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Has anyone succeeded activating data plan on the watch from another region?

  • Yes

    Votes: 1 100.0%
  • No

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    1

iultra

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Nov 9, 2022
3
3
Hey everyone,

I live in Denmark and during my recent trip to US I've purchased the latest Apple Watch Ultra (A2622). I'm new to cellular Apple Watches, therefore had no idea that multiple watch variants exist until I tried to activate data plan on the watch after getting back.

When I go into "Mobile Data", the "Set Up Mobile Service" button is greyed out and the message below says: "This Apple Watch does not support TELIA mobile service in this region":
1667988868998.png


I have reached out to Apple Support about this, and spoke to multiple people, including their senior technical support agent. He assured me that despite originating from US, my watch does not have any enforced region/carrier lock. He confirmed that the watch is fully unlocked and can work with any carrier that accepts it in their network. He insisted that there is nothing Apple can do/unlock from their end and it's completely up to the carrier to accept the device.

We discussed LTE bands and he also confirmed that as long as some bands overlap, the watch will be getting reception, though it might not work in some areas where only missing bands are used.

Comparing LTE bands, I can see that Telia uses Bands B3, B7 and B20:
1667988910233.png


Bands B3 and B7 are supported by model A2622 and only B20 is missing, so 2/3 overlap:
1667988981755.png


He stated that there is a default activation policy on the carrier side that prevents models from other regions activating. He suggested to escalate this case to tier 2 / senior technical support at the carrier for manual activation assistance.

I've tried discussing this with a carrier, but I keep getting a standard replies: "Our network / setup only supports EU models", "We do not support the US version and we cannot open up access on the network for it."

At the same time I can see that some people succeeded using US variants of Apple Watches with EU/international carriers, for example:
1667989036307.png

or
I had a us model and tried to use it on a carrier when I moved outside of the us. The watch app wouldn’t let me purchase a cellular plan in the non U.S. country. I had to get level 2 tech support at the carrier to manually provision it for me. It’s only missing a 3g band used for rural areas on my carrier

This, combined with Apple reply, leads me to a conclusion that carriers do have possibility to whitelist devices from another region and US watch models can indeed work with EU carriers provided some bands overlap.

Does anyone have any suggestions on what else I can try or how to approach the carrier, as it seems being completely on them?

P.S. Returning my US watch is no longer an option, it's been more than 14 days since the purchase. Besides, Apple insisted that it has to be returned to a physical store in US since it's a physical store I got it from, and it's something I can't do from DK.
 

Frankfurt

macrumors 6502a
Dec 4, 2016
642
719
USA
I think you at a loss here. Even if technically feasible (which I do not know), you rely on carrier collaboration on this. You may try to escalate it even further to the carrier (e.g. a polite letter to the CEO - sometimes helps), but s I think you are probably out of luck.
 

M.Rizk

macrumors 6502a
Apr 20, 2015
740
489
Apple isn’t wrong but isn’t right either. This is decided by the carrier bundle settings your carrier sends to Apple. There is a string in it named SupportedSKUs and your carrier most likely asks for SKU_EU. That is the reason you see that error on the Watch app.

The carrier must add SKU_NA or there was some third option I’ve seen before on Indian carriers which was close to SKU_POST2018 or something like that which basically says accept any series 5 (or higher) model.

I had the same issue before with my Series 5 when it launched and I ended up jailbreaking my iPhone and modifying the carrier bundle myself, activating cellular on the Watch then restoring my iPhone to factory settings again. Worked fine till I canceled the plan myself today morning. Now I have a US Ultra. Do not plan on activating cellular for now but if I do then I’d have to go through the same process again.
 

bazzerpla

macrumors newbie
Nov 24, 2022
1
0
how would you jailbreak it? IS it potentially going to cause damage to the iphone? Thanks!
Apple isn’t wrong but isn’t right either. This is decided by the carrier bundle settings your carrier sends to Apple. There is a string in it named SupportedSKUs and your carrier most likely asks for SKU_EU. That is the reason you see that error on the Watch app.

The carrier must add SKU_NA or there was some third option I’ve seen before on Indian carriers which was close to SKU_POST2018 or something like that which basically says accept any series 5 (or higher) model.

I had the same issue before with my Series 5 when it launched and I ended up jailbreaking my iPhone and modifying the carrier bundle myself, activating cellular on the Watch then restoring my iPhone to factory settings again. Worked fine till I canceled the plan myself today morning. Now I have a US Ultra. Do not plan on activating cellular for now but if I do then I’d have to go through the same process again.
 

M.Rizk

macrumors 6502a
Apr 20, 2015
740
489
how would you jailbreak it? IS it potentially going to cause damage to the iphone? Thanks!

It won’t damage the hardware. It can cause issues software wise but nothing you can’t fix with a simple iTunes restore.

Right now you need an iPhone X or under as this is the last iPhone with a jailbreak right now and a tweak called Legizmo to pair a WatchOS 9 watch with iOS 15 or under then pray to god CommCenter Patch tweak is still compatible with iOS 15 to be able to modify the Carrier Bundle for your carrier and then activate cellular on the Watch.

Once done, restore the phone and watch to factory settings and that’s it.

It is a very complicated process because Apple seems to like it this way.
 

Azathoth123

macrumors 6502a
Sep 13, 2018
848
577
Fountain City
I’d probably sell it on eBay US or Macrumors and take a small hit then buy the correct Watch for your region.

If you didn’t understand cellular bands and activation, complex technical solutions are unlikely to work for you.
 

Kottu

macrumors regular
Sep 21, 2014
160
123
US Version of AW cellular isn't compatible with European networks. As your version is not selling by Apple in Denmark, Apple won't even repair it there. Like mentioned above, sell your watch in US eBay.
 

Kottu

macrumors regular
Sep 21, 2014
160
123
Good job! 👏
So, whoever plans to buy a AWU in US and use in Europe, make sure that you have an iPhone 8 or X at home.
 

iultra

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Nov 9, 2022
3
3
Thanks! As of today, yes, only 8 and X satisfy ios16 and jailbreak criteria.
If not at home, at least a way to borrow one for a day or two (a friend, workplace, etc.).
 
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