Cell Phone Saga

By Megan Hulshizer
This post is part of a series called Fulbright in Hamburg
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I thought I had it all figured out – I called my cell phone provider to make sure I had an unlocked phone that would work with German SIM cards. Boom. Set. Don’t need to get it unlocked, don’t need to buy a new phone – I’ll be able to buy a pay-as-you-go SIM, pop it in, and start snapchatting my adventures in Germany.

Of course, it never works smoothly when moving to a new country.

I went with my sister-in-law Caitlin (who drove me around while adorably pregnant, so kudos to her patience) to Aldi to get a cheap AldiTalk SIM card. It’s unlimited talk/text with 1.5 GB of internet for less that 20 Euros a month. Amazing! We get home, I register the card, pop it in my phone and… LOCKED. Great. I call cell phone provider – they say whoever told me my phone was unlocked is misinformed and they don’t know if it can be done, but they’ll put in a request and get back to me in 3-5 business days.

Since I was headed to Cologne to meet up with some Fulbright teachers before orientation begins on September 12, I wanted a working phone and internet, since free wifi is not as easily found as it was in South Korea. So, off Caitlin and I go to MediaMarkt to get a cheap Android phone that will serve me here. It’s been a hot minute since I’ve had an Android phone so I didn’t know just how bad they can be. It was awful. It couldn’t even connect to 4G. I couldn’t play Pokemon Go. How can I live like this?! So I decide I’ll take it back, hope they can give me a refund, and I’ll get a hot spot. Luckily, MediaMarkt took it back no problem, and I got a hot spot. It does 4G! It’s small and could easily hang in my purse! Yay!

Caitlin and I return home after I’ve dragged her all around her surrounding villages on phone quests and I open the hot spot and start setting it up. Then, on my computer, I receive an email. From my service provider. Saying they were able to unlock my phone and it will now work with any SIM card I please.

Well, I guess I have a hotspot now for any visitors to connect to wifi.

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