What's the catch? You'll need to bring your own unlocked GSM handset, the kind typically used for AT&T and T-Mobile service. And you need to purchase an O2 Wireless Universal SIM Card or an O2 Wireless airtime recharge card. The cost of individual plans differs, but, for instance, a $20 card can deliver 142 minutes of calling.
"The service is particularly well-addressed for international travelers," said Pete Grubb, VP of sales and marketing at Locus. He noted that international travelers in the United States could use the service with their unlocked GSM phones to call any of the 50 countries Locus supports, without any additional charge. The service, he added, is attractive also to United States users who already have an unlocked GSM phone and want to see it used rather than cluttering the environment.
Grubb also believes the service will appeal to parents seeking a low-cost backup phone for their children. The service is being offered at 1,150 Best Buy and Best Buy Mobile stores, Best Buy kiosks, and online at BestBuy.com. Consumers signing up for the service receive 50 free minutes.
While most GSM phones are "locked" for use with a specific cell phone service provider, it isn't too difficult to unlock them. Several Web sites explain how to unlock a GSM phone.