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Phones on the Road
Posted: 01-May-2001 [Source: The Standard.com]

[Americans slow to get in sync with the advantages of international roaming.]

by Morris Dye -- "A director of marketing and strategy for IBM who lives in Fairfield County, Connecticut, Prial takes frequent overseas trips to destinations outside the range of the code-division multiple access and time-division multiple access systems that dominate the North American digital wireless market. As a result, Prial used two wireless phones - one registered with a U.S. provider for CDMA access and one registered with a European service provider for use on the global system for mobile communication, or GSM, networks common throughout much of Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East. "Using two different phone numbers was a hassle, though, so with GSM gaining a significant foothold in North America, Prial and his 15-year-old son devised a simple test to determine whether GSM coverage had developed sufficiently for him to kick his two-phone habit for good. "I had my old phone, and I had this one," he said later, holding up a new GSM handset. "I had my son in the back seat, and we drove all around town, and he was yelling 'Three bars! One bar! Two bars!'" If enough "bars" of signal strength showed up on the GSM phone's display, Prial reasoned, he could sign up with a U.S.-based GSM service to use one phone at home and abroad.

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