Bringing an (unlocked) New Zealand iPhone to US - options?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by Karinwithani, Mar 7, 2010.

  1. Karinwithani macrumors newbie

    Mar 7, 2010
    I want to bring my New Zealand-bought iPhone 3G to the US for an extended holiday. As I understand it, iPhones bought in NZ are genuinely "factory unlocked" - they work with any SIM card. Have I got that right?

    My question is: what will my options be when I get to the States? I want to be available and to make calls, but I don't want to pay huge amounts for data since I will be within WiFi reach 95% of the time.

    Will I be able to just buy a SIM card from any carrier and use my iPhone to make calls as if it were any other type of handset? Can it be a pay-as-you-go SIM card or do I have to have a plan?

    I've tried to this up all over the interwebs but I'm really confused. Can someone on the ground over there who understands the US carriers etc please give me some tips? Thanks heaps, really appreciate it!
  2. labman macrumors 604


    Jun 9, 2009
    Mich near Detroit
    options are

    At&t and Tmobile if your visiting you can get a pay as you go. other wise you might want to get a regular plan with one of the two carriers.
  3. feg macrumors newbie

    Mar 8, 2010
    Had to sign up to answer this. first post, woo hoo.

    I had a similar situation last August when myself and two friends went to the states for 4 weeks. One friend had a nokia that he didnt unlock but could roam. He tried to call vodafone australia for three weeks to unlock his phone. never happened.

    Make sure your phone is unlocked before going there. When I did it and my other friend I went with went as well, we had to ring our telco, optus and request an unlock. They then told us it would take upto 24 hours to receive the code. An sms saying ready to unlock, but you have to do a sync with iTunes to unlock it. From then on it seems to update with non carrier type firmware.

    In regard to the carrier question, I bought us all a prepaid sim, with ATT. One sim totally wasted ( gave it to a friend in the states so they could use the credit up) because of the friend with the locked nokia. Ahh the joys of travelling.

    The prepaid plan didnt include data for the iphone. I bought extra data, for the plans but it seems there system won't let you attach it? the sales person informed me of this at the time but I took a punt.

    We were road tripping from Orlando to Keywest and up to Princeton. By the time we got down to Key west, we'd taken enough wrong turns, and semi arguments ensued, for me to go to Kmart and by a GPS. Our friends in Princeton, lucked into a cheap TomTom, with US maps as well.

    Hope this all helps, sorry for the long post, have fun, it goes by too fast.
  4. quietstormSD macrumors 6502a


    Mar 2, 2010
    San Diego, CA
    Yes you can buy prepaid SIM cards for either tmobile or AT&T and start calling right away.
  5. spacemnspiff macrumors 6502a


    Feb 11, 2009
    I would like to know if european and foreign iPhones use different 3G frequencies than ATT. If thats the case then they might be compatible with Tmo 3G frequencies.
  6. Applejuiced macrumors Westmere


    Apr 16, 2008
    At the iPhone hacks section.
    Tmobile USA 3G frequencies are not compatible with the iphone. And foreign iphones use the same 3G chipsets as a USA iphone. You will just get Edge and GPRS for data with Tmobile in the US.
    All other countries 3G frequencies should work with no probs though.
    Iphones 3G Network supported bands HSDPA 850 / 1900 / 2100
  7. OllyW Moderator


    Staff Member

    Oct 11, 2005
    The Black Country, England
    Though we use different frequencies, the phones sold in Europe have the same hardware as American iPhones and won't work with 3G on T-Mobile in the US.
  8. Yachtprojects macrumors newbie

    Nov 7, 2010
    NEW zealand I phone

    As a constant traveller i needed an unlocked I phone, so I got a 3gs from New zealand . So far it has worked well.. I have my contract att&t service and O2 in the UK do an awesome deal for 15 pounds a month for voice, sms and data.
    SFR in France do the same for 20E. Both UK and France are PAYG and you can drop the service as and when you require to and pick it up again within 12 months.
    My question that I can not appear to get answered by anyone is:
    If i upgrade the OS to 4 while i have either the uk or usa sim in will the system know that it is a legal unlock ie and it will not lock the phone out all together.

    The US is another issue. If you do not have the ability to get a contract your pretty much screwed.. well your not, BUT it charges like a wounded bull....

    Be assure that att&t and Apple have the US taped up and I have been looing at all the options available, T mobile used to be a great deal BUT now they can see what att&t get away with so they also stick it on you.

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