Using iPhone 5 Overseas (NZ/Kor/Aus)

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by esuh90, Nov 3, 2012.

  1. macrumors newbie

    Nov 3, 2012
    Hey everyone,

    Long story short: I have just ordered an unlocked iPhone 5 from here in New Zealand (NZ). I am planning to go to S.Korea soon for 3 months. And after that, there is a possibility that I may be moving to Australia. So, would my phone work in all three countries? (and how easy is it to transfer from one network to another?) For more info please read below

    I know in NZ, cellular devices work under GSM 900/1800Hz, while in Korea, it is CDMA (and as far as I know, in Australia it is the same as NZ with GSM900/1800Hz).
    Since I ordered my phone in NZ, I am assuming that I will be getting the A1429(GSM) model??
    If so, does that mean I cannot use my phone in Korea? Because online it does not say it supports CDMA. But I have heard some of my friends saying it is possible to use it in Korea, so I am a little confused..
    But if it does work in Korea, would anyone know of how mobile network services work in Korea? (prepay would be more ideal than contracts).

    Just to make things more complicated, if my phone does work in Korea, after my 3 month stay, how easy would it be to switch back to a NZ or Australian network? (Assuming that if my phone doesn't work in Korea, I would leave my phone under a NZ network so that I can switch to an Australian network, which I believe is easy???)

    So sorry for so many and such specific questions. I do not know much about phones so if I made any wrong assumptions please let me know.

    If anyone can answer any (even one!) or all of my questions, it would be much much appreciated!! Even the Apple retailers and network providers can't seem to answer my questions...

    Many many MANY thanks in advance :D
  2. macrumors 601

    Jan 16, 2008
    Bristol, UK
    South Korea has some CDMA networks as far as I can tell, but there are at least two carriers offering UMTS/GSM services that would be compatible with any iPhone.

    When you buy an unlocked iPhone from Apple, it will never support CDMA. It's disabled through software.

    No idea on this I'm afraid

    You could just swap the SIMs over at any time. There shouldn't be anything else that you have to do.
  3. macrumors regular

    Sep 27, 2012
    I used my Galaxy S II for two consecutive summers. This summer and last in korea due to work. (The Galaxy S II was bought in U.K -unlocked)
    What I had to do was get a "permit" from one of the network providers. For me it was SK Telecom and I had to take the phone in, wait an hour, and left the store with my phone and a compatible pay as you go SK sim card which I then used for 2 months. That was 2011 summer. Went back to UK and phone worked fine. Went to korea this summer, I didn't have to re-register and get permit. I was on T(Olleh) network this time round.

    All you need to do is land yourself a permit to use the phone in korea first. At SK Telecom HQ branch and then get a payasyougo sim.

    Thing that I didn't like was they don't offer payg sim deals with data (3&4g)

    Oh and with iPhone 4/S you don't need a permit it will work automatically. Don't know about ip5 though since it hasn't launched over there yet I believe.
  4. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 3, 2012
    Thank you so much for your answer :) But how would u make it work on CDMA then??

    Doesn't one of the major carriers in the US use CDMA?


    Also thank you for your reply :D

    But just a few questions:

    How much did it cost to get the permit and is there a termination fee for the permit?

    Also what do you mean by not offering 'payg sim deals with data'? Do u mean that they dont offer a pay-as-you-go data plans?

    And yea, I dont think the iPhone 5 is released in Korea yet. And the 4/S was apparently the only worldwide phone for iPhones so probably why it didn't need a permit??
  5. macrumors 65816


    Dec 5, 2010
    I live in Korea, but I'm not completely familiar with all of the telecom policies. Even so, here are my two cents.

    The permit doesn't have any termination fees. Once you have the permit, it's pretty much valid for life, and once the iPhone 5 becomes officially released here, the permit is "voided" since telecommunication laws say if the foreign phone is the same model as the one sold in Korea, you need no permit.

    There are 3 major carriers - SK Telecom (which goes by the brand "T"), Korea Telecom or KT (which goes by the brand "olleh") and LG Telecom. With an iPhone, you only can choose between SK or KT as those two offer 3G UMTS while LG goes with CDMA.

    Here is KT's foreigner blog page:

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