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How international is the iPhone 4S 'world phone?'

#1 User is offline   Macworld 

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Posted 11 October 2011 - 05:00 PM

Post your comments for How international is the iPhone 4S 'world phone?' here
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#2 User is offline   Allocentric 

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  Posted 11 October 2011 - 06:16 PM

Here's what I'd like to know since the iPhone 4S had both CDMA and GSM capabilities: if you need to make a 911 call, will it try to connect to any available cell signal, even if it's not your carrier? In other words, if I have AT&T as my carrier and I need to make a 911 call in area that lacks GSM coverage, will the CDMA chip activate and attempt 911 through that system?

By the way, this isn't just hypothetical... once or twice a year I do visit a part of South Carolina that flat-out lacks GSM coverage, but is covered by Verizon. It's not frequent enough of a trip to justify leaving AT&T, but it'd be nice to know I could make a 911 call if I needed.

Any idea?
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#3 User is offline   KPOM 

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  Posted 11 October 2011 - 06:35 PM

Wow. Nice move by Sprint unlocking the SIM slot. I'm assuming it works only on non-US bands, but still, it's nice.
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#4 User is offline   sigma8 

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Posted 11 October 2011 - 07:15 PM

View PostKPOM, on 11 October 2011 - 06:35 PM, said:

Wow. Nice move by Sprint unlocking the SIM slot. I'm assuming it works only on non-US bands, but still, it's nice.

Actually, that's a big issue for me. If I got a Sprint Phone, is it essentially a completely unlocked GSM phone? Would a T-mobile USA SIM card work in it?
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#5 User is offline   MacAndre 

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  Posted 11 October 2011 - 07:31 PM

Nice move from Sprint. Does this also mean that if I would move abroad as a Sprint customer and cancel my plan with Sprint that I could use it with a carrier in whatever country I move to?
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#6 User is offline   Jason Snell 

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Posted 11 October 2011 - 07:44 PM

View PostMacAndre, on 11 October 2011 - 07:31 PM, said:

Nice move from Sprint. Does this also mean that if I would move abroad as a Sprint customer and cancel my plan with Sprint that I could use it with a carrier in whatever country I move to?


I believe so.

View Postsigma8, on 11 October 2011 - 07:15 PM, said:

View PostKPOM, on 11 October 2011 - 06:35 PM, said:

Wow. Nice move by Sprint unlocking the SIM slot. I'm assuming it works only on non-US bands, but still, it's nice.

Actually, that's a big issue for me. If I got a Sprint Phone, is it essentially a completely unlocked GSM phone? Would a T-mobile USA SIM card work in it?


I believe it's for international roaming only.

#7 User is offline   Fredric38 

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  Posted 11 October 2011 - 08:14 PM

If I were to have Verizon perform an "international unlock", would I still be able to use their micro-Sim card if I wish to do so when traveling abroad and wish to maintain my phone number.
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#8 User is offline   neokao 

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  Posted 11 October 2011 - 08:20 PM

Did you actually verify this SIM-unlocked thing from Sprint and SIM-lock by AT&T or thsee are just speculations?
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#9 User is offline   billthecat 

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  Posted 11 October 2011 - 08:27 PM

Suppose you're on AT&T and traveling to a country that does not allow for local Skype numbers. So, when you're traveling there, folks from home can either call your voice number (let's say at AT&T world traveler discounted rates) or call a US Skype number you setup (also assuming you opted for AT&T's international data package). How can you determine which would be cheaper? I guess it comes down to, what is the data rate for Skype on iPhone calls?

This post has been edited by billthecat: 11 October 2011 - 08:46 PM

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#10 User is offline   John__B 

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  Posted 11 October 2011 - 08:29 PM

The unlocked iPhone that will go on sale this November in the US looks to be GSM-only, according to the verbiage on the Apple website.

Are the advantages for that model the same as the Sprint model?
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#11 User is offline   billthecat 

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Posted 11 October 2011 - 08:46 PM

View Postbillthecat, on 11 October 2011 - 08:27 PM, said:

Suppose you're on AT&T and traveling to a country that does not allow for local Skype numbers. So, when you're traveling there, folks from home can either call your voice number (let's say at AT&T world traveler discounted rates) or call a US Skype number you setup (also assuming you opted for AT&T's international data package). How can you determine which would be cheaper? I guess it comes down to, what is the data rate for Skype on iPhone calls?


I guess I can answer my own question. World traveler voice rates vary with country, but let's say $1.29/minute. The smallest international data package is $25/100MB, or $.25/MB. At 56k (kilobits)/sec, a Skype call is .336MB/minute (I figured 10 bits/byte for errors, even tho it's 8.) . So, about $.084/min. A Skype in number is $18/3 months. Anyway, it looks like Skype is a lot cheaper.

(I really hope I got my math right....) It's surprisingly hard to find a clear answer as to what Skype's bandwidth usage is.

The downside of all this, of course, is that you don't have a local number, either for voice or Skype. That's great for the folks back home but not so good locally.

What would be great is a way to have a local Skype number and your regular US voice number. That can be possible but the number of countries where you can get a local Skype number is rather limited.

Or, if you're on Verizon or Sprint, get a temporary local voice number (GSM SIM) and have a US Skype number. Hard to evaluate what the Skype number would cost, though, since that would depend on local data rates.

This post has been edited by billthecat: 11 October 2011 - 08:57 PM

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#12 User is offline   uchuugaka 

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  Posted 11 October 2011 - 09:14 PM

Any word on whether AU (KDDI) in Japan will be doing anything similar?
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#13 User is offline   Jason Snell 

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Posted 11 October 2011 - 09:20 PM

View Postneokao, on 11 October 2011 - 08:20 PM, said:

Did you actually verify this SIM-unlocked thing from Sprint and SIM-lock by AT&T or thsee are just speculations?


This information is direct from Apple, not speculation. Verizon has confirmed, Sprint replied but didn't actually answer my question, and no word from AT&T.

#14 User is offline   TeaEarleGreyHot 

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Posted 11 October 2011 - 09:30 PM

Quote

(The only downside is that when you’re using some other carrier’s micro-SIM card, you’ll be using a local phone number rather than your own U.S. phone number–so you won’t be able to receive calls unless you tell people to call the international phone number associated with your card.)
Well you could just activate call forwarding (*72, followed by the GSM number) (*73 to cancel) to forward all incoming calls to the GSM number, but you would then find yourself paying for the international calls from anyone calling your CDMA number. Maybe not a problem, maybe worth the cost, depending on your needs. And you'd need to know the GSM number before you leave the USA since you wouldn't be able to activate (or deactivate) the forwarding whilst abroad. However, if you travel frequently to the same foreign location, having this capability might be ideal. And if you spend substantial time abroad, you can also set up the flip-flop arrangement, so that calls to that GSM number are forwarded to your CDMA number. So if you're a salesperson, for example, you can merely give your customers the local number.

This post has been edited by TeaEarleGreyHot: 11 October 2011 - 09:35 PM

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