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I visited Saudi Arabia for three weeks back in 2007. At that time, I purchased a low-end Nokia phone, and presumably a local SIM card (can't remember the details about the plan).

In about a week, I'll be back there for about a week.

Is it worth taking my old phone -- will it still work if I get a local plan? Or must I (again) buy one when I land?

(I don't have a power converter and the adapter is two-prong, so I can't plug it in and check if it will even turn on.)

NB I don't know the model of the phone either.

It looks like this phone:

enter image description here

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    No reason a GSM phone from 2007 should not work anymore, I am still using a low-end Nokia from that time everywhere I go. Many GSM network operators also offer services with newer technologies but I am not aware of any that switched off GSM coverage entirely (don't know about Saudi Arabia specifically, though). If the phone is not SIM-locked, getting a new plan should be no problem. If it was SIM-locked, the easiest might be to get a prepaid plan from the same company. – Relaxed Feb 8 '14 at 12:59
  • @Annoyed considering that I can't turn it on, how would I know if it's SIM-locked or not? – ashes999 Feb 8 '14 at 13:03
  • I don't know, that's part of the reason this was only a comment but at least you don't need to be concerned about the age of the phone. – Relaxed Feb 8 '14 at 13:52
  • Around here you can find old phones like that in any thrift store for a few dollars. You might be able to find one with a charger that fits yours - then at least you could turn it on. – Nate Eldredge Feb 8 '14 at 16:00
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    On the other hand, what's the down side? Losing some space in your luggage? You can always try it once you are there and throw it away/buy another one if you want. – Relaxed Feb 8 '14 at 17:10
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The phone should still work as long as it didn't die in the meantime - but you can try that out at home.

The question is more whether the sim card still works. I assume it won't. In most countries sim cards expire if you don't use them. Sometimes after 3 months, sometimes after 3 years, so after 7 years it very likely did. So even if the phone still works, you will probably need a new sim card.

However, you should not need to buy a new phone. Just use your regular phone while you are there. Power is not an issue. You can buy a local charger on very little money.

As for the plan, you have two options:

  • Use roaming - quite expensive, but you don't need to do anything (other than maybe check with your provider from home that roaming is enabled). Just turn on your phone once you are there and you will be reachable on the same number like at home. You can make calls and even use internet. Especially internet can lead to very high bills though.
  • Get a local sim card. This will be very cheap, but a bit more hassle. In most countries, you can just walk into any mobile phone shop and ask for a local sim card. Sometimes they need your passport to register it, but you'll get the card immediately, can plug it into your phone and enjoy very cheap local rates. You can usually also book a cheap data plan to use internet. It is however very important to make sure that your phone will work with a foreign sim card. In some countries, mobile phone providers sell their phones "locked", so that they only work with their own sim card. In that case you won't be able to use a foreign sim card straight away. It is possible to remove this lock, but that varies from country to country. In some places that's even illegal.

protected by Mark Mayo Feb 12 '14 at 2:44

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