Can inactive PacBell/Cingular wireless phone be used to call 911?

jrichrds

Platinum Member
Oct 9, 1999
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I have an old PacBell Nokia 5190 GSM phone that I'd like to throw into my mom's car as an emergency phone for calling 911. I know you can do that with inactive AT&T phones, but does it work for these PacBell phones that use SIM cards? It seems that I get the "no service" anywhere I go with this PacBell phone.
 

NutBucket

Lifer
Aug 30, 2000
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I think there needs to be SIM card in the phone for it to work at all. Otherwise I don't think so.
 

PsychoAndy

Lifer
Dec 31, 2000
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Not sure if you can do it w/out a sim card.

With a sim card and non activated, probably. I talked to several wireless companies and they say 911 is available wether or not you are paying your bills.

-PAB
 

jrichrds

Platinum Member
Oct 9, 1999
2,533
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How about an old SIM card that's no longer in use?
I haven't taken the SIM card out since buying the phone. And the phone's been out of service for 2 years.

I guess that's a good thing about phones w/o SIM cards. :)
 

N8Magic

Lifer
Dec 12, 2000
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The international GSM standard requires that emergency service calls are put through with or without a SIM card in the phone. :)
 

ElFenix

Elite Member
Super Moderator
Mar 20, 2000
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i think almost any phone, service or not, can call 911
 

PsychoAndy

Lifer
Dec 31, 2000
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Originally posted by: jrichrds
How about an old SIM card that's no longer in use?
I haven't taken the SIM card out since buying the phone. And the phone's been out of service for 2 years.

I guess that's a good thing about phones w/o SIM cards. :)
Only one way to find out.....

I'm sure if you explain that you just got a cell and you're testing the speed dial out or something, they'll understand.

-PAB
 

PsychoAndy

Lifer
Dec 31, 2000
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Originally posted by: ElFenix
i think almost any phone, service or not, can call 911
I think theres a clause somewhere in the wireless licensing that mandates that. I'm not 100% sure though.

-PAB
 

N8Magic

Lifer
Dec 12, 2000
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Originally posted by: PsychoAndy
Originally posted by: jrichrds
How about an old SIM card that's no longer in use?
I haven't taken the SIM card out since buying the phone. And the phone's been out of service for 2 years.

I guess that's a good thing about phones w/o SIM cards. :)
Only one way to find out.....

I'm sure if you explain that you just got a cell and you're testing the speed dial out or something, they'll understand.

-PAB
Bad idea.

You'll get an earful for doing that.
 

PsychoAndy

Lifer
Dec 31, 2000
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Originally posted by: N8Magic
Originally posted by: PsychoAndy
Originally posted by: jrichrds
How about an old SIM card that's no longer in use?
I haven't taken the SIM card out since buying the phone. And the phone's been out of service for 2 years.

I guess that's a good thing about phones w/o SIM cards. :)
Only one way to find out.....

I'm sure if you explain that you just got a cell and you're testing the speed dial out or something, they'll understand.

-PAB
Bad idea.

You'll get an earful for doing that.
So you're going until a bona fide emergency arises to find out?

I'd rather take the kick in the ass now and be sure.

But then again, my parents are asian, so I'm used to it.

-PAB
 

N8Magic

Lifer
Dec 12, 2000
11,624
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Originally posted by: PsychoAndy
Originally posted by: N8Magic
Originally posted by: PsychoAndy
Only one way to find out.....

I'm sure if you explain that you just got a cell and you're testing the speed dial out or something, they'll understand.

-PAB
Bad idea.

You'll get an earful for doing that.
So you're going until a bona fide emergency arises to find out?

I'd rather take the kick in the ass now and be sure.

But then again, my parents are asian, so I'm used to it.

-PAB
No, I wouldn't wait for an emergency, i'd call any wireless providers customer service line and ask them.

Let's say the 911 call center is very busy, and only one line is available. Would you like to be the person in a life threatening situation who gets a busy signal because someone wanted to see if their phone worked? I know its an unlikely situation, but it could happen. Phone companies and emergency services are VERY serious about misuse of 911 services.

Trust me on this one, I work for the phone company. :D
 

PsychoAndy

Lifer
Dec 31, 2000
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Originally posted by: N8Magic
Originally posted by: PsychoAndy
Originally posted by: N8Magic
Originally posted by: PsychoAndy
Only one way to find out.....

I'm sure if you explain that you just got a cell and you're testing the speed dial out or something, they'll understand.

-PAB
Bad idea.

You'll get an earful for doing that.
So you're going until a bona fide emergency arises to find out?

I'd rather take the kick in the ass now and be sure.

But then again, my parents are asian, so I'm used to it.

-PAB
No, I wouldn't wait for an emergency, i'd call any wireless providers customer service line and ask them.

Let's say the 911 call center is very busy, and only one line is available. Would you like to be the person in a life threatening situation who gets a busy signal because someone wanted to see if their phone worked? I know its an unlikely situation, but it could happen. Phone companies and emergency services are VERY serious about misuse of 911 services.

Trust me on this one, I work for the phone company. :D
All valid points. But you're canadian. That means you naturally dont know what you're talking about because you're too busy ice fishing and drinking strong canadian beer... ;)

-PAB
 

N8Magic

Lifer
Dec 12, 2000
11,624
1
81
All valid points. But you're canadian. That means you naturally dont know what you're talking about because you're too busy ice fishing and drinking strong canadian beer...
No time for ice fishing, I have to finish the igloo before winter hits on Friday. :Q
 

PsychoAndy

Lifer
Dec 31, 2000
10,735
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Originally posted by: N8Magic
All valid points. But you're canadian. That means you naturally dont know what you're talking about because you're too busy ice fishing and drinking strong canadian beer...
No time for ice fishing, I have to finish the igloo before winter hits on Friday. :Q
Its July already?

-PAB
 

N8Magic

Lifer
Dec 12, 2000
11,624
1
81
Originally posted by: PsychoAndy
Originally posted by: N8Magic
All valid points. But you're canadian. That means you naturally dont know what you're talking about because you're too busy ice fishing and drinking strong canadian beer...
No time for ice fishing, I have to finish the igloo before winter hits on Friday. :Q
Its July already?

-PAB
August actually.

Winter is late this year, but things are starting to get a bit chilly.
 

jrichrds

Platinum Member
Oct 9, 1999
2,533
3
81
PacBell has the same thing as AT&T where you call 611 to reach customer service, even if the phone isn't active right?

I can charge up that old pacbell phone and try that first. The thing is...last time I had the phone charged up, it gave me a "no service" message in all the places I used to get service when the phone was active. This lead me to believe maybe an inactive SIM = no service. And no point in giving my mom an emergency phone for her car if it won't work when she's trying to dial 911. ;)

A while back, I was calling a Best Buy which had a phone number that had 911 as part of its digits (x91-11xx...forgot what the other digits were). I must have not hit the first number on the touch pad hard enough, because I ended up reaching 911! They called back and asked if there was an emergency. I felt bad.
 

dakata24

Diamond Member
Aug 7, 2000
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August actually.

Winter is late this year, but things are starting to get a bit chilly.
wow.. no need for air/watercooling for your systems.. just stick your pc outside and overclock it to death..
 

yakko

Lifer
Apr 18, 2000
25,455
2
0
Originally posted by: PsychoAndy
Originally posted by: N8Magic
Originally posted by: PsychoAndy
Originally posted by: N8Magic
Originally posted by: PsychoAndy
Only one way to find out.....

I'm sure if you explain that you just got a cell and you're testing the speed dial out or something, they'll understand.

-PAB
Bad idea.

You'll get an earful for doing that.
So you're going until a bona fide emergency arises to find out?

I'd rather take the kick in the ass now and be sure.

But then again, my parents are asian, so I'm used to it.

-PAB
No, I wouldn't wait for an emergency, i'd call any wireless providers customer service line and ask them.

Let's say the 911 call center is very busy, and only one line is available. Would you like to be the person in a life threatening situation who gets a busy signal because someone wanted to see if their phone worked? I know its an unlikely situation, but it could happen. Phone companies and emergency services are VERY serious about misuse of 911 services.

Trust me on this one, I work for the phone company. :D
All valid points. But you're canadian. That means you naturally dont know what you're talking about because you're too busy ice fishing and drinking strong canadian beer... ;)

-PAB
All his points are valid and her does know what he is talking about. My mom used to dispatch 911.
 

Goldfish

Platinum Member
Jun 10, 2001
2,157
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0
ANY cell phone has to be able to dial 911, service or not. It just has to have a charge.
 

Dragnov

Diamond Member
Apr 24, 2001
6,878
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Just to let you know, 911 will NOT call the normal police but rather the California Highway Patrol. Furthermore, they will NOT be able to track your location with a cell phone. You will still have to provide all that information...
 

TJN23

Golden Member
May 4, 2002
1,670
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my mom says u can donate your old cell phones to the police, and apparently they have to "tweak" them to only be able to call 911...they give the phones to battered women
 

Demon-Xanth

Lifer
Feb 15, 2000
20,551
2
81
IF you call 911 by accident (or in this case trying it out), tell the operator "sorry, wrong number" so they won't worry about it (they have to call back if you hang up) and can quickly work on other calls.
 

Originally posted by: Demon-Xanth
IF you call 911 by accident (or in this case trying it out), tell the operator "sorry, wrong number" so they won't worry about it (they have to call back if you hang up) and can quickly work on other calls.
"911, is this an emergency?"

"Sorry wrong number...I meant to call 386-5285."

<----That'll work.

But, yeah everyone else is right, cell phones call 911 with or without service. Trust us.
 

jrichrds

Platinum Member
Oct 9, 1999
2,533
3
81
Originally posted by: JuMpR629
Originally posted by: Demon-Xanth
IF you call 911 by accident (or in this case trying it out), tell the operator "sorry, wrong number" so they won't worry about it (they have to call back if you hang up) and can quickly work on other calls.
"911, is this an emergency?"

"Sorry wrong number...I meant to call 386-5285."

<----That'll work.

But, yeah everyone else is right, cell phones call 911 with or without service. Trust us.

My local Best Buy does have 911 as part of their phone #. Miss the first digit by accident and that's what the caller will be getting...911. :Q
 

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