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Reader Questions on Our 2004 Wireless Service Guide

Monday, November 8, 2004;

Finally, a week without a once-a-year wireless phone service guide, a once-in-four-years election or a first-in-86- years World Series: What am I ever going to do with all that free time?

If you must know, catch up on sleep. And get to work on the next big technology issue, our guide to home computing. It's scheduled to run Nov. 21, which means I should start editing and writing by, oh, Thursday ... well, so much for catching up on sleep.

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E-letter Archive

In this week's newsletter, I'll talk about reader responses to the cell-phone guide we ran on Oct. 31 and share some further thoughts about MP3 players that double as pocket-sized photo albums (i.e. the new iPod Photo).

The wireless guide drew all the questions I thought it might, and a few more that I hadn't thought of -- I'm already thinking about ways to cover those concerns better in next year's edition.

* Can't you give me some more help on prepaid service?

All right, I give in. Next year, we'll have a lot more information on this category of service, in which you pay in advance for a set allotment of minutes and don't have to pay again until you use those minutes up or a set amount of time (usually three months) has elapsed.

I'll probably make room for this info by ignoring local- only plans, which no longer offer any price advantage. I'm not even sure why the carriers offer them.

* Can I really use my GSM phone around the world?

As long as it supports the right frequency bands. See this Web site for more info about which ones are useful where.

* What's this I hear about phones being locked to prevent you from using them with other carriers?

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