voicemail message, keeping it short and ask others to leave only necessary, short messages. Better still, suggest they text, as it's always free to receive texts abroad. And while texting back costs, a short message is relatively cheap.
Use mobiles like pagers. Get people to quickly call, or preferably text when they need to, and then call them back a cheaper way (remember you pay to receive). This certainly doesn't mean using a hotels' phone; that often charge a lot. Buy a phone card there, or if you've got a laptop or internet access, use an internet to phone' calling system like Skype.
Get a different SIM card or even a cheap phone while abroad.
Vodafone and Virgin customers. Are you using the correct overseas network?
At home the phone automatically connects to your network; overseas it scans and picks the strongest single. Yet Vodafone* and Virgin* customers pay more if they don't connect via their preferred' overseas partner. For example, in Australia a Vodafone customer calling home pays 79p/min via the preferred network, but 99p with all others. Thus check which is the cheapest foreign network before going, then pick it via the manual network selection option on your handset. Whatever your network, use a special overseas add-on package. See the difference ?
The main networks now offer special packages for those travelling overseas. Rather interestingly two of these, Vodafone's passport' option which is much cheaper for long calls home and O2's My Europe (not My Europe high roamer) are free on request', in other words if you don't ask, you don't get.... so ask! (full details) Plus upon request Orange gives first time European roamers £5 (£3 on PAYG) free credit to try. Other add-on packages cost a couple of quid a month, such as Vodafone's International Calls Saver, Orange's Frequent Traveller or T-Mobile's* International Option. They need to be set up more than three days before you go away, and importantly, always remember to cancel them when you return
Here is an example of a couple of sophisticated telephones which have many extra facilities. Phones like these may cost as much as £250 if you 'Pay as you Go. But may be 'free' if you agree to a monthly contract.
The Sony Ericsson K750i . The technical specifications of a high spec mobile pictured above:
4X Digital zoom Camera (2 megapixel), Imaging Autofocus, Viewfinder display, Video streaming, Video record, Video Clip, Sound recorder SMS long (Text Messaging) Predictive text input, Picture Phonebook, Picture effects Picture editor, Photo light, MMS Video Multimedia Messaging, Instant Messaging, Enhanced Messaging, Email, integrated Backlight display
Entertainment : Melody composer/MIDI, Music tones, Media Player, Games Download, FM radio.
Connectivity : USB support; ML Synchronisation; PC Memory Stick, Infrared port, GPRS (Global positioning) Bluetooth wireless technology.
Internet : WTLS WAP 2.0 WAP 1.2.1 OTA settings Modem
Voice Mail, Vibrating Alert, Sleep mode, SIM card lock, Volume Keys, Redial, Joystick Icon Desktop
Organiser : Timer, Tasks Stopwatch, Speaker phone, PIM Sync, Phone book, File manager, Contacts, Conference calls Clock, Call list, Calendar, Calculator, Business card exchange, Alarm clock, Memory Stick
Screen 176x220 pixel Color LCD 262,144 Sound Polyphonic Sound 40 voices, 34MB memory
Networks GSM 900 GSM 1900 GSM 1800.
Some phones have wide screens , some full keyboards and many now have touch screens with QWRTY keyboards on screen, so the days of having to master typing messages on keys with three or four letters and a number are gone.
Methods of Payment
The two main methods of payment are a Contract + call cost and Pay as You Go, where you just pay for each call. All telephone providers offer these, although pricing can be complex and variable. Charges will vary according to the time of day and whether the call is to another country.
Many companies will provide a sophisticated telephone free of charge providing you commit yourself to a contract. They may also offer a certain number of free calls or text messages before further charges are made.
A typical offer might be..if you sign up for an 18 month contract at £25 a month you might get 600 free texts and 150 minutes talk time a month. After that you would begin to pay at variable rates. There are many offers, usually to tempt you to sign up with them on a contract.
Usually it is cheaper to phone someone who is with the same provider e.g. Orange to Orange.
Pay as You Go people can 'top up' their telephone either by phone and a credit card or on the net or by using a registered card in a shop or Post Office. you may get more calls per pound by requesting a large top up.
Examples of telephone companies :
The main companies making mobile phones are Motorola, Samsung, Siemens, RIM(Blackberry) Panasonic, Sony Ericsson, Nokia, 3 LG
Providers of services (the people who own the transmitters and who arrange your payment system) include Orange, T-Mobile, O2, Vodaphone, Virgin, BT and Hutchison
Shops include www.phones4u.co.uk, www.Carphonewarehouse.com, www.dialaphone.co.uk or you can go to comparative sites such as www.audiovisual.kelkoo.co.uk and http://www.dooyoo.co.uk/mobile-phone/
Comparisons can be made between phones can be made by clicking on CHEAP MOBILE PHONE DEALS (a www.moneysupermarket site)
Independent links include www.reviewcentre.com and http://www.iegmp.org.uk/ (The Independent Expert Group on Mobile Phones)
Lost your Phone ? You should immediately report the loss to your provider so further calls can be stopped. It is easier if you have the equipment identity number which is displayed if you tap in Star, hash, 06, hash. (*#06#) You can also register your phone with http://www.immobilise.com
For the technically savvy :-
Killer combo - Netbooks and mobile phones Add the power of a netbook to the flexibility of a mobile phone and youve got a killer connected combo. Suddenly enjoying media and connecting with friends on the move becomes easier than ever. Here's how to tune up for a digital duet between phone and PC.
If there's one eternal rule of technology, it is that everything gets smaller and more powerful. Today's mobile phones pack the punch of yesterday's laptops, while modern netbook computers can crunch data and blast through graphics faster than desktops from a few years ago. Bring phone and netbook together, though, and you unleash a whole level of mobile creativity.
The first thing to get up and running is shared contacts, calendars and push email. This means that when you make a change to the address book or add an event on your netbook, it appears (almost) instantly on your mobile and vice versa. It's as easy as installing an app on your phone and you might not even need to do that, depending on what software you use.
Google's Calendar and Gmail services live in the cloud (an online sharing resource that users can access all over the world), meaning they can be accessed from any device with an internet connection. Getting these up and running on your netbook and almost any smartphone should be easy and free. If you use Microsoft Outlook, you might have to pay a few pounds for an app that does the same thing, while Apple's MobileMe service for iPhones (which has an annual fee) works seamlessly with all kinds of desktop software.
The days of fiddling with tiny memory cards and getting tangled up in USB cables are almost over. The quickest and easiest way to connect a mobile phone to a netbook is to go wireless. You'll probably know about Bluetooth from hands-free headsets but the same low power radio system can also be used to send small files to and from phones and computers just pair them up and youre ready to start sending.
Even more useful than Bluetooth is Wi-Fi. All netbooks and an increasing number of smartphones come with all the tech needed to join a wireless network at home or in a café. But what if youre on the road or at the beach? The very latest Android handsets (version 2.2 and above) allow you to share your phones 3G web connection with your laptop effectively turning it into a mobile hotspot.
Its not clear yet whether all the phone networks will allow this tethering, but its definitely the way things are headed. Tethering works fine for one netbook but it can really slow down if you try to use a phone connection with several devices at once.
So far, so geeky... but what about sharing music, films and photos? That's pretty simple too, although you will need to install special server software on your netbook and phone .
A media server like Twonky (free) turns your computer and phone into DLNA devices capable of swapping files with thousands of different gadgets, from TVs to cameras. It uses Wi-Fi to set-up a private local network where you can stream music, watch films and access photo galleries at the touch of a button.
Your phone and netbook can even communicate when they're miles or continents apart, as long as both are turned on. For this you'll need a remote access program such as Orb (prices vary). Orb basically opens a secure gateway to your computer from an Android handset or iPhone, using the internet. You can browse all your folders, read work documents and even watch movies although because its all running online, it doesnt work as fast Twonky's local sharing.
And there's one final thing to remember. If all this media juggling has exhausted your phone, try simply plugging it in to a USB port on the powered netbook to recharge. Its a match made in techno-heaven.
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