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Using a USA 3G iPad overseas

Discussion in 'iPad' started by flynz4, Mar 20, 2010.

  1. macrumors 68040

    I suspect we do not know yet... and once we do know... I suspect that we will not like the answer.

    My question: If we have a USA iPad 3G, and if we travel overseas to a location that is served locally with iPad plans... will we be able to get a local activation?

    I suspect USA iPads are locked to AT&T... but it would be quite valuable if we could buy a micro-sim and get a plan in various geographies.

  2. macrumors 65816


    I would assume you could just buy a sim wherever you would be.
  3. macrumors G3

    Jobs specifically said in the keynote that the iPad is unlocked so you can use any compatible micro-sim anywhere in the world.
  4. Moderator


    Staff Member

    They're apparently not locked, but of course you'll need a micro SIM from your operator of choice and it remains to be seen how many will provide these.
  5. macrumors 65816

    Yep, that's correct. The problem is finding an operator who has microSIMs available. That's not going to be widely available until international distribution gets into full swing.

    From Wikipedia:
  6. macrumors 6502a

    Good lord! Has Apple decided to use a non standard size SIM card? Why on earth would they do that? They have PLENTY of room in this device!
  7. macrumors 65816

    You have to ask why? It's Apple. They chose a non-typical SIM card size which allows them to control the marketplace for a limited time. They didn't want people with iPhones (or any other phone) pulling their SIM card out and putting it in the iPad. It's all about control.

    If you do some searching online you'll find discussion about how to properly cut down a standard SIM to meet micro dimensions. Some SIMs are constructed to prevent this but others aren't.

    For the non-adventurous types, they'll just have to wait for other carriers and options to surface. You'll also notice there are no Canadian carriers in that list with microSIMs.
  8. macrumors 65816


    Micro-SIM is accutually standard. It'll likey become the main form of sims with in a few years.

    Apple have just decided to do so early.

    I partly susspect it is to stop people use thier iPhone sims.
  9. macrumors 68030


    How many tear downs have you seen :confused:?
  10. macrumors newbie

    You do not have to look for a carrier overseas that has sim cards in the new micro size. There are several firms that now sell 'micro sim cutters' for maybe $20-30, which will nicely chop your standard mobile device mini sim down to micro sim size. Or you can do it yourself with some scissors and a paper template for a micro sim; there are a number of YouTube videos showing you how. Then just pop it in your 3G iPad and you should be good to go with respect to cellular data service.

    In case you are wondering about the very idea of swapping in a sim card from a carrier in another country, Walter Mossberg, the Wall Street Journal's tech reporter, was recently asked a question from a reader about using their iPad overseas -- and Mossberg then queried Apple about this. Here's the exchange:

    If you buy a U.S. 3G iPad and take it to Europe, can you swap in a 3G SIM card from an authorized iPad carrier there to avoid AT&T roaming fees?
    I haven’t tried it, but Apple says the answer to this is yes. The company told me that if you insert a SIM from one its partner carriers, the carrier settings get set automatically when you plug in the SIM, though in some cases you might need to have connected your iPad to iTunes recently for this to work correctly. Apple adds that you can even use a SIM from a non-partner carrier, though in that case, you’d have to manually enter the carrier settings on the iPad. Note, however, that the iPad uses a new, smaller size of SIM card that not all carriers sell yet.

    Once you solve this last sim card size-problem, as I noted you can easily do, then there should be no difficulties.
  11. macrumors 68000


    The answer has been out for quite a while. You just didn't bother to use the search. The reason I know the answer has been out a while is because I posted the answer. Next time use the search. It is your best friend.
  12. macrumors 68030


    Wow. You do realize this thread started in March. Lol.
    Lay off the hate.
  13. macrumors 68030

    Here in Japan, Softbank is the iPhone carrier (on and off base) and if you buy a 3G iPad on base Softbank won't let you use your iPad on their 3G network... you have to get a pocket wifi unit from them and carry that with you...
  14. Moderator emeritus


    Yep as of now. But it's supposed to change. Although I wouldn't hold my breath.

    FWIW if you purchase an iPad 3G in Japan at say Yodobashi Camera, you can use an AT&T micro-SIM while in the states.
  15. macrumors 68030

    ...thanks for the info.... I used above as an excuse to return the iPad I had gotten (64Gb 3G - $738 on sale)... just a day too late:(

    Seriously though, I missed being able to put the iPad in my pocket like my iPod Touch... if they put 3G in the iPT that would be great (but I doubt it will ever happen)!
  16. Moderator emeritus


    I hear you. I use my iPhone for portable use as I always have it with me. An iPod touch would be a nice alternative -- especially with Skype over 3G.

    Recently I find myself using my iPad 3G more often such as right now on my trip into Tokyo on the train. Very convenient. :)
  17. macrumors demi-god


    Actually I start to regret that I got the 3G version of iPad. The WiFi with the portable wifi modem would be better. I could use it with my MBP or iP4. The iP4 would then also allow FaceTime via wifi/3g. 18 month to go.
  18. macrumors 6502a

    But if you're willing to jail-brake your iPad, it can provide the same function as a modem+router for the price of the $20 MyWi app (or possibly the cheaper iTether app?).

    I did this recently on a trip to Norway. I picked up a Netcom micro-sim and purchased a month of unlimited 3G service for $40. MyWi allowed me to access the internet from my laptop, IP4 and a family member's iPad in addition to my own iPad. It worked brilliantly. I even used the WiFi network created by MyWi for local video streaming from my laptop to my iOS devices via AirVideo.
  19. Moderator emeritus


    I was thinking of the same, but now that I've used my iPad in Japan and in the US via an AT&t micro-SIM, I'm vey happy with having a 3G model.

    Unfortunately with the current Pocket WiFi devices, you are limited to a much shorter battery life -- 3-4 hours -- than the iPad 3G. Plus you now have two devices to carry, to charge and to keep track of.

    Also, the iPad 3G includes GPS which comes in handy when traveling.

    Another option. :)
  20. macrumors demi-god


    Yes, actually I also choosed the 3G with travel in mind, too. What disappoint me is the SIM lock in Japan (only). You know yourself that there was no chance to get a 3G w/o a contract with SB. At least I switched that one to 100MB as I'm mostly on WiFi
  21. macrumors demi-god


    Don't really like JB. Did that old devices where I don't care about actual firmware anymore. Just to play and learn. I like to be actual with "production" devices. But thanks for the tip.
  22. macrumors 68030

    ...yeah, I didn't want to carry the additional wifi device...
  23. macrumors 6502

    You can use any micro sim but you'll find that most companies require a debit/credit card from that country, with the billing address linked to a place in that country. So it's certainly possible but not practical.
  24. macrumors regular

    Ok, here is what I've experienced.

    I'm currenly outside of US, doing an intern at Turkey, and I brought my 3G ipad with me.

    I bought a prepaid 3G plan from a local GSM carrier. Cut it to be the exactly same size with my micro-sim from At&T. What happened is that the At&T Data menu is disappeared from settings screen. There are two options now, one for enabling celular data and choosing carrier. When you enable the celular data iPad automatically chooses the carrier and done. Works flawlessly, even simpler than US. No activation or anything necessary. Just cut the card, put it into the slot and go.

    However, there are few drawbacks. First of all, my all-time favorite app, Pandora does not work here, like Hulu, Netflix, ABC etc. And Youtube is currently blocked by government in Turkey, which sucks.

    Btw, 3G coverage and speed is far better than At&T here.
  25. macrumors 6502a

    Great info - Thanks! I'm leaving for Turkey in a couple of weeks. I will be in Istanbul and visiting small towns on the south-west coast near Marmaris. Can you give me a few more details regarding carriers and cost? Would I have any difficulty in purchasing a plan as a non-Turkish resident?

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