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Old Jan 12, 2011, 01:46 PM   #1
LucidPsychosis
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How will Verizon's iPhone work internationally?

Forgive me, I don't know much about cell phone technology. I'm a longtime Verizon customer looking to get an iPhone (although I may wait until the iPhone 5 comes out). I haven't left the country in a long time, since before I had a cell phone, but I'm planning on doing A LOT of international travel in the next two years.

Most international carriers use GSM, not CDMA, correct? What are the implications involving international travel with a Verizon iPhone? On AT&T don't you just get them to unlock it and then swap the SIM card? CDMA doesn't use SIM cards, correct?

What about LTE, for that matter? (I'm hoping that the iPhone 5 supports LTE). Does LTE work internationally?

Thanks.
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Old Jan 12, 2011, 01:48 PM   #2
yg17
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In short: It won't.

If you travel to the small handful of countries with CDMA, you can roam (and pay through the nose for it) but it will not work in most countries (including all of Europe) at all. It will just be an expensive iPod Touch.
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Old Jan 12, 2011, 01:49 PM   #3
themadrussian
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LucidPsychosis View Post
Forgive me, I don't know much about cell phone technology. I'm a longtime Verizon customer looking to get an iPhone (although I may wait until the iPhone 5 comes out). I haven't left the country in a long time, since before I had a cell phone, but I'm planning on doing A LOT of international travel in the next two years.

Most international carriers use GSM, not CDMA, correct? What are the implications involving international travel with a Verizon iPhone? On AT&T don't you just get them to unlock it and then swap the SIM card? CDMA doesn't use SIM cards, correct?

What about LTE, for that matter? (I'm hoping that the iPhone 5 supports LTE). Does LTE work internationally?

Thanks.
AT&T will not unlock your iPhone, regardless of what model it is. However, it will work overseas just about anywhere. You can jailbreak and unlock certain models and swap in other SIM cards, or you can add certain packages to your AT&T plan that give you discounted calling rates and cheaper (still expensive but not quite as ludicrous) data rates.

Verizon's iPhone 4 is CDMA-only and will only work in certain countries (Caribbean, some of South America, Canada, Mexico, Japan, China, most of Southeast Asia, a few African countries, and a few eastern European countries and Russia). There is no SIM to swap and it will not work on GSM carriers or in countries without a GSM carrier.
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Old Jan 12, 2011, 02:02 PM   #4
LucidPsychosis
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Damn... Well, at least now I know.

What's the deal with LTE, then?
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Old Jan 12, 2011, 02:04 PM   #5
nlclhc
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LTE is not yet available in most countries........
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Old Jan 12, 2011, 02:08 PM   #6
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Old Jan 12, 2011, 02:09 PM   #7
jav6454
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Long story short: It won't, at least in countries where there is no CDMA network, which of those *very* few there are.
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Old Jan 12, 2011, 03:41 PM   #8
themadrussian
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Originally Posted by LucidPsychosis View Post
Damn... Well, at least now I know.

What's the deal with LTE, then?
I highly doubt the iPhone 5 will support LTE. Most likely the 5 will be a minor revision of the 4 with bumped specs, perhaps a better camera, and possibly a single dual-mode CDMA/GSM model (perhaps those leaked photos were of the 5, which will have a SIM card slot for GSM and also support CDMA since it has the secondary receive antenna required for CDMA). If the iPhone 5 is dual-mode then you will be able to use it on just about any major network in the world (except perhaps NTT DoCoMo's 3G network and China Mobile's 3G network, which both use basically unique standards).

I don't think you will see LTE on an iPhone until the 6, in the summer of 2012. By that time Verizon and AT&T will have established LTE deployments in all major markets and probably over a good section of their current 3G footprint as well. European carriers are rolling out LTE over the next year as well, with LTE networks up and running in tech-forward places like Sweden already, but most other European major carriers have announced plans to launch LTE networks in major cities by the end of this year at the latest. Carriers in other parts of the world are doing the same.

Since LTE will be a global standard (possibly excepting some Chinese networks), it would make sense for Apple to release a dual-mode iPhone 6 with CDMA/GSM backwards support but also with LTE support. The 5 is too soon for LTE and probably would require a redesign of the hardware, which Apple will not do until the 6 (they seem to have decided on two year design intervals with a one year refresh).
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