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THE PHONE CALLED AT ME

More recently, the cost of a cell phone was measured in thousands of dollars. Today, only dozens …

Anton CHUYKIN

Everyone who has bought a mobile phone, imagines himself already a specialist in cellular communications, just as happens with the owners of cars, bicycles, computers and other now prestigious products. This article is addressed primarily to those who are so far just looking at a “pipe”. So hello, ask!

What are mobile phones?

Several cellular standards, such as CDMA, NMT, DAMPS, have spread around the world, but the most popular is GSM with frequency ranges of 900 and 1800 MHz. Having a GSM phone, you can count on communication in many regions of Russia, neighboring countries, throughout Europe, etc. If you are not very interested in the so-called roaming, you can look for advantageous offers of other standards common in your area and in those places where you have to be.

What is roaming?

Simply put, this is when your phone is working in a "foreign" network. Each operator scatters its network of base stations, forming a "cell." Suppose you bought a phone and connected to a network in Togliatti from a local operator. He concluded agreements with many other companies working in the same standard - in Moscow, Krasnodar, Paris … Paying for the services of the local (and his own too!) Network, you will call home from these cities without any problems, and they will call in the same way you, and without even dialing phone codes. The only “but”: the price of a conversation on a foreign network is several times higher than on its own. By the way, usually the outgoing (your) call is the most expensive, so it’s better to go on a trip and ask them to call you - save $ 0.5–1 per minute.

It turns out that with a mobile phone will you be in touch anywhere in the world?

No, it hasn’t come to this yet. Firstly, not all operators agreed among themselves on roaming. Secondly, almost all of the land is covered in “honeycombs” in developed Europe, while the maps of the “radio coverage” of Russian operators are still full of white spots. Towers with base stations pace from major cities along large highways, sometimes deviating towards densely populated areas. A typical layout of a cell phone reception area looks like the sun in a children's drawing: thinning, sometimes long, sometimes very short rays stretch from the metropolis.

So far not every regional center can boast of this. The most developed mobile communications in Moscow and the region, along the roads to neighboring provinces. The northern capital is slightly behind. A rather powerful network around Samara, operators in Yaroslavl and Omsk, Vladivostok and Ufa work … Cellular communications of the GSM standard cover about 60 regions and republics - not all territories, of course, but around many cities. Together with other standards, a rather vast area is obtained, besides it is constantly, albeit gradually expanding.

How much will the “mobile phone" cost?

The cost depends on the operator, the tariff you have chosen, the phone model. Here are the most approximate prices: phone, down payment, SIM card, connection (often free) - from $ 130. A nice exception is the 79-dollar contract … alas, without the possibility of roaming. Talking a few minutes a day, each month will have to lay out about 15-30 more conventional units. By the way, in the mobile market, prices are noticeably reduced, and it is possible that the data presented here will already be outdated by the time the number is released …

What are the tariffs?

It does not make sense to list everything; we will highlight some groups. For example, in many tariff plans, you can pay for each conversation per minute (10-40 cents per minute) and pay a monthly fee. You can choose the so-called traffic, having received 20, 40, 100 minutes of calls for a certain amount, or pay not with real money, but with plastic cards … however, you still buy them for cash. Most operators accepted an advance payment system (put a certain amount on the account - and talk calmly), for fear of lending to subscribers with unpaid minutes …

By the way, choosing a tariff, pay attention to the free threshold and countdown. As a rule, the first 5-20 seconds are not paid, so you can manage to interrupt the wrong connection. Time is counted in minutes, in seconds and … in conversations, regardless of their duration. Many prefer the minimum free threshold, but per second tariffication. Others manage to blur out the necessary information in 9 seconds and hang up … Someone is satisfied with the payment in minutes (by the way, seconds are always rounded up) and traffic at three quarters of an hour …

What is a federal number?

This is a ten-digit number, usually starting with the numbers 901 or 902. To call a subscriber with such a number, you need to go to “intercity” regardless of its location (it's free) and then dial ten digits. Between themselves, "feds" can call using a number without a prefix. Some inconvenience is bought at a lower cost. Tariffs with federal (in everyday life they are also called curves) numbers are always cheaper than with direct ones - there is no need to pay a public telephone network for renting "their" digital combinations.

By the way, in many countries only federal numbers are assigned to cell phones, separating them from city networks once and for all - and nothing, nobody complains about the curvature.

How to increase the range of a mobile phone?

Thirty-five kilometers is perhaps the maximum distance from the tower with the base station, on which the phone still somehow works. In this case, there should not be obstacles between the subscriber and the base; the weather has some influence. The widespread opinion about the large difference in the range of the various tube models is not confirmed by serious research. Sometimes one telephone behaves better, but it can save in front of another if the conditions are changed a little.

An external antenna will increase the range of the tube. There are several types of automobiles - on a magnetic base, interior, mortise. You should not expect a miracle from them - 100 kilometers from the tower, any antenna is useless. They will help at the border of the telephone reception area, but it is not far removed. If you measure in the "columns" of the scale that is placed on the handset display, then it is very roughly possible to evaluate the improvement in reception with an antenna of two to three columns. A stationary antenna can do more, which, say, install on the roof of the cottage.

By the way, while making contact with the hacienda, try to start with a regular car antenna - if you fail, you can always return it to the seller, all the more promising to buy a large one. Do not try to increase the wire - every extra centimeter, of course, worsens the reception. And do not forget that, in addition to the antenna itself, you also need an adapter to connect it to the phone.

Nands free - translate into Russian …

“Hands-free” - a set of a microphone (or several), a loudspeaker (earphone), an arm, adapters and wiring. The system allows you to “pick up the phone” and talk without touching the device, which, of course, significantly simplifies the use of a mobile phone in a car. Recall: in many countries it is forbidden to drive a machine while holding a cell phone in your hand, for which Hands free was invented. Knowing how distracting the telephone is from the road, you can only advocate for the distribution of these devices, although it’s much better (safer!) To gently moor to the side of the road when making a call.

In general, one can talk a lot and for a very long time on the topic “mobile - car” (which is at least a symbiosis of a cell phone and a security system; you could see one example at the Moscow Motor Show). But traffic … that is, the space allotted for the pages is already ending …

The most popular GSM phones (900 and 1800 MHz bands) from left to right: Nokia 3210 for $ 150; Motorola m3788 ($ 69); Ericsson A1018S ($ 75) and Siemens C25 ($ 109). All devices are supplied complete with chargers from a 220 V network. Prices are given at the beginning of August.

Hands Free Kits. Often the system has an output to an external antenna. Depending on the performance, the set costs from 100 to 200 dollars.

Antennas: on a magnetic sole and with a suction cup mounted on glass. The average price is 25-30 dollars. The antenna-telephone adapter will cost another $ 10-15.