Using Skype to call US from Italy on Droid Bionic

Discussion in 'Motorola Droid Bionic' started by jrieth, Jun 7, 2012.

  1. jrieth
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    jrieth New Member

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    I installed skype on the Bionic, I believe if I put the phone in airplane mode and turn off roaming/data I can access a wi-fi network at the hotel and using skype call landlines/mobile phones back in teh US from Italy, I have pre-paid 10 bucks, any other tips/tricks? I also have Goodlink on my phone for company stuff and will have that turned off. I just do not want any unexpected Verizon charges...thanks in advance
  2. josh1980
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    josh1980 New Member

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    If you turn on airplane mode you cannot turn on wifi. Its called airplane mode because the phone will not broadcast any radio frequencies.
  3. jhom
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    jhom Member

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    Not true. You can use WiFi in Airplane mode. Try it and you will see it work.
  4. josh1980
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    josh1980 New Member

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    Holy smokes. You're right. Motorola can get in serious do-do. The FCC mandates all phones sold in the USA to have an airplane mode or equivalent that prevents all outgoing rf. motorola can get in big trouble for that.
  5. saintlikesniper
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    saintlikesniper New Member

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    Not entirety sure of that one. My nexus can access Wi-Fi with airplane mode on so unless Motorola and Samsung aren't following FCC rules it really shouldn't be a big deal
  6. jhom
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    jhom Member

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    If it is illegal, then you need to tell Verizon. I called them before my daughter went over to Italy recently and was told to use airplane mode with wifi to access the internet.
  7. josh1980
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    josh1980 New Member

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    So I've done a little research. As it turns out the FCC/FAA regs have changed over the years, and are currently 'broken'. The original intent of the "Airplane Mode" was to disable the 800Mhz band. In the 1990s this was the common frequency for cell phones. Later around 2000 it was revised to include the new frequencies cell phones used in the USA. Then it was changed yet again in 2009.

    This is where things get interesting(and more on the technicalities). The FAA does not have the authority to require, test, or certify "Airplane Mode" on cellular phones because they do not have the authority to regulate cell phones(nevermind that they tried in the 1990s). Instead the FCC decided to try to maintain some discipline for "Airplane Mode" and added bluetooth, but did NOT add Wifi. Wifi was to be added, but was excluded at the last minute because some airplanes were experimenting with wifi on airplanes while in flight. As it currently stands, turning on "Airplane Mode" does not meet the requirements or approval for the FAA when they make that announcement before takeoff that all electronic devices must be off. The FAA does not want any devices broadcasting a signal, whether deliberate or not. Some airliners even go so far as to mention that Airplane Mode is not sufficient and the device must be off.

    The reason Airplane mode isn't good enough is that cell phones do create some EM interference that may cause interference with the electronic devices in the cockpit. I will tell you that from personal experience with other sensitive equipment that can be used in Airplanes that these devices CAN and DO cause interference when used within about 25 feet. Of course, the devices did not meet any signal shielding or other requirements the FAA has, so this argument may be void. I do know that a cell phone 25 feet away from some of the meters I used would cause the meter to go from pegged low to pegged high thanks to a cell phone trying to contact a cell tower.

    Allegedly some people have been kicked off their planes for trying to use their phone on Airplane Mode after the Captain asked that all devices be turned off. I would assume that these individuals didn't turn their phone off when asked personally by a flight attendant because they HAD to play their game of Temple Run or something.

    So yeah.. it's a bit more than what I thought...
  8. bobbyp
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    bobbyp New Member

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    Most planes these days have Wifi access. Just need to be above 10,000 feet.
  9. josh1980
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    josh1980 New Member

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    Really? I flew twice last year(June and Sept) and neither one did for me. Guess I just had bad luck. It really wouldn't matter much to me since I sleep through the flights.
  10. TisMyDroid
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    TisMyDroid New Member

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    Times are definitely changing and now most flights offer wifi... Usually for a small fee. My son just flew to venice for a semester and I figured it all out before he left and posted it on the thread noted below. So far how we set him up has worked perfectly and I don't have to worry about any surprise charges. Go to this thread for more info...

    http://www.droidforums.net/forum/droid-general-discussions/209635-going-mexico-city-help.html

    Sent from my DROID RAZR Maxx using Droid Forums
  11. tech_head
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    tech_head Member

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    If WiFi and cell phones could bring down a plane then terrorist would all load on a plan and turn it on at the right moment.

    I'm a EE and I think it's a bunch of trash.
  12. gsDroid
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    gsDroid New Member

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    You can turn on wifi, bluetooth, and data while in Airplane Mode. Going into Airplane Mode turns off all the radios, but you can manually turn back on all but the cell phone radio. I have used wifi and bluetooth in Airplane Mode.
  13. josh1980
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    josh1980 New Member

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    Normally, I'd agree with you. In this case we might have to agree to disagree. While I think the chances are low that a cell phone could bring down an airplane, it is "possible". Honestly, if there was reason for concern I'd rather they be off than a plane crash because someone just had to use their phone.

    I know that nuclear power plants have tripped offline inadvertently because people took pictures of equipment that was sensitive to the current traveling through the flash bulb! It's pretty hard to believe, but there are recorded situations where electronic devices we use daily cause interference that interferes with nearby equipment.

    I take the stance that it's better to be safe than sorry. If you can prove there's no consequences, then great. If not, then be safe. Especially when lives are involved.

    Also, using your phone from high altitudes at 600 mph can expose your phone to alot more towers than you typically can "see" at ground level. Since towers typically have a range of just a few miles, you can enter and exit a tower's range in 20-30 seconds. The cell phone system was not designed with the large number of transfers in mind, and can cause problems.
  14. TisMyDroid
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    TisMyDroid New Member

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    Were your questions answered? Putting your phone in airplane mode will disable data and phone service which will prevent you from getting charged for any international phone, text or data. While in airplane mode you can enable wifi and gps (neither will trigger any charges). I believe the bionic has "real" gps" where it works independently without needing data or wifi, but if it only has agps then it won't work without wifi or data help. And yes, over wifi you can make calls to anyone and if they have skype, it is a free call.

    I posted the following on another thread. It may give you some additional ideas that could make your trip communication free.

    1) put your phone in airplane mode which will prevent Verizon data or Verizon phone service. While in airplane mode you can turn on Wi-Fi and GPS when needed.
    2) Pre-load maps of the country you will be traveling. You will be able to use GPS on your pre-loaded maps. You will not be able to use google maps.
    3) Excellent navigation pre-loaded maps apps are Navfree, Mobile Reference Free Travel Guide (excellent maps and excellent additional information for the country you are visiting.... super app), and Trip Advisor.
    4) Install Text+ which you can use to make free phone calls and free texts when on Wi-Fi to anyone who has Text+. Make sure anyone you want to call and text also has it and exchange your text+ phone numbers.
    5) Google translator (great but you need Wi-Fi), Tourist Language Learn & Speak (has useful phrases and most common things you might need to say pre-loaded so can use it without WiFi), currency calculators are helpful.

    Sent from my DROID RAZR Maxx using Droid Forums
  15. jrieth
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    jrieth New Member

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    text +

    Thank you for the tips!
  16. TisMyDroid
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    TisMyDroid New Member

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    Glad this helps. I went through needing the same information for my son's trip to Venice. He has been there since Wednesday and all has worked well. The Mobile reference free travel guide is excellent and he is able to use his gps and their maps to get around as well as use it as a great reference without needing wifi.

    When he has access to wifi, he updates us all through facebook and when he needs something (like money), he can text me or call me with text+.

    With the text+, I keep my text+ app online while he keeps his offline, unless he is on wifi (saves on his battery)... that way, if he calls my text+ phone number, I will receive his call. But if I were to try to call him, he would not know unless he was actually on wifi at that time and had the app set to receive incoming calls. With texting, If I need to text him, even if he has text+ offline and he is not on wifi,he still gets that text as soon as he starts the app on wifi. So far that app has worked great.

    And of course, you can also use skype.

    Enjoy your trip. It will be the experience of your lifetime!

    Sent from my DROID RAZR Maxx using Droid Forums
  17. WVOz1970
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    WVOz1970 New Member

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    Little late to chime in... but I will say that I use Skype over wi-fi all the time when I'm in Canada. I have to go there for work every so often and rather than pay the $1/minute phone charge, I put my phone in airplane mode then turn back on wi-fi, and use my skype subscription. As long as my hotel has good wi-fi, I've never had a problem calling home or having them call me. (I set up a dial-in number on Skype too). My phone does not kick in to any data usage as long as the radio is off, so I've never been hit with large data fees either. I would probably spend an average of $100-$150 in out of country usage, so the annual US-Canada subscription to skype along with a dial-in number were worth it.

    Also, per the airplane comment, I am on a plane at least once a month, usually more. Use wi-fi on board all the time if it's offered. Gogoinflight.com I believe is their website. I put my phone in airplane mode before turning it off when the door closes. Once we hit 10k, I turn on my phone and plug in my headphones (the most important part is tunes LOL!). Crank on some music, and then when wifi is available on the plane, turn on my wifi and connect to the plane's service. Delta is my most common carrier... and they advertise having the most wi-fi equipped planes out there right now. I have also used it on American, and I'm sure the other carriers are offering it... just don't fly them hardly ever.
  18. TisMyDroid
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    TisMyDroid New Member

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    Thanks, never too late to chime in. It's travel-vacay season so the more ideas and info, the better!

    Sent from my DROID RAZR Maxx using Droid Forums
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