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GSM SIM Tutorial

Step by step GSM World Phones

International prepaid cell phone service may not be as easy as eating a hot dog (Soy hot dog for vegetarians) but this section helps to break it down into nice bite sized morsels, with lots of photos. This step by step tutorial will demonstrate what you will need in order to step off the plane and start talking like a local.To take advantage of the Telestial prepaid solutions you will need the following:

GSM, SIM unlocked, (850)/900/1800/1900 compatible International cell phone
Airtime Voucher (May not be required)
Related Links
 Step One

You will need an international GSM cell phone. There are 3 criteria necessary for your international cellphone to function properly during your international travels.

  • GSM compatibility
  • Functionality on 900/1800/1900 frequencies
  • SIM unlocked

Your GSM world cell phone is capable of providing service in over 170 countries. But it is a paperweight without a sim card -- so keeping reading!

 Step Two

You will need a SIM card to activate your phone service at your next international destination. The SIM card itself is about the size of a standard credit card and will obviously NOT fit into any GSM cell phone. (Long ago, SIM cards did fit into GSM mobile phones when cellphones were basically pyramid sized bricks!)

You need to break out the thumbnail sized SIM chip along the perforated edge. This chip is the piece that will actually be inserted into your international cell phone. Your SIM card will determine your phone number and is the brains of your phone.

Your GSM phone has a slot, usually located in the back of the phone behind where the battery is inserted. If you cannot locate the SIM slot, refer to your phone manual.

Insert the SIM card into your international cell phone with the gold contacts of the SIM card facing the metal contacts of your international cellular phone. Refer to the photos in Step One above for a visual demonstration.

 Step Three

You will need to purchase recharge cards. Recharge cards may also be referred to locally as top up cards or refill cards. They may be purchased in country at local Tabac shops, convenience stores and authorized dealers of their respective carriers.

Pictured to the left is a reload card for the South Africa MTN SIM card. Typical of most recharge cards, you will scratch off the gray protective strip to reveal the code. Once the code has been revealed, simply follow the instructions to add the airtime on the card to your SIM card. You are usually directed to dial a number on your GSM cellphone and prompted to enter in a reload code.

Part Two: More information about Phones, SIM Cards and Airtime Vouchers