This week I tried to sort out my telecoms.

Firstly, I tried to switch my mobile to use a local provider, rather than international roaming. It was relatively simple to get a pre-paid SIM card, although the instructions with it are only in Estonian and Russian, so I don’t know how to do things like check my balance etc. The bigger problem, however, was that my phone is locked. It seems that when you get a phone in the UK it’s locked to the network you’re on, and when you change the SIM, you need to provide an unlock code. There are lots of sites that will sell you codes for £5, but I managed to find one that provides them for free. Most of these sites warn that you only get 3 or 5 attempts before the phone locks up permanently and you need to reset it with cable, but I tried at least 5 different wrong codes before I even worked out that the whole unlock code thing was (the info with the SIM listed at least 4 PIN-like numbers each of which I tried, and the girl in the phone shop claimed that the Nokia default was 12345). Maybe the try count resets each time you get back up and running with the original SIM in?

For my more general telephony, however, being in Estonia I think it’s compulsory to use Skype! Again, getting set up with Skype itself was trivial, as was getting SkypeOut credit, but actually getting hardware was less simple. I don’t particularly want to have to physically be at my laptop to make calls, so I was going to get a cordless skype phone, like the Linksys CIT200.

But then I discovered the Belkin Skype WiFi phone, which lets you use any wifi you can find to make calls. This seems perfect for someone like Tallinn which has ridiculously high free wifi coverage. The biggest problem seems to be the short battery life. Plus, of course, I still haven’t found where to actually buy one.

So, in the meantime, I had to just go buy a traditional headset to actually be able to make calls until I work out what handset I’m going to get!

But I should now be properly contactable. Mail me if you want my new mobile number or skype id. I’m also considering getting a UK SkypeIn number as well so that if anyone does need to ring me they won’t have to pay international rates. I can’t get an NI area code yet though, so it would still have to be a national call for most people. If you’d like me to get one, please let me know!


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