Apple Watch 3 has NO roaming, not even in Europe

vladobizik

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Aug 21, 2012
319
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Slovakia
https://www.reddit.com/r/apple/comments/702a5b/apple_support_confirmed_watch_3_has_no_roaming_no/

This is the most idiotic news about an Apple product in recent memory, and any hardware limitations don’t begin to excuse it. Especially in Europe, if you live in a small country you move around and especially now that roaming has been completely abolished, you just seamlessly use just one carrier.

I live between two different countries and often travel to other countries, EU or otherwise, therefore Apple Watch LTE would never be a product for me.

I think this will alienate a lot of users, and I hope it does, because it’s just outrageous.

Guess I'm not upgrading from my "Series 0" anytime soon.
 

WilliamG

macrumors G3
Mar 29, 2008
8,987
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Seattle
It's not really designed for going to foreign travel. It's designed for leaving the house (your regular place of residence) and not having to drag your phone along with you for small trips or afternoon walks/workouts.

If you're traveling abroad, you're likely bringing your phone or using a foreign SIM anyway.
 

GoFlex

macrumors regular
Sep 10, 2016
193
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I'm not going to be going out travelling across countries without my phone anyway.
 

0003462

Suspended
Dec 17, 2013
179
208
I only just found out before leaving for Iceland that I can't roam on my iPad the same way as I can on a phone within Europe. I have to use the Apple SIM.

I was under the impression that free roaming for all devices was allowed now. Only for phones though.
 

matrix07

macrumors 601
Jun 24, 2010
4,924
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Well.. well.. looks like Serenity Caldwell can do roaming on Apple Watch LTE (with new phone number). She wrote about it on iMore.
 

Zxxv

macrumors 68040
Nov 13, 2011
3,563
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UK
It's not really designed for going to foreign travel. It's designed for leaving the house (your regular place of residence) and not having to drag your phone along with you for small trips or afternoon walks/workouts.

If you're traveling abroad, you're likely bringing your phone or using a foreign SIM anyway.
I dont think you realise how europe works. Its like going from one state to another if in the US. Imagine your watch doesn't work when crossing a state border. Thats Europe. Thats roaming.
[doublepost=1507302969][/doublepost]
I'm not going to be going out travelling across countries without my phone anyway.
Yes but if you do you cant leave your phone in your hotel room or at a friends house if staying there and expect your apple watch to work.
 
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profets

macrumors 601
Mar 18, 2009
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I dont think you realise how europe works. Its like going from one state to another if in the US. Imagine your watch doesn't work when crossing a state border. Thats Europe. Thats roaming.
[doublepost=1507302969][/doublepost]

Yes but if you do you cant leave your phone in your hotel room or at a friends house if staying there and expect your apple watch to work.
Didn't europe recently regulate roaming so that everyone can roam between countries without any roaming fees?

I have to disagree with the equating EU roaming with going from one state to another. In the US, you're connected to a carrier that has coverage across the whole country. In Europe, doesn't each individual country have it's own carriers & networks? The argument would hold if every state in the US had individual networks.
 
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Zxxv

macrumors 68040
Nov 13, 2011
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Didn't europe recently regulate roaming so that everyone can roam between countries without any roaming fees?

I have to disagree with the equating EU roaming with going from one state to another. In the US, you're connected to a carrier that has coverage across the whole country. In Europe, doesn't each individual country have it's own carriers & networks? The argument would hold if every state in the US had individual networks.
You answered your own question. They all act as one network now. My example was sound.
 

profets

macrumors 601
Mar 18, 2009
4,442
4,151
https://www.reddit.com/r/apple/comments/702a5b/apple_support_confirmed_watch_3_has_no_roaming_no/

This is the most idiotic news about an Apple product in recent memory, and any hardware limitations don’t begin to excuse it. Especially in Europe, if you live in a small country you move around and especially now that roaming has been completely abolished, you just seamlessly use just one carrier.

I live between two different countries and often travel to other countries, EU or otherwise, therefore Apple Watch LTE would never be a product for me.

I think this will alienate a lot of users, and I hope it does, because it’s just outrageous.

Guess I'm not upgrading from my "Series 0" anytime soon.
This is much more about carriers and proper support for number sync. Heck, there's only a handful of carriers worldwide that even currently support this number syncing (or whatever they're doing in the back end).
[doublepost=1507303777][/doublepost]
You answered your own question. They all act as one network now. My example was sound.
No, not even close. In the US there's 4 networks that cover the country. In europe every country has individual networks. When moving from country to country in Europe you are roaming. That doesn't happen when moving from state to state in the US.

This sounds like it's a limitation of carriers & networks needing to support number sync (or whatever it's really called).
 

adrianlondon

macrumors 68000
Nov 28, 2013
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Switzerland
For those saying one wouldn't "roam" without their phone ... Europe is made up of many relatively small countries, with free roaming within the EU at least. I'm in Switzerland so don't get that luxury, but some providers do include large bundles of inclusive roaming minutes and data.

I can cycle within 15 minutes to two different countries (hell, I could walk to France and or Germany within 40 minutes) due to the cool position Basel holds. But even without this, wouldn't it be nice to be in another country, either on holiday or business, and just decide to pop out of the hotel for a while and go for a jog without taking my phone? It'd be nice to leave it charging whilst I was out. Isn't that the entire point of the watch?

Hopefully this new tech (eSIM) will become adopted and mainstream before too long.
 
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profets

macrumors 601
Mar 18, 2009
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Well.. well.. looks like Serenity Caldwell can do roaming on Apple Watch LTE (with new phone number). She wrote about it on iMore.
Just read through Serenity's "how to roam with your watch" https://www.imore.com/how-roam-your-apple-watch-and-use-lte-data-foreign-country

I mean, she's not really roaming. While in Canada she had someone setup a new plan for her with Bell, put the new sim card into her iPhone, and then enabled a cellular plan for her watch from Bell. Good tip for those who spend considerable time in each country, but you'll need to have an active account on each carrier.
 

dave006

Contributor
Jul 3, 2008
3,358
669
Just West of East
The restriction is due to the way the iPhone and Watch share a single phone number on the Carrier's network. The NumberSync, NumberShare or what ever your carrier calls it is what is responsible for Apple and the Carriers current roaming restriction.

Apple Note: Roaming is not available outside your carrier network coverage area. Contact your service provider for more details.

Dave
 

KPOM

macrumors G5
Oct 23, 2010
14,388
2,990
I only just found out before leaving for Iceland that I can't roam on my iPad the same way as I can on a phone within Europe. I have to use the Apple SIM.

I was under the impression that free roaming for all devices was allowed now. Only for phones though.
You can use a SIM provisioned for tablets. The Apple SIM is in addition to, not instead of a normal SIM.
 

WilliamG

macrumors G3
Mar 29, 2008
8,987
2,399
Seattle
I dont think you realise how europe works. Its like going from one state to another if in the US. Imagine your watch doesn't work when crossing a state border. Thats Europe. Thats roaming.
[doublepost=1507302969][/doublepost]

Yes but if you do you cant leave your phone in your hotel room or at a friends house if staying there and expect your apple watch to work.
Actually, I know exactly how Europe works. I’m British (yeah, don’t go there..). Crossing a state border is absolutely nothing like crossing from one country to another in Europe.

I know border security has been an issue in Europe, but I do believe there’s more than just a sign saying, “Now Entering Germany. Enjoy Your Stay.” on a billboard to the side of the motorway. That’s America (and hey, I live in America now!).

I get what you’re saying, but these two situations really are nothing alike.
 
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vladobizik

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Aug 21, 2012
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Slovakia
I know border security has been an issue in Europe, but I do believe there’s more than just a sign saying, “Now Entering Germany. Enjoy Your Stay.” on a billboard to the side of the motorway.
No, there isn't.

UK was never part of the Schengen area, so you may have not really experienced it, but crossing country borders in Europe is for all practical pruposes just like crossing US state borders (unless they randomly stop you for inspection, which however happens rarely). You just drive on. Roaming has been basically abolished too (with some caveats), so using your carrier's SIM across EU countries is basically like using your SIM across the US.

Whatever reason there is for this Apple Watch restriction, it's NOT how you would expect your mobile device to work in Europe. Not in a very long time.
 
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Nell

macrumors 6502a
Jun 25, 2012
561
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London
I regularly make the journey from the UK to the Netherlands by road and the only border crossing is at the Chunnel. Through France and Belgium to Holland is just a motorway. And it’s not unusual to be on the same carrier in several countries (though some aren’t multinational).

And yes, when I go to the continent I’ll take my phone. But it’d be great to leave it in my room if I’m on holiday by the sea.
 
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cambookpro

macrumors 603
Feb 3, 2010
6,401
1,819
United Kingdom
I'm not going to be going out travelling across countries without my phone anyway.
Here's part of the "border" between Netherlands and Belgium:



Obviously might only affect a niche set of users, but can see how many people might pop out and be able to walk for 10 minutes and be a mile into another country.

Having said that, there obviously aren't giant sheets of lead at the border blocking the phone signal, so I presume there is a bit of leeway where you could still connect to your domestic cellular network. Not sure how it would all work in practice.
 
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xDKP

macrumors 65816
Feb 27, 2011
1,450
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Denmark
Well that sucks ! I run a lot and getting the LTE would almost entirely be to upgrade the running experience. Now that would be great but I also run quite a lot of half and full marathons across Europe and to not be able to use a pretty key function on race day is quite a bummer.

Well might have my iPhone on me for the long distances anyway because of battery not being great enough for a full marathon with music, GPS and heart rate sensor blasting away
 

ftaok

macrumors 603
Jan 23, 2002
6,137
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East Coast
I guess the real question is how do the various European cellular networks handle the "number sync". If other devices can share phone numbers and still roam, there should be no reason that the AW would not be able.

If, let's say, a Samsung Gear watch could share the same number as a phone on a French network, but still work properly when roaming in Greece, then I'd say that Apple made a bad implementation.

Can anyone in Europe explain how number syncing works over there across the various networks?
 

bradbomb

macrumors 6502
Jan 7, 2002
336
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Los Angeles, CA
No one in America would leave the state without their cell phone
Um, yea I know people that definitely would. People that would go camping or just away for the weekend and don't want the distraction of their phone. They can now just bring their watch if they need something for emergency purposes and charge that.
 

porkrind

macrumors regular
Jun 30, 2015
143
148
I guess the real question is how do the various European cellular networks handle the "number sync". If other devices can share phone numbers and still roam, there should be no reason that the AW would not be able.
My understanding is that VoLTE and 'number sync' services both do not yet have fully implemented roaming standards in place. Until those standards are implemented, the watch will be limited to it's home network. This isn't a problem for phones as they have previous-generation standards they can fall back on. Not so with the watch.

https://www.metaswitch.com/resources/what-is-volte-voice-over-lte-roaming-peering-and-interconnect
 

bradbomb

macrumors 6502
Jan 7, 2002
336
116
Los Angeles, CA
It
My understanding is that VoLTE and 'number sync' services both do not yet have fully implemented roaming standards in place. Until those standards are implemented, the watch will be limited to it's home network. This isn't a problem for phones as they have previous-generation standards they can fall back on. Not so with the watch.

https://www.metaswitch.com/resources/what-is-volte-voice-over-lte-roaming-peering-and-interconnect
It actually does have previous standards:

https://www.apple.com/watch/cellular/

See how all models have UMTS bands, that is 3G. The roaming issue isn't necessarily because of the bands, as we all know the European watch has bands that should make it function across Europe. Its more about the carrier supporting the watch. Hopefully, someone will finally report back here who lives in Europe, has the watch and their phone on a European plan and travel to another EU country that should theoretically have no roaming restrictions and see it the watch still connects over LTE.
 
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OBirder

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May 13, 2015
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It seems to me that there is still a misconception here.
In the US there is no roaming. I went on vacation in a different state where my provider doesn’t have cell signal in the area.
That just meant for the 10 days I had no cell phone connection until at night at the hotel with WiFi calling.
So no phone and no watch.
In Europe you have at least phone with roaming in someone else’s network.
By the way I can do the same in Mexico or Canada as you do in Europe, but no Watch connection.

It’s a limitation by the providers and not Apple.

As the EU had the remove the barriers I would like to see same in the US as we travel across the states for phone and watch as well in Europe for the watch.