I’ve taken a bit of a financial risk, but I think it may pan out to be quite interesting. Having read that the iphone can be unlocked and quite aptly used within China (or really anywhere, for that matter), I have taken the plunge and bought one on ebay. Now this will seem like some to be a bit of risky business, but I think that the payoff will be worth it, if it should work. If not, I’ll just throw the darn thing back into auction.
At present, I am using an ipod touch. While most people use their ipod with the primary function of a music device, I use mine almost exclusively for the Pleco Chinese app. If you haven’t checked it out already, I strongly suggest taking a look. It has aided in my study of the language to no end, and is free in its basic form. Because I already have the program on an apple device, I’d like go straight to the iphone as this will allow me to sell my ipod to cover some of the cost. Beyond this, I won’t be carrying the Ipod and a phone at the same time while traveling. One less device to worry about smashing or having stolen.
The networks within China all fall under the category of GSM. The iphone is a quad band device, meaning that it is capable of working on any of the four major frequencies that are used by phone companies around the world. Some countries do not fall into these four bands (I’ve heard that Japan is tricky), but the majority do. The beauty with this is that once you have succesfully unlocked the iphone, you are able to use a SIM card from any carry to talk. Whereas almost all of the carriers in the United States require their customers to be a part of a plan, providers in most other countries do not have such a system. Customers instead purchase a SIM card with a phone number and minutes, and add more as need be.