cell phone usage

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    Sorry, but unless something completely crazy has happened in the few years since I’ve been down, there aren’t any cell towers on the continent. If you happen to have a satellite phone, you may have better luck! I did bring my cell so I could use it en route & to look up numbers, but otherwise it’s just a paperweight.

    Once you get used to the idea, it’s actually quite peaceful not to be instantly reachable 24 hours a day. I miss having a valid excuse not to be!



        Yes it would feel good to not be “reachable” 24/7. You’ll have the internet. I call that “selective answering.” Keep in touch with civilization that way. Get a pair of walkie talkies so you can keep in touch with your party as you hike out to Castle Rock. I feel my cell phone is my ball and chain.


    Don’t forget that you can make phone calls from the phones at the base. Unless things have changed since 2006, the calls get routed through Denver. So, if you call home, you will be charged as if calling from Denver. You will need a DOMESTIC phone card. I bought a pocket-full at Sams Club and paid about a penny per minute to call my family and friends.


    I did notice that while the phone would not work in Christchurch, the text messaging did. I have no idea at this point what the cost was.
    The only thing I miss about the cell phone is the voice dial. Now I use an ATT 3 cent a minute calling card, but you have to dial 3 million numbers each time you want to make a call.
    The calls are cheap though. It’s the same as if calling in the states.


    Anyone know if there are cell phones that would work back on the mainland without much difficulty? I hope to do a little bit of traveling in NZ or possibly Sydney after my deployment. Having a phone handy would make contacting friends & family in the U.S. easier and making calls for hotel reservations as I drift through the cities on vacation. My current phone through Verizon is owned and paid for by my current employer and I will have to return it in a few weeks.


    3G. Check with your provider if your phone is set up for foreign countries, particularly NZ. You may have to swap out the SIM card. American phones mostly suck overseas.


    Many places in NZ will rent pre-paid cell phones, which you can top up via phone or with cards sold at gas stations & all major stores. I got a phone with my rental car when I was there last winter & had very good luck, both with cost & coverage. It helped so much with coordinating plans that it was well worth the money.

    Mobile services at the moment are NZ Telecom and Vodafone, but an Aussie company (TelstraClear) is starting as a 3rd provider later this year.

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