You are planning to buy a cell phone from an online shopping site of another country but are not too sure if that phone will work with the mobile networks of your country. Or consider a slightly different scenario. You are travelling but how do you determine if your existing cellphone will be compatible with carriers of the foreign country?
Well, there are basically two factors that may help you determine if a mobile phone will work with cellular operators of another country or not. Here they are:
1. GSM and CDMA are the two most prevalent standards in the mobile world. As a first step, determine the technology (GSM or CDMA) used by the mobile carrier of the foreign country where you are planning to use your phone.
Wikipedia has dedicated sections - see pages for India, Europe and Asia Pacific countries - that list the standards used by various carriers of a particular country. If that carrier is on GSM, you would need a GSM-compliant mobile phone and the device should be unlocked meaning it should be able to accept SIM cards of other carriers.
2. The other important factor is the frequency band that carriers are using in the country where you are travelling to.
For instance, mobile networks in India use the 900 MHz and 1800 MHz frequency bands while GSM carriers in America operate on 850 MHz and 1900 MHz frequencies. Thus, if you are planning to buy a mobile phone from Amazon.com for use in India, the phone should support the 900 / 1800 MHz frequencies.
You can use the Phone Finder database at GSM Arena to determine the 2G and 3G frequency bands that are supported by your mobile phone. Then check the mobile operator’s website (or Wikipedia) to determine the frequency bands they are using for their 2G and 3G networks. If the frequencies match, your phone should be compatible with that mobile network.
To summarize, find the frequencies supported by your cellular operator and compare them with the frequencies listed in the technical specifications of your mobile phone. They should match for the phone to be compatible. A quad-band unlocked GSM phone will be compatible with most GSM networks worldwide.