New World Development

CSL has mobile phone fix for business travel

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 09 November, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 09 November, 2004, 12:00am

Tech Talk recently had a question concerning the use of mobile phones in Hong Kong and South Korea.

The following is a response from a reader who solved the problem in an interesting way.

I have another solution to James Cooper's dilemma of roaming in South Korea. I am a CSL mobile user who also travels three to four times a year to Korea on business.

I used to forward my calls from my Hong Kong phone to a South Korean phone but, a few years ago, CSL came up with a solution: an inter-standard (GSM/CDMA) rental phone that removes the hassle of call forwarding.

By putting my CSL SIM card into that rental phone, I can be reached at my Hong Kong mobile number. I can also use the voice-mail functions and send SMS to my family and secretary, saving my roaming costs. But, most importantly, using my own SIM card enables me to access my phone book with no hassle.

Although I still have to rent the phone every time I leave for South Korea, CSL offers a phone pick-up and return service at its airport shop, which is quite convenient.

It is not a perfect one-phone solution, but I still consider it a better solution than call forwarding. I will never forget the nightmare of missing important calls simply because I made a mistake in the call forwarding procedure.

Alexander Tanner

Hong Kong

Mr Tanner seems to have hit on an excellent answer to this irritating problem.

One day - we cannot say when - it should be possible to have a 'world phone'. In the meantime, however, solutions like this will have to suffice.

What Mr Tanner said about his phone book reminds me of a few things the road warrior or frequent traveller may want to consider.

Many, if not most, of us carry at least three items, and possibly even five. We have a notebook computer, a mobile phone and a PDA. Some of us also have an iPod and a digital camera.

With all this electronic kit, you might think we are safe from any disasters but we certainly are not.

I strongly suggest taking special precautions with important data. You may not want to carry two notebook computers, but I would strongly advise burning a CD-Rom with any presentations you may have. You never know when a PC is going to crash. If you are truly paranoid about things, you will find a safe site to store the presentation as well, just in case something happens to the CD-Rom. Apple's iDisk or a Google Gmail account should be big enough.

Mr Tanner mentioned his phone book. What could be more important than your contact list when travelling? I would strongly encourage you to correlate the list with your phone, notebook computer and PDA. I would make copies of the list - in Vcard format - and put them on a USB memory stick and on an accessible network.

Silly though it may seem, I would print out the list and keep it safe. You never know when you could end up somewhere with no electricity or batteries. It never hurts to keep copies.

If there is anything sensitive, you may want to encrypt your data. That can be a real pain if you have never done it before, but it all depends on what you may have that is secretive and how serious you are about security.

I was once in a situation where my notebook refused to boot and my mobile phone was dead (and there was no converter for me to plug it in).

A printed list would have been useful.

Questions to Tech Talk will not be answered personally. E-mail Danyll Wills at