This Guide is meant to be a basic guide to buying a cell phone on eBay for use on Cingular Wireless. If you want the short version, just read the first sentence of each section and you will have the must know information, if you are interested in the details, read on. The Guide addresses two main issues: 1) What Type of Phone do I need; and, 2) How do I Know that the Phone I Choose will be a good one. Finally, as a practical matter, you can’t go wrong purchasing a cell phone from an experience eBay seller, they reputations are hard earned and they stand behind the items they sell. Despite any press to the contrary, eBay is the safest place on the internet to purchase a cell phone if you follow these simple suggestions. If you find this guide helpful, please help others find it by clicking "Yes" below.
A. What Type of Cell Phone do I need.
Below are the issues you should be aware of when buying a Cell Phone for use on Cingular Wirelesss.
1) It Must Work on Both the 850 and 1900 Mghz Band to Newly Activate. In 11 cities in the US, Cingular requires that all New Activations be with a cell phone that has both the 850 and 1900 Mghz band. This does not apply if you have an active sim card. Nevertheless, as a result of the Cingular and AT&T merger, a new cell phone frequency was introduced in certain cities. Even though a phone without the 850 band will work, it will not have the benefit of the additional band which will give the phone better coverage and reception. All in all, it is better to have a phone with both the bands. You can check the bands the phones work on in the features section at the top of each eBay ad. As a note, T Mobile works only on the 1900 Mghz band.
2) It Must be Compatiable with Your Sim Card. Beginning in 2005, Cingular introduced a 64k sim card that provided more memory to store phone numbers and other information. Before that, phones primarily used 32k sim cards. The older phones have problems with the larger 64k sim cards and typically will not work at all or, will act eratically, if the larger sim cards are used. It is best to get a phone that is designed for the larger sim cards because the smaller 32k cards are no longer offered by Cingular. This information is not given by eBay and you should look for it in the description section of the eBay ad.
3) Sim Locks. Years ago wireless carriers started subsidizing (paying part of the cost) the cost of the cell phone for people who signed a contract with them. Becasue the paid for a portion of the phone, they did not want the phone to be used with another wireless carrier. So they subsidy locked the phone so that it would only work with one of their sim cards. Some phones are unlocked meaning that you can put a sim card from other GSM carriers and the phone will work. As a general rule phones are locked to one carrier, so either make sure the phone is unlocked or, if it is locked, make sure it is locked to Cingular.
4) AT&T Phones. Not all AT&T phones will take a Cingular Sim Card. If you have an AT&T card and insert it into a phone locked to AT&T, it will work on Cingular's Network, however, if the phone says AT&T, it will require an AT&T sim card unless it is unlocked.
5) Programming. Unlocking the sim allows you to make a call on the phone and use many of the phones features regardless of what carrier the phone is programmed to. However, if the phone is not programmed to Cingular (called flashed to Cingular) not all of the features will work. Most significantly, are the features related to the interent browser, the phone will not have the proper settings to hook up to Cingular web browser site. The phone will make calls, however, if you want all the functionality of the phone, it is best that it is programmed to Cingular.
All Cell Phones sold by JustCellular on eBay for Cingular Wireless are designed to be fully operational. Cell Phones for Cingular Wireless by JustCellular
B. Which Phone Should I Purchase.
Once you have selected the right type of phone, the next step is to select who to purchase it from and some pit falls to avoid. Here are some of the things that you should look for.
1. Assessing the Seller.
A) Pick an Experienced Cell Phone Seller. Cell Phones are one of those categories on eBay that is too complicated for the casual cell phone seller and I would suggest purchasing a cell phone from one of the many experienced seller’s of cell phones on eBay including that perennial eBay favorite JustCellular (it’s a free plug for my eBay site, but I did write the Guide). JustCellular Cell Phones for Cingular Wireless
B) Avoid Large Number of Mutually Withdrawn Feedbacks. As with all purchases, you should look at the seller’s feedback paying close attention to comments that the item was misrepresented. More importantly, look for a large number of “mutually withdrawn feedbacks”, which can indicate that a seller has a practice of leaving retaliatory negative feedback as way to coerce the unhappy buyer to withdraw their negative feedback. Some mutual withdrawals are to be expected, but if the number is high as a percentage of the total feedback (3% or more), that is a sure sign that the seller pushes the edge and you may get something you are not expecting. Not to overstate this, eBay keeps a tight reign on its sellers and frequently suspends sellers who repeatedly act unscrupulously, just these sellers will run closer to the edge than others.
C) Don’t Buy “As Is” Phones. This one is easy to understand, only buy from sellers that stand behind the phones they sell including a reasonable inspection period of at least a week or two.
2. Assessing the Particular Phone. Cell Phones condition can be broken down into three categories. 1) New, 2) Refurbished, and 3) Used. All three have their pros and cons, and here some things to consider about each.
A) New. If price is not an issue, this is the way to go.
B) Refurbished. Because of the high cost of cell phones, there are many companies (including JustCellular) that professionally refurbish their cell phones that turns a used phone into almost new. Not all refurbishing is the same, but, generally it includes changing the housing of the cell phone with a new one and doing a more thorough diagnostic of the mechanical condition of the phone. Cell phones are like mini computers that have software on them (they call it firmware). Like all software, the first version usually has some bugs, causing the phone to freeze, drop calls, have poor reception in certain conditions, etc. The manufacturer gets feedback from the users and makes revisions to the software. Thus, the software version that comes on the phone can effect its performance. Ideally, you want the latest version and you want it freshly loaded onto the phone. There are only a few sellers that have this ability and I wouldn’t consider it a Must, but, it is better to have than not.
C) Used. This is a category that can mean one thing to the seller and something else entirely to the buyer. Look to see if there is an actual picture of the phone or if it is an industry photo. If it is an industry photo, look for feedback that says that says the phone was not accurately described. If you don’t see any or just a few, the seller can be trusted, if there are a lot, it can be a hit or miss proposition. Used phones are cheaper and if price is of paramount concern, it may be the way to go. Just make sure you are buying from a reputable seller and you should be OK.
D) Most Phone Problems are Caused by old Batteries. Batteries become less effective over time causing them to hold a charge for a shorter period as well as loose power (amperage) that effects the phones ability to send a strong signal. New batteries can be expensive, but to the extent that you can buy a phone with a new one, it is generally a very good value.
I hope this guide was helpful to you. eBay is the best place to purchase replacement cell phones for Cingular Wireless. You just need to follow the outline above and you should get a phone that you are happy with at a price that can only be found on eBay.
Please check out JustCellular on eBay for a wide variety of dependable cell phones for Cingular Wireless as well as other carriers. If you found this guide helpful, please click on "Yes" below, and thanks for reading.