Don't climb the Andes without minutes on your cell phone.
July 2, 2002 8:04 AM   Subscribe

Don't climb the Andes without minutes on your cell phone. A hiker is stranded in South America's Andes mountains when a blizzard begins. He reaches into his backpack for his cell phone -- only to find his prepaid minutes are up. Lucky for him the telemarketer called just then to sell him more time.
posted by elgoose (23 comments total)
I'm gonna have to try recharging my cell phone batteries with snow.

I'm rather surprised that the Andes were included in his cell's coverage area.
posted by jennak at 8:49 AM on July 2, 2002

GSM - It works great anywhere in the world, except for the United States.
posted by SpecialK at 8:55 AM on July 2, 2002

that is awesome! what a story!

it'll probably be repeated ad infinitum at future telemarketing conferences...

one thing that surprises me though is that he could not call 911 (or its Andes equivalent). in the US (and I guess I assumed elsewhere) 911 is always free.
posted by o2b at 8:56 AM on July 2, 2002

(I'm skeptical about this story, its source being the Oddly Enough Section.)

02b - Outside the US I think it's 112. You should be able to make an emergency call from anywhere with some kind of coverage, even without a SIM card.
posted by brownpau at 8:59 AM on July 2, 2002

Oh, great. Now fool telemarketers are going to feel good about wasting your time and try to make you feel guilty for not wanting surprise sales talks when you're at home -- "Sure, outlaw telemarketing and the next Leonardo Diaz is dead." -- and spammers all over the world are right now trying to think of a way to save some guy with junk e-mail.
posted by pracowity at 9:05 AM on July 2, 2002 [1 favorite]

brownpau, it was covered on CNN as well...
posted by machaus at 9:14 AM on July 2, 2002

I thought that batteries are more efficient at normal temps, not extreme cold --

here's a link to a site that argues both sides: batteries discharge more quickly in cold weather, and that cold weather helps preserve battery life. Thanks for clearing that up. Now which is it?
posted by zpousman at 9:23 AM on July 2, 2002

I don't buy it. No way the phone lasted for 7 hours. Bunk!
posted by Fofer at 9:45 AM on July 2, 2002

the "Oddly Enough" denotation that Yahoo/Reuters puts on those stories really dimishes the value of the news. I wish they'd stop it. Most good news is "odd," which is what makes it interesting.

Why isnt a Federal judge ruling that the Pledge of Allegiance unconstitutional "Oddly Enough"?
posted by tsarfan at 9:53 AM on July 2, 2002

I don't buy it either. He should have been able to call emergency services for free. Further, even if cold weather helps preserve battery life, itself a matter of controversy, no way is cold weather going to recharge your battery, as the article asserts.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 9:53 AM on July 2, 2002

brownpau, it was covered on CNN as well

I saw the story too, this past weekend on CNN and even wondered why I didn't see it Friday . What gives?
What bothers me, is it's lateness.
This morning's thread now gone. It was mentioned they missed the old meta days.
Well so do I. We're slipping, yet then again, it is a slow week with a 4 day weekend and the 4th.

Elgoose, maybe you would had posted this sooner as, maybe your noticing some fun has been left out of here. Thanks for bringing it back.
posted by thomcatspike at 9:59 AM on July 2, 2002

Now you, Europeans have your soap box to display your superiority to the US. Regarding how it was his cell phone had "battery life."
Before you blast me for above. I have concluded after visiting Europe in 99, the US is using old technology. Too many warehouses full of old crap, mhop. Check out the German cell phones and compare it to yours here in the states. And I do know about the different frequencies, but that is no excuse for how crappy our battery life is to theirs. And I bet their phones are free with a service contract. Never once saw a Japanese manufacturer cell phone either, and they never leave home with out it.
posted by thomcatspike at 10:13 AM on July 2, 2002

They have cellphone towers in the Andes mountains?
posted by MJoachim at 10:42 AM on July 2, 2002

Why isnt a Federal judge ruling that the Pledge of Allegiance unconstitutional "Oddly Enough"?

Indeed. In fact, I'd be happy to pledge allegiance to "one nation, under 'odd'".
posted by liam at 11:09 AM on July 2, 2002

GSM - It works great anywhere in the world, except for the United States.

... and Japan, Korea, China, Canada, etc...
posted by gyc at 11:59 AM on July 2, 2002

GSM - It works great anywhere in the world

Again works great, except for who, us, o' the U.S..
Same reason I don't own one, yet. As the lesson here is why he had power. Something to think about, if you say you own one for emergencies. Which is an argument why you would need one were I live. And now I remember two incidents recently were a person trapped in a car off in a ditch, were rescued. And hey, I thought 911 in the US is accessible by cell, even one w/o a current service plan, anybody know?
posted by thomcatspike at 1:43 PM on July 2, 2002

I have a GSM phone. I live in the United States. It works fine here. In fact, I have my choice of two different GSM carriers. So, um, what exactly was that about GSM phones not working in the U.S.? Should I be afraid that my phone will suddenly notice where it is and stop working?
posted by kindall at 2:02 PM on July 2, 2002 Yes, you can use any cell phone without a service plan to call 911, or roam call with a credit card.
posted by pekar wood at 2:52 PM on July 2, 2002

VoiceStream in the US uses GSM, their world wide support is via T mobile. AT&T, & Sprint use PCS (digital) and CDMA (analog), not sure what Nextel and Verizon use.
posted by riffola at 6:11 PM on July 2, 2002

actually PCS only refers to the spectrum (1900MHz) that one uses. AT&T is not PCS and in fact uses 800 MHz TDMA except for GSM in a few small areas. Sprint PCS and Verizon Wireless both use CDMA which is a digital technology not analog. Nextel uses iDen and Cingular uses both GSM and TDMA I believe their GSM is mostly contained in California but both Cingular and AT&T are beginning to replace their TDMA network with a GSM network.
posted by gyc at 6:30 PM on July 2, 2002

I would think there would be some way he could call his cell phone company to buy more minutes when he was out, and maybe pass on some info about being lost in the mountains.

Anyone else besides me tired of hearing about people lost/rescued/killed in the mountains? I don't need to hear about Darwin's progress everytime there's an update.
posted by ArkIlloid at 6:34 PM on July 2, 2002

zpousman, I'm just drawing on other knowledge for this.... You know how putting film in the fridge preserves it? Well, while film is preserved in colder temperatures, it's more optimal to expose (shoot) the film at whatever degrees (definitely not fridge temp.).

So cold weather is probably good if you're storing stuff and not using it.
posted by hobbes at 8:07 PM on July 2, 2002

Late update:

Yeah, but that still doesn't make perfect sense. I mean, car batteries go dead in the winter time. Even me, when I was walking the streets of Chicago and Boston in winter, would find that my cellphone battery would drain much more quickly. Keeping in warm in a mitten had some (totally anecdotal) mitigating effect on what I assumed was the cold.

Throwing a cellphone battery into a snowbank would, I guess, slow down the flow of electrons. But this would make it work *less* well when you put it back in the phone right?
posted by zpousman at 8:08 PM on July 16, 2002

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