A telecom exec told me the other day that he had given up his beloved
BlackBerry from Verizon. The reason? His wife couldn't reach him while
he was traveling in many European and Asian countries that did not use
Verizon Wireless' CDMA technology. He switched to AT&T, which uses
the popular GSM technology.
Turns out he hadn't heard that the world had turned: Verizon has started selling the BlackBerry 8830 Global Edition, which offers calling, e-mail and Internet service anywhere in the mobile world. Now your data, e-mail, calendar and so on, can follow you on a CDMA-based PDA.
I tried one out in Eastern Europe and Ireland this summer. The service worked just like back home in Chicago, even in remote parts of Lithuania and Latvia.
We called my sister-in-law in the Chicago burbs from a restaurant in downtown Daugavpils, Latvia. Driving in southern rural Lithuania, we woke up a cousin in Phoenix to ask him a trivia question.
I received an e-mail from a friend in London who wondered if I would be able to read her missive so I rang her up.
The phone flawlessly switched between OMNITEL’s GSM network in Lithuania, Telekom Baltija's CDMA network in Latvia and Vodafone’s GSM network in Ireland.
The World Edition goes for $300 after a $100 rebate for customers who sign two-year agreements. Several pricing plans are available for data and voice.
For more information, go to: http://estore.vzwshop.com/blackberry
On the downside, the phone doesn't have a still or video camera, and the small keys can be frustrating for the uninitiated. If you're a Verizon and BlackBerry fan and love to travel, the World Edition might be just the ticket for you.