Going The Distance

Escaping Your Cell

New wireless phones offer global access.

If you travel with one cell phone for the United States and another for Europe and Asia, you know how cumbersome wireless communication can be.

Not for much longer. Some new products on the market promise to reduce the number of communication devices you have to lug around. The Bosch World 718 digital phone, for example, is compatible with virtually all GSM (a digital standard used in Europe and Asia) networks. Sold through several resellers in the United States, the new 8-ounce phone picks up domestic 1,900 MHz calls and calls from overseas transmitted at 900 MHz. The phone costs $199 to $350, and calls are charged at local cellular rates. A typical call from the United States to England would cost 80 cents to $1.10 per minute.

The catch? GSM isn't available everywhere. If you're not visiting one of the 2,300 U.S. and Canadian cities where it's available, you may still have to carry an analog phone or find a good, old-fashioned corded phone for emergencies.

Christopher Elliott is an Orlando, Fla., writer and independent producer who specializes in technology, travel and mobile computing. His work has appeared in numerous newspapers, magazines and online. You can find out more about him on his website or sign up for his free weekly newsletter.

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This article was originally published in the January 1999 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Going The Distance.

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