Test calls can usually be made by calling 411, although cellcos are
starting to be less friendly to incoming analog calls from unactivated
handsets differently as of late, since they take up so much
bandwith. I recently was unable to get an analog call to connect to
the network to test in N. CA or a credit card call in an emergency.
Using 411 or perhaps 922 (which also might connect to 911 in a few
areas like N.VA) is a much better choice, since you won't be taking up
an emergency call operators time, that they could be used responding
to a real emergency.
922 may be either be a 911 test number number OR the telco system may
be programed to forward any calls which appear to be an attempt to
call 911 Calling 922 from a Verizon GPS enabled phone, even an
unactivated one, will allow the toweer to send the GPS coords to the
handset's GPSONE debug screen in many areas. As long as it's an urban
area with AGPS enabled on the network, and calls don't get forwared to
911, there is a good chance the GPS coords will appear in one of the
GPS ONE menu screens.
**Calls from activated VZW phones to 922 WILL GET BILLED AS 411 CALLS!
So, if you want to play with the GPS function use an unactived phone
or be prepared to deal with VZW CS. Likely the billing system is
already set up for some GIN GPS pay service, which will use the built
My usual advice of keeping a bag phone in the trunk for free,
emergency 911 calls from a three watt high powered phone, may have
some practical limitations when trying access the network for Credit
Card calls. Allthough 911 calls will have priority, cellular
operators are cutting back analog bandwidth and users have reported
trouble in completing calls even with paid analog plans.
Unless one is in the middle of Nowhere where the extra power of a 3
watt analog phone might be an advantage to connecting to an old analog
cell tower, I would recommend carrying a dualmode A/D
handset. Probably something like an older Verizon 800mhz
dualmode/trimode model would be a good choice for the those who have
no phone, or those using a GSM phone, planning on going into rural
areas. GSM is lacking coverage in the mountains and out west
especially. So carrying a CDMA/analog (3 watt analog in some
areas)phone has a good chance for connecting to any existing tower,
for an Emergency call, or credit card call, in case of a car
Unless one knows they are in or traveling to a CDMA 1900mhz area, a
dualmode should be fine. There are a few 1900mhz areas.
As of about Aug 1st, no cellular handset will be allowed to be
activated unless it has AGPS built in, on VZW. Existing phones are
excepted, but once taken off the network, they will not be able to be
activated back on. Verizon Wireless is enforcing this new policy,
AFAIK, 100%. Since it's an FCC ruling dealing with GPS phase in, I
suspect other carriers will follow suite, once they get their
activation databases to comply.