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Unlocked iPhones In USA-Just in Time for Summer Travel

the-carphone-warehouse-kingston.jpgImage by wwphotos via Flickr

Apple's timing in launching unlocked iPhones here in the USA is just in time--for summer, and the heavy summer international travel season. Reports are the Apple online store now is selling them. I've owned a legally unlocked iPhone 4 since last December, and used it heavily since purchasing it at the London Apple Store on Regent Street. The phone has been for me a dream come true as I have now used it in six countries and each time with local SIMS. In the UK I prefer the H3G network, simply known as 3, same in Italy, SFR in France, Yoigo in Spain (note the SIM must be cut down) and both Vodafone and PT (Portugal Telecom) in Portugal.

Some tips for travel and hooking up with the right operator-

The Phone House Stores in Portugal and Spain are best informed. Be pushy and ask for a SIM that will work for both voice and data. I've written before about this and now after 10 weeks of Europe travel the last year with the unlocked iPhone they know what's best.

Remember to reset your network settings on the iPhone. Some carriers don't auto reset these.

Know how to recharge -AKA- The TopUp. In the UK visiting just about any supermarket will make it easy to recharge. Same with stores operated under the Carphone Warehouse brand. In Spain any counter in the nationwide department store chain, Cortes des Ingles will work. In Portugal, the Phone House, also in Spain many news stands offer recharge (recarga in Spanish). In Austria I found that many service stations offer top-ups and this is especially valuable on a Sunday when just about everything is closed.

One rub. Some apps are country iTunes App store specific, so if you don't have a local credit card, you won't be buying local apps unless they are sold in your country's own App store.

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Andy Abramson

One can never predict what Apple will do. My feeling is that Apple won't go with LTE until they can do it right. As for the micro SIM's and the newer smaller SIM's that are proposed, if history is any proof point there will be shortages for the first six months.


Andy, do you think traveling in the future such as with the next generation (iPhone 5) might be more difficult based on the rumblings we've heard in the rumor mills about how Apple may use a smaller (micro) SIM akin to the iPad? Are micro SIMs just as easy to find and shop for around the world as standard GSM chips? I much prefer to pay up front for an unsubsidized smart phone that is also unlocked so I can travel around with it (instead of being caught up in the typical American "debt trap" of signing away for two years to become indebted with a two year contract all for the up-front illusion of getting the phone cheaper. How likely do you think it is (given where the world is with infrastructure) that the next generation iPhone (5) will be a world phone capable of LTE? I have a USB modem from LG that works on Verizon's LTE network here in the U.S. and for the locations where LTE is available, its phenomenal (it humanly feels about as fast as using a cable modem or DSL broadband service)! I wouldn't mind having an iPhone (5) with LTE that I could travel around the world with (that would fall back to 3G GSM where LTE is unavailable) and which I could also use to tether other machines like a local hotspot (tether with a MacBook Air or iPad)! Is an LTE iPhone world phone that can tether plausible or still a ways away? -Eddie

Account Deleted

Is it reasonable?16 gb in 649$ and 32 GB in 749..

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