Mossberg’s Mailbox

Cellphone Data Cards and the iPod Touch

Published on January 3, 2008
by Walt Mossberg

Here are a few questions I’ve received recently from people like you, and my answers. I have edited and restated the questions a bit, for readability.

I have a USB cell phone data card that I use with my laptop. This card offers me world-wide connectivity wherever there is GSM cellphone service available. Is there an adapter that will allow me to use this card with the iPod Touch?

I know of no such adapter, nor of the software that would be needed to make one work. However, although the iPod Touch has no cellphone capability, it does include Wi-Fi, which can give you high-speed Internet access world-wide whenever you are in range of a Wi-Fi wireless network.

What U.S. cellphone service provider should I consider when purchasing a new contract and phone that can be easily used in most western European countries and also get good coverage in the U.S.?

In the United States, the only two major carriers that use the technology compatible with European networks are AT&T and T-Mobile. As to which has better coverage in the U.S., my own anecdotal experience is that this varies greatly depending on where you are, and that neither has coverage that’s as good as Verizon’s in as many major cities. However, Verizon (like Sprint) uses a technology that isn’t compatible with European networks, though it has one or two phone models that include both technologies.

I have just switched to the Mac from Windows. Is there a tutorial somewhere on how to use the Mac user interface and operating system?

There are a couple of books on switching to the Mac, which you can find at online bookstores. Also, Apple maintains two free, illustrated online tutorials called “Mac 101” and “Switch 101,” the latter being specifically for former Windows users. They are available at and

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