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Using American Phone Overseas--Do I Need To Unlock

Posted: Tue Dec 07, 2010 4:19 pm
by ua777222
I currently have an Iphone 4 after having made the hop from BlackBerry after 10 years. While the iPhone lacks in email (doesn't immediately reconcile e-mail, impossible to type long messages) it beats the BlackBerry in every other aspect.

That said, I have a year-old BlackBerry 9700 laying around and plan on departing for Europe tomorrow.

To take this phone and pop a local sim into it, do I need to have it unlocked?

Thanks!

RE: Using American Phone Overseas--Do I Need To Unlock

Posted: Tue Dec 07, 2010 4:25 pm
by northstardc4m
most likely you will need to unlock it if you want to use a different carrier's SIM in it.

RE: Using American Phone Overseas--Do I Need To Unlock

Posted: Tue Dec 07, 2010 4:25 pm
by hka098
I would say you need to unlock the phone. Most, if not all, U.S. carriers subsidize their phones and lock them as a result. The carrier should unlock it for you, if your contract is over, though they'll put up a fight.

Ironic. I have a Blackberry Curve for work and a personal iPhone and I can't get what is so great about the Blackberry. maybe it is because I am coming in from the other direction.

Also, does the phone have a "World" feature, which has the necessary radios to work on European networks?

[Edited 2010-12-07 08:29:44]

RE: Using American Phone Overseas--Do I Need To Unlock

Posted: Tue Dec 07, 2010 4:28 pm
by Zentraedi
Unless you bought it unlocked, then yes you need to jailbreak and unlock it.

You could roam, but the I'm sure the fees are outrageous, especially for data.

Not sure what ATT charges, but Softbank has a ~$15 a day unlimited international data option. Might be worth checking into in order to see if ATT does something similar.

Also, if you travel a lot and want to change SIMs often, look up a company called Expansys. Pretty easy to deal with. I'd also get a kit with microsim cutter and full size adapter.

RE: Using American Phone Overseas--Do I Need To Unlock

Posted: Tue Dec 07, 2010 4:34 pm
by KPHXFlyer
Check with your service provider (assuming AT&T) on the limitiations (or lack thereof) of international usage of the iPhone.

As for the Blackberry, I think it might involve switching out an AT&T SIM card for Vodafone but I don't know for sure.

My personal recommendation (even though I own a Blackberry), is to take the iPhone.

RE: Using American Phone Overseas--Do I Need To Unlock

Posted: Tue Dec 07, 2010 4:37 pm
by Zentraedi
Looks like ATT does have international data roaming plans:

http://www.wireless.att.com/learn/in...k=1-0044LQ-0-1&WT.svl=calltoaction

BlackBerry®/iPhone®/
Smartphone/Other Devices*
Use your wireless device from AT&T to connect to the Internet and email in more than 200 countries. Must be added to an existing domestic data plan.
*Quick messaging and touch phones.

$24.99/mo 20 MB in over 100 select countries1
Overage: $0.005/KB. Rate in additional countries: $0.0195/KB

$59.99/mo 50 MB in over 100 select countries1
Overage: $0.005/KB. Rate in additional countries: $0.010/KB2

$119.99/mo 100 MB in over 100 select countries1.
Overage: $0.005/KB. Rate in additional countries: $0.010/KB2

$199.99/mo 200 MB in over 100 select countries1
Overage: $0.005/KB. Rate in additional countries: $0.010/KB2


For casual emailing, its not that bad at all compared to my daily unlimited fee with SoftBank.

RE: Using American Phone Overseas--Do I Need To Unlock

Posted: Tue Dec 07, 2010 5:48 pm
by ua777222
I'm not looking to have the service since I'm not going to be making enough calls to justify the roaming cost. Plus, a .30 break sounds nice but at the end of the day it's still .99/min.

Can someone confirm that Europe legally requires that phone stores unlock phones? Here in the states, phone stores can't prevent you from unlocking your phone but won't help you.

Would it be easier for me to walk into a phone store when I land and have them unlock the phone while I'm buying the sim card?

Thanks for the help.

RE: Using American Phone Overseas--Do I Need To Unlock

Posted: Tue Dec 07, 2010 5:56 pm
by Zentraedi
I think you're confused. The locking mechanism is typically tied to the carrier, so even if you took your US iPhone to Europe, any random store is not going to "unlock" your phone. By "unlock", I mean official unlock which comes down through iTunes, not jailbreaking.

Also, as far as the law goes, any sort of unlocking requirement would only apply to phones purchased there.

RE: Using American Phone Overseas--Do I Need To Unlock

Posted: Tue Dec 07, 2010 6:03 pm
by northstardc4m
Quoting ua777222 (Reply 6):
Can someone confirm that Europe legally requires that phone stores unlock phones? Here in the states, phone stores can't prevent you from unlocking your phone but won't help you.

They are legally required to unlock phones THAT THEY SELL, or sell unlocked versions of the same phone.
They will not unlock phones (at least not for free) for other carriers.

Unlocking iPhones is not cheap  

RE: Using American Phone Overseas--Do I Need To Unlock

Posted: Tue Dec 07, 2010 6:31 pm
by ua777222
I think we're missing each other.

I'm going to have my iPhone on me but turn it off once I get over there. I have my old BlackBerry that I want to unlock and use overseas. My iPhone is going to remain tied to AT&T and not be unlocked I just have the extra phone with world capacity.

RE: Using American Phone Overseas--Do I Need To Unlock

Posted: Tue Dec 07, 2010 6:54 pm
by fxramper
Unless you are moving around a lot and will be gone extensive amount of time it's cheaper to get a pay as you go phone.

RE: Using American Phone Overseas--Do I Need To Unlock

Posted: Tue Dec 07, 2010 7:02 pm
by pwm2txlhopper
I don't use smart phones, so I'm not familiar with using them overseas. However, I have brought my AT&T GSM phones to Europe. You need to make sure that your American Iphone is a quad band phone. If it's not, it might not work on the frequencies the local GSM networks use overseas. When I fist got a GSM phone to take to Europe, the sales rep told me it would work over there since it was GSM. I only discovered it wouldn't once I got there! Turned out the networks in Europe transmit on a different frequency than the GSM network in the USA. But if you have a quad band enabled phone, it should work just find if you unlock it for use with local sim cards.