4S a "world phone," but at what cost?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by hakr100, Oct 8, 2011.

  1. hakr100 macrumors 6502a

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    East Coast
    #1
    I went through the motions of pro-order on Verizon last night and there's a question about whether you intend to use the phone abroad, where CDMA is not readily available. Well, I do travel out of the USA a little, not a lot, so I said "YES," that i would like the feature.

    When I get to the "checkout" page, I see that Verizon wants a hefty monthly fee for the GSM service abroad, whether I use it or not in a particular month.

    I'm wondering:

    1. Does the 4S come standard with the card you need to set up a GSM account already in the phone?

    2. If not, can such a card be installed, presumably by whomever might swap out a faulty battery on the phone?

    3. If the answer to *2* is yes, can't you just arrange with an overseas carrier to buy a month's worth of GSM coverage while you are over there?

    4. While you are using GSM somewhere, do you use your regular cell number or are you assigned a number of the carrier you are using at that moment?

    Thanks! I didn't see the answers to these questions on Apple's web pages or on Verizon's, either.
     
  2. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

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    Dec 17, 2009
    #2
    Yes you can drop in any sim when you get somewhere else. What you signed up for is for Verizon's service that takes the need out of finding another carrier when abroad.
     
  3. hakr100 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #3
    Thanks...forgive my ignorance, but in the 4S photos apple has posted...I didn't see a "slot" for inserting a SIM. How is that accomplished? :)

    Also, am I correct in assuming that if you are using a SIM abroad supplied by another carrier, your phone number will not be the same as the one you use in the good old USA?
     
  4. scaredpoet macrumors 604

    scaredpoet

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    #4
    From the photos shown at the presentation, it looks like the 4S has a microSIM slot just like on the 4, on the side opposite the volume buttons.


    Correct.
     
  5. thewitt macrumors 68020

    thewitt

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    #5
    You may not be able to insert a SIM from another carrier, so don't take that for granted until its been proven. The Verizon SIM is from a GSM partner, and it's just as likely you are locked to that SIM the same way your AT&T phone would be.

    Otherwise you could purchase a subsidized Verizon phone and simply walk away from your contract with them and use a GSM SIM instead...

    -t
     
  6. jkozlow3 macrumors 6502a

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    #6
    I don't think you can drop in ANY sim, no. That's not the way ANY of Verizon's worldphones work to the best of my knowledge.

    What I don't know is if the 4S comes with a sim preinstalled or if you have to obtain one from Verizon when you're going overseas.
     
  7. cube macrumors Pentium

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    #7
    But can you roam on CDMA if your subscription is GSM?
     
  8. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    Penryn
    #8
    At this point, that is not clear at all. Apple has not defined what global means, especially with US carriers which have an almost total monopoly over what you can do with your phone.

    If you're planning on buying based on the assumption that you can use any carrier, I'd wait and see.
     
  9. owzer macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2009
    #9
    Doesn't look like it. Here is a word for word capture from the apple website...

    About the Unlocked iPhone
    The unlocked iPhone includes all the features of iPhone but without a contract commitment. You can activate and use it on the supported GSM wireless network of your choice, such as AT&T in the United States.* The unlocked iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S will not work with CDMA-based carriers such as Verizon Wireless or Sprint. If you don’t want a multiyear service contract or if you prefer to use a local carrier when traveling abroad, the unlocked iPhone is the best choice. It arrives without a micro-SIM card, so you’ll need an active micro-SIM card from any supported GSM carrier worldwide. To start using it, simply insert the micro-SIM card into the slot on your iPhone and turn it on by pressing and holding the On/Off button for a few seconds. Then follow the onscreen instructions to set up your iPhone.

    * Credit check may be required; must be 18 or older. An unlocked iPhone may be activated on supported GSM carrier networks. See www.apple.com/iphone for more information. Service may not be available in all areas or at the signal strength, rates, speeds, or bandwidth as demonstrated. Wi-Fi Internet access required for some features; broadband recommended; fees may apply. Some applications, features, and services are not available in all areas. Check with your service provider about network coverage in your area and international roaming options. Warranty information available at www.apple.com/legal/warranty/iphone. When available, transferring your mobile number to a different service provider will terminate your service with your existing provider; termination fees and other charges may apply. Some features may require added fees. Contact your service provider for more details. Use constitutes acceptance of Apple’s software license agreement and third-party terms located in the iPhone box. Unauthorized modification of your iPhone software violates the software license agreement. Inability to use an iPhone due to unauthorized modifications is not covered under your warranty.
     
  10. thewitt macrumors 68020

    thewitt

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    Sep 13, 2011
    #10
    To work on a CDMA network, the carrier needs to have a contract with Apple, along with the tools needed to program the phone to work with their network.

    If you want to use your phone on a CDMA network, the carriers will require a contract...
     
  11. owzer macrumors newbie

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    Jun 23, 2009
    #11
    Correct me if I am wrong, but aren't AT&T , Sprint & Verizon the preferred Apple Carriers for the 4GS?
     
  12. JohnCalif macrumors regular

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    Oct 7, 2011
    Location:
    Southern California
    #12
    Phones with GSM capability that are subsidized are generally locked so that only SIM cards from the local carrier will be accepted by the phone. Roaming on other carriers, either at home or abroad, is per agreements with the local carrier and often quite expensive. No reason to assume the Verizon phone would be any different.

    I don't have Verizon wireless but assume Verizon would allow you to turn on and off the feature that allows you to roam internationally.

    The other possibility that is done frequently is to unlock a phone so that it will accept SIM cards from anyone. GSM carriers have in the past provided unlock codes when a contract is up or almost up. Otherwise, the phones can be unlocked by procedures not sanctioned by the carriers. I think iPhones in the past can be unlocked if they are jail broken.
     
  13. cube macrumors Pentium

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    May 10, 2004
    #13
    If you can't roam also on CDMA networks, it's not a world phone.
     
  14. owzer macrumors newbie

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    Jun 23, 2009
    #14
    Understandable if phone in question is locked to carrier. Problem is that my quoted text is specific to the the unlocked ones that will be available in later in Nov straight from Apple...

    Bingo. Looks like I am going to have to be patient and wait to see the fall out.
     
  15. jkozlow3, Oct 8, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2011

    jkozlow3 macrumors 6502a

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    #15
    Verizon has an entire section on their website about world phones and roaming and they list which countries support CDMA and which ones only support GSM.

    Verizon classifies the iPhone 4S as a world phone, so you will be able to roam in all countries, regardless of if that country offers CDMA or GSM service.

    Non-world phones can only roam on CDMA networks outside the U.S. and that means a limited number of countries (i.e. Canada, Mexico, but not countries in Europe since they only use GSM). If you don't own a world phone and need to travel to Europe for example, you can buy your own phone and prepaid sim card for the local carrier or Verizon will lend you a GSM phone for your trip which is locked to carriers they have partnerships with and you'll be charged Verizon's roaming rates to use your phone outside the U.S. This is exactly how the iPhone 4S will work except the capability is built in - no loaner phone is required. Verizon already has other world phones which behave the same way.

    You will not be able to insert your own sim card from another carrier overseas, as the phone is still LOCKED to Verizon which means you can only roam through them using carriers they have partnerships with. This is absolutely no different than how a locked phone on AT&T behaves. In neither instance can you insert a sim card from another carrier if your phone is locked. You need an unlocked phone for that, but the unlocked model will only be available for GSM networks when it's available next month - not CDMA networks like Verizon or Sprint.

    In summary, in regards to traveling outside the U.S., starting with the iPhone 4S, both Verizon and AT&T locked phones will behave in the same manner - they will roam on partner carriers only and you will pay YOUR carrier for roaming charges incurred while traveling.
     
  16. MachAF macrumors newbie

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    Jun 22, 2010
    #16
    Verizon will give you the unlock code for any of their 'world phones' so you can use any sim you wish.

    The question that needs answers is: Will Apple/Verizon let you 'unlock' the Verizon Sim in the iPhone 4S.

    On past Verizon World Phones, they have unlocked the SIM for me, however they still are able to block you from connecting to AT&T and T-Mobile when in the USA.
     
  17. hakr100 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #17
    Interesting responses, for which I thank all.

    So, to whom does one address the question:

    "Will Apple/Verizon let you 'unlock' the Verizon Sim in the iPhone 4S?"
     
  18. 2010RS macrumors 6502

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    Jun 26, 2009
    #18
    $199 for the 16GB
    $299 for the 32GB
    $399 for the 64GB
     
  19. MachAF macrumors newbie

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    Jun 22, 2010
    #19
    Apple and Verizon. I called Global Support, at first they told me yes, the sim would be unlockable to use with foreign sim cards. Then they called back a few minutes later saying what they previously told me was incorrect, because you cannot access the sim because you can't take out the battery. However that response makes no sense because the sim slot is on the side.
     
  20. icyfire macrumors 6502

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    Jan 6, 2010
    #20
    moral of the story?

    wait for a jailbreak/unlock option. This is a huge mess, I wish that Apple would have once and for all used their dominating position and power to leverage the iPhone 4S as a truly unlocked phone that could work on CDMA and GSM carriers everywhere without specific Verizon, Sprint, and ATT versions. It's a shame that they instead are playing the same games that the carriers have perpetuated on their customers for years.
     
  21. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    #21
    Americans just get totally ripped off when it comes to 'owning' our phones. First we are stuck with CDMA because nobody was willing to assign a standard early enough in the game. Then Congress has done absolutely nothing to prevent ATT or Verizon from becoming virtual monopolies.

    The US has some of the slowest, spottiest wireless networks in the developed world yet we pay the most and have the fewest options and all efforts to change this have been stymied by the 'free market' whingers.

    It's absolutely appalling that the country that invented the iPhone has the fewest options for using it.
     
  22. kdarling, Oct 8, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2011

    kdarling macrumors P6

    kdarling

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    #22
    Engineers knew that a CDMA radio was the superior choice from the beginning. It allows for more users and more bandwidth per tower than did GSM's original TDMA scheme. That's why carriers in the more wealthy and technically astute countries such as the USA, Canada, Australia, S. Korea implemented it early on, and had widespread 3G coverage long before their GSM systems did.

    In fact, GSM added CDMA radios to their phones to get 3G exactly because of those advantages. However, by waiting for frequencies to open up, they were able to implement a wider bandwidth version (WCDMA).

    Interestingly, S. Korea has kept their CDMA 2G/3G system while adding on the WCDMA/UMTS-3G system as well.

    No argument there.

    A US carrier has far more land to cover... it's the size of Europe, without the population densities to subsidize towers.

    Edit: And yet, within a couple of years, Verizon will have most of the US covered by LTE, matching their 3G footprint. Europe is just barely starting with LTE, in comparison.
     
  23. cube macrumors Pentium

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    May 10, 2004
    #23
    Maybe if your phone is locked to a GSM operator it will also be programmed for CDMA, but I think in many cases it won't.

    I doubt there are any unlocked world phones.
     
  24. hakr100 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #24
    Well, I'm in no hurry to get a 4S. When my local Verizon store has a few units in stock, I'll stop by and see if I can get the skinny on GSM usage overseas.

    ----------


    One of my concerns about the 4S and why I like my Android phone is that I decide about the battery. Right now, I have a battery in my HTC Incredible that has 4200 mV and will provide lots of talk time. The phone came with a smaller battery, but replacing it was easy enough because the back of the phone is removable.
     
  25. Luis Ortega macrumors 6502a

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    #25
    I live in the UK and the US.
    If you buy an unlocked iphone, you can put in a microsim card from whoever you want in the UK and when you are in the US you can get a pay and go microsim card from an att store with a $25 top-up and stick that in there for the time that you will be in that country.
    The sales person at apple here in the UK confirmed this as accurate for an iphone 4s bought unlocked from apple.
     

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