How to use GPS without signal

How to use GPS without signal

While some entrepreneurs and technology fans in metropolises rave about self-propelled cars, deliveries by air drones and in smart factories, mobile phone service coverage is much worse in many parts of rural areas. Of course, this is extremely annoying for consumers. But why is there such poor mobile phone connectivity in some regions and is it possible to take benefit from some important features without GPS reception?

Why is poor or even no mobile phone signal often annoying for users?

Mobile phone users often complain that there is poor reception, if any, in some regions. Especially when there is hardly a mobile phone signal available in the home or office, annoyances are inevitable: Writing WhatsApp messages is hardly possible, let alone successfully making a phone call. But a missing mobile phone signal can also cause a lot of trouble while on the road, because the important e-mails cannot be opened and the user cannot call the emergency service in the event of a breakdown. But all these are not reasons enough for a discount; the agreed costs in the mobile phone contract must be paid in full.

Why is there often poor mobile phone reception, especially in the desert regions of the USA?

The American mobile phone network is just as complex as in Germany, because there is no network provider that covers the entire American territory at all times. Accordingly, there are different mobile phone providers in the USA, such as T-Mobile USA or AT&T, each of which of course wants to get the biggest slice of the pie. As a result, densely populated cities are supplied first, while rural desert regions such as Arizona and sparsely populated areas have to wait.

Why is this particularly unfavorable for GPS applications such as some navigation apps and Google Maps?

Today it is inconceivable for many people to find the right way without Google Maps. The smartphone has long since established itself as an alternative to the classic navigation device, because it is particularly handy, acts quickly and can be updated in no time at all. But if no Internet connection is available, the app cannot update itself so that it can no longer send or receive any live information about the location. In principle, GPS apps also work without the Internet, because the location of the smartphone is calculated with the help of satellites. Accordingly, the user can locate himself when GPS is activated, but is not shown where he is because the necessary map material is not available offline. The navigation app uses an active Internet connection, it cannot recalculate routes or the like if there are no signals available.

How can it make sense in this case to work with offline applications by downloading Google Maps to your smartphone in advance?

If you want to avoid unpleasant surprises on the road, you can save the maps with all the associated information for offline use on your smartphone in Maps. Although the offline version does not contain as much information as its online counterpart, it works reliably even if there is insufficient reception. Google Maps itself is pre-installed on all Android devices and is thus very widespread. The detailed map not only knows the right way, it also shows interesting locations such as petrol stations, restaurants and tourist attractions in the area. The user is then armed against all eventualities.

How accurately does downloading Google map content for offline use work?

To download Google Maps content for offline use, the user selects “Offline Maps” from the app menu. The desired map section can then be searched for on the world map and downloaded. In this area you can now navigate without signal reception. The app has a large size because it is fed with millions of data every day. This ensures up-to-date navigation even without the Internet.

Conclusion

To navigate offline with Google Maps, a modern smartphone is an important prerequisite. The device must not only have sufficient GPS reception, but also sufficient memory. Since the maps have to be downloaded before they can be used offline and can be several hundred megabytes or even gigabytes in size, there must be enough memory available. In addition, the download should be carried out exclusively via an active WLAN connection, because in this way no expensive data volume is consumed.

eSIM: What’s that and what advantages?

eSIM: What’s that and what are its advantages?

Mini, micro or nano? When switching mobile phones, users always faced the question of which SIM card size is required for the new smartphone. However, this is nearly out of the question for some customers of different mobile network operators, as the so-called eSIM has been increasingly used for some years now. In today’s blog article, we explain exactly what it is and what it means for the customer.

Nano, micro, and mini: Overview of different SIM card formats

The so-called mini SIM was basically the entry into the world of mobile communication. It was first used in 1996 and measures 2.5 x 1.5 cm. It is also known as a classic or standard SIM. The micro SIM is the slightly smaller brother, measuring only 1.5 x 1.2 cm. The so-called nano SIM is currently the most recent and at the same time the smallest SIM card, as it is only 12.3 x 8.8 mm in size. Since its introduction in 2012, no other format has been launched on the market. Fortunately, it is made relatively easy for the customer these days, as most manufacturers offer the cards as a triple SIM. These are all three card formats in one frame, which can be independently separated by the customer as required.

The new “eSIM” revolutionizes the mobile phone world

The eSIM, on the other hand, is a permanently installed chip in the smartphone that could completely replace classic SIM cards of any kind. The “e” stands for “embedded”. The eSIM stores the respective user data as a profile, so that one profile can be used on several of the fixed chips. This means that other smart devices can also network with each other via the same mobile phone contract. Smartwatches, smart bicycle gadgets or smart car accessories, for example, which are dependent on GPS, already benefit from this fact. All three major German network operators now offer eSIM in Germany, so that users will no longer have to rely on the compatibility of SIM cards with mobile devices in the future. In the future, Deutsche Telekom plans to introduce a further integrated SIM card – the so-called nuSIM, which is specifically designed for IoT devices. But it will probably take a few months or years until then.

What are the advantages of the eSIM?

Thanks to the eSIM, not only are there no longer problems with the different formats, but the complicated exchange of cards is a thing of the past. The user receives a QR code from his respective network operator, for example, which can be used to create his own user profile on the SIM card. It stores the data for the mobile phone provider. From a technical point of view, the integrated chip allows several profiles from different network operators. In addition, the new technology also simplifies the setup of a profile on several mobile devices, which is also referred to as multi SIM. When traveling abroad, the customer does not have to buy various SIM cards for the USA, Germany or another destination country, but can quickly and easily create a new profile on the device. Prepaid SIM cards instead of long-term mobile phone contracts could result in significantly lower costs as well. An eSIM also offers advantages for the manufacturers of smartphones, because not only is there more space inside the devices for other more important components, but the card slot also eliminates a very error-prone component in the mobile phone

eSIM: How does the activation work and which devices are currently equipped?

Unfortunately, there are still relatively few devices that use the integrated chip. On the German market, it is available for the Google Pixel 2, Pixel 2X, Pixel 3 and the Pixel 3 XL. Also, the Apple iPhone models XS, XR, XS Max and iPad Pro are already equipped with it. The activation takes place either via a QR code provided by the operator, an app or by manually entering the data.

Conclusion

Although the eSIM has been available on the German market for some time, it is still comparatively rarely used today. Nevertheless, experts predict that they will completely replace the current formats in the future. The eSIM is expected to quickly replace the current formats, especially if the Internet of Things (IoT) continues to spread so strongly and more and more private individuals network their own homes.

Try the eSIM with us!

sim-usa.mobi is the first distributor in France and one of the first in the world to offer eSIM in partnership with Flexiroam a global virtual carrier.
If you have a compatible device, enjoy our prepaid plans at preferred rates for USA and Canada as well as our Global Plan that works in more than 160 countries.

How to Call Internationally

00336, +336, +33(0)6, 011336… We get a little lost in all these types of numbers. In this article you will understand how it works, the differences between each country and the easiest but most correct way to register your contacts and call them around the world.

 

How is a number dialed? There are two ways to write a number: national and international format. Some countries only have the international format like Denmark, China, or Japan.

 

The national format

The first figure or figures vary from one country to another. In France, Belgium and Germany it is the zero followed by 9 digits, of which the next three digits can represent a region or the type of number called (free, surcharged…). In the United States we dial directly the ten digits that represents the number or only the seven digits if you call locally.

 

The international format

The first two or three digits correspond to the country code which is unique, for example 33 for France metropolitan or 352 for Luxembourg. The pre-composition as discovered in the national format disappears. That is, zero is not to be dialed.
In France the international format to a mobile is written for example: 33612345678.

However it is still missing one or more numbers or even a symbol to dial in international format.

It is at this level that many people dial incorrectly. For the composition to work worldwide the + sign is to be used just in front. The phone and the local operator will transparently replace this symbol with the correct numbers.
Indeed, each country has its own international numbering. When you are in France the 00 is to be placed in front of the number but this is no longer the case if you are in the United States where 011 is to be used.
So if you dial for example 00336… from the United States it will not work. You should dial 011336…

 

Conclusion

For this reason, the + sign must be entered when you save your contacts in your phone. Fortunately the technology of our smartphones will dial the right number depending on the country visited and even if you save the number in the wrong format. However, this is not always the case depending on the telephone model.

Hence our advice to always register your numbers according to the recommendation of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU): +336…

My Uber & WhatsApp apps

When inserting a new sim card with a new number into our device, we often wonder how we are going to associate it with our applications like Uber and WhatsApp. Well, for these two apps, this article answers it all…

 

With Uber

it is important to be reachable by the driver. The driver calls you using the phone number that’s registered with your Uber account. So, when you insert a new sim card and therefore get a new number, it is important to update this number.

It’s a very easy step: just open the app and tap Menu, tap Settings, tap your profile and then your current number. You can change the number here.

For doing this, you’ll have to wait to be in United States as you will need to verify your number by receiving a text that contains the verification code.

 

With WhatsApp

you have nothing to do. The first time you use the application, it sends you a text that contain a code to verify your number. If you have already done this with your original number, you’ll not need to repeat the process. Your contacts will always be able to reach you and find you on your older number.

WhatsApp may detect your new number and prompts you if you want to update it, simply answer “No”.

 

These tips are not limited to just these two apps. You can identify other apps that also require your phone number.

However, if you use our “Call Forward” option, you will not even have to make these changes as you will remain reachable on your usual number.

How many GB for my GPS app?

How many gigabytes do I need to use GPS on my phone? This is a question that comes up often and contrary to what one might think, GPS usage does not require much data.

Mobile applications, including GPS, are now optimized to minimize data consumption. The objective here is to provide the best possible user experience, especially in the areas with poor 3G or 4G signal strength. Thus, if you want to use GPS for a long road trip of 2-3 weeks, you will need less than 200MB of data and 1000MB is approximately equal to 1GB.

It’s even better if you could pre-load the map or the area you are set to explore. This will not just save data but also avoid network-related issues which are more common in United States than in Europe.
With Google Maps and TomTom GO Mobile, you can directly preload the maps onto your phone but with Waze app, maps can’t be saved offline. You will need to indicate the route before leaving. Once the routing is done, Waze will store all details of this map in cache and you will be able to use this information without mobile coverage.

Ultimately, what will consume most data during your trip are things like downloading or sending photos & even more, videos. Live videos that allow some social apps will consume several megabytes as well. Consider these usages to better estimate your data requirement. Also, if you intend to share your Smartphone’s internet connection with others (if your data plan allows), do take into account the number of users. This is also called hotspot / modem mode.

Understanding the Domestic Data Roaming

Providing mobile network coverage in a country that is as far stretched as United States is not easy. It’s so difficult that American operators are working under an agreement whereby they share antennas to ensure that every operator is able to provide connectivity to its customers, whether or not it has its own antennas in the region. This is called “Domestic Data Roaming”.

It’s an option that major operators like T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon and Sprint propose to their customers. It allows their customers under contract (Americans) to access another operator’s network if and when their network is not giving enough coverage in the area where they are situated. Operators using this service pay a hefty bill to the service providing operator but generally it’s free for domestic and international customers (with foreign SIMs). The service is very limited though. It allows only a few tens to hundreds of Mega-bytes (MB) data in 3G and sometimes international calls are prohibited.

For a tourist, it’s very inconvenient. The phone does not lose network but the services are very slow.

This option is not available with virtual operators like Lyca Mobile, Simple Mobile or H2O that have access only to the personal antennas of those operators with which they have signed an agreement. This explains why sometimes users do not receive signal in some of the most remote parts of United States. Read the post About coverage in Page, Arizona.

Since September 2018 Domestic Data Roaming feature is included in our T-Mobile Plan.

About coverage in Page, Arizona

Many of you are visiting the city of Page in Arizona. It’s famous for its stunning landscapes, canyons and Lake Powell which is a large artificial lake located between Utah and Arizona.

Unfortunately, many of you also face the problem of insufficient network coverage in this region, especially in the small rural areas of Page. We have done our little research and we now know why this happens.

The remote area of Page has sufficient T-Mobile coverage (including Lyca Mobile & Simple Mobile coverage as well since these virtuals carriers use T-Mobile network) but same can’t be said for H2O. H2O is an AT&T Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) that connects with AT&T antennas only.

Till this date, AT&T does not have its own antennas in this city. To provide service in this region, the operator partners with other service providers to share their antennas. This is part of a domestic data roaming plan and this option is available only to customers under AT&T contracts, which means U.S. citizens as well as users with SIMs that do not belong to U.S. Of course, connectivity is very limited in the Domestic Data Roaming plan and one gets a few megabytes (MB) only.

Since H2O does not have access to this Domestic Data Roaming arrangement, your phone will display ‘no service’ until it is connected again to an AT&T antenna.

This article explains the problem faced by people in the city of Page in Arizona. This problem is of course temporary but until AT&T installs its own antennas in the region, things will continue the way they are.

Since September 2018 we are now offering coverage in those remote areas with our T-Mobile Plan.