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TRAVEL PHONE: A new development

My Blackberry Storm from Verizon, the bane of my digital existence for the last two years, may get a wholly unexpected resurrection in the most unlikely of places.

Okay, so I bit the bullet and reluctantly bought a new Blackberry Bold, re-upping with Verizon in the process for another two years. After some research, I decided not to jump on Verizon’s initial offering of the iPhone.

I did that two years ago with the Blackberry Storm (pictured here)…and no more need be said about that.

You IBIT regulars out there know all about the Storm’s spectacular FAIL in Paris, and no more need be said about that, either.

But then, a funny thing happened on my way to drop the Storm into the nearest landfill.

For months, I’ve been on the hunt for a travel phone, a relatively cheap unlocked second phone that allows me to change SIM cards at will and effectively have a local cell phone wherever I am in the world.

There are a lot of worthy candidates out there, too, especially from Nokia and Samsung.

Meanwhile, in perusing the Web for info on my new Blackberry Bold, I come across sites offering to unlock my old Verizon Storm. I found posts on Blackberry forums from folks who said they’d used their Storms successfully around the world after getting them unlocked.

Even more important to me, I heard from some of you IBIT friends out there, telling me about the success you’ve had with the Storm once you got it unlocked.

That led me to call up the specifications on the Storm. Lo and behold! When you set it in 2G mode, it runs on GSM, the operating cell phone system used across most of the planet.

Not only that, but it’s a quad-band phone, using all four GSM frequencies. Which means, once it’s unlocked, this phone should be able to work anywhere.

Verizon is renowned for taking a dim view of people who unlock Veriuzon phones without their blessing, but since I already have a new Bold that will stay locked to their service, I doubt they’ll care much what I do with my old phone.

Could it be that this touch-screen terror device could actually redeem itself once it’s digitally detached from Verizon? Could it be that the travel phone I’ve been looking for all this time is already on my desk?

I’m about to find out — and believe me, I never thought I’d say this:

When I land in West Africa a week from now, the Blackberry Storm will be with me. Unlocked.

I’ll grab a SIM card somewhere in Senegal or in the Gambia and see what happens. If it works, I’ll be one very happy traveler.

And if it doesn’t? I’m sure the Gambia also has landfills.

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