Does Verizon unlock iphone5 for travel?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by aquablue, Sep 15, 2012.

  1. aquablue macrumors member

    Aug 14, 2010
    Is the Verizon contract phone able to be unlocked for overseas travel, and if so, will it work on LTE bands in Europe with a local SIM card? Is the Verizon phone a better phone for Europe travel compared to the ATT phone?

    I see the Verizon phone can roam in Europe but I'm sure the fees would be exorbitant.

    Sorry, newbie questions, i know...
  2. Blorzoga macrumors 68030


    May 21, 2010
    No, no, no (both work on GSM in Europe and neither work on LTE)
  3. aquablue thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 14, 2010
    So, for Europe, only the unlocked iPhone will work on LTE? Is this 100% clarified by now?

    Also, is Verizon going to do the unlocking for the iphone5?
  4. phil1995 macrumors member

    Aug 4, 2008
    I would like to know this also. I am heading overseas in early October. My phone is not on contract though.
  5. dave006 Contributor


    Jul 3, 2008
    Just West of East
    We don't know Verizon's or Sprint's rules for this iPhone 5. For the iPhone 4S last year they had specific rules for unlocking the GSM portion of their iPhones for internation usage. Note even when the GSM portion was unlocked, you could not use any US based GSM SIMs, No T-Moble, AT&T or any of the MVNOs that are on AT&T's network.

    Apple has posted some information relating to the Unlocked iPhone 5 for Canada, and I would expect for other countries you could check for specifics.

    Quote: The unlocked iPhone 4, iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 will not work with CDMA-based carriers. An unlocked iPhone 5 may not support LTE networks in all other countries; contact service providers for details.

    So you might be fine on GSM in Europe but LTE will depend on the specific carrier.

  6. Zauberer macrumors regular

    Oct 7, 2010
    I'm curious about this too. I have Verizon and plan on upgrading to an iPhone 5. However, I'll be abroad for a few months and didn't want to pay Verizon's ridiculous overseas rates. I plan on keeping my Verizon contract in the states, however. Does anyone know if they 1) unlock the phones, and 2) if so, can I buy a pre-paid SIM card to use in that phone while abroad?
  7. Zauberer macrumors regular

    Oct 7, 2010
    I just did the Verizon online chat support, and they said they WILL unlock your phone for travel if you're a customer in good standing. This means having your phone/contract for at least 60 days and you are only allowed 1 unlock every 10 months.

    Then I guess the big question is, is the Verizon version of the iPhone compatible with phone networks abroad if you replace the SIM? Or do you need to be careful about that?
  8. eastercat macrumors 68040


    Mar 3, 2008
    I saw an article that said the verizon/sprint iphone might be more compatible with european lte. You'll have to look at the specs of the iphone you're going to use and see which lte bands your european carrier uses. Of course, there won't be any issues with 3G.

    I thought everyone knew that verizon/sprint was unlocking for international usage?
  9. Zauberer macrumors regular

    Oct 7, 2010
    So that means a Verizon iPhone 5 will at least be usable abroad (on 3G) if I purchase a pre-paid SIM? Sorry if that's sounds like an obvious question, I've just never used a phone abroad before and I'm having trouble researching it.
  10. JerseyDoug macrumors regular

    May 10, 2012
    Actually, you can can sim unlock a Verizon iPhone for overseas use. Call Verizon customer service for the specifics. Both of my iPhone 4s's are unlocked for overseas use.
  11. ShaolinX macrumors member

    Sep 11, 2012
    Guys, it lists the 3 different models of iPhone 5 being produced by Apple, right on the tech specs page itself:

    Right there, in the "Cellular and Wireless" section. The first model, A1428, is the Canadian version. The other two below are being released in the US and abroad. Here's a good article that explains things:

    Please research carefully -- I'm in the same boat as some of you, I will be travelling later this fall and intend to pop in a local sim and use it. You need to a) make sure you can get a nano-sim in the first place i.e. that the country you're travelling to will be in the first wave of places to receive the iPhone 5, and b) realize that the phone may very well NOT support the LTE band frequency, but that it should be able to do regular 3g/HSPA/HSPA+/DC-HSPA etc.

    Good luck, have fun and remember: it's still not really a 'world phone' in the sense that you can pop any nano-sim from local sources and take full advantage of LTE -- blame that on a lack of international standardization, and fragmentation, rather than Apple, Samsung, etc. It the lack of standardization that's most likely to blame currently, for the most part.

    Hope that helps a bit, I had to do my leg work on this too and felt some disappointment but that's life.
  12. aquablue, Sep 16, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2012

    aquablue thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 14, 2010
    So, the Verizon phone will work on certain LTE European networks with or without a local SIM?

    The apple site lists only a Japanese carrier as being compatible with the Verizon phone and the European phone being compatible with euro carriers, even though the Verizon phone is supposed to use the same lte bands? This is confusing.

    How long does the Verizon unlock last, since you can only unlock 1 time in 10 mths?
  13. Zauberer macrumors regular

    Oct 7, 2010
    I talked to Apple today and according to the guy at the store, the Verizon iPhone is compatible for all the countries listed for the A1429 model. You need your Verizon phone unlocked to be compatible on the GSM countries, but the Verizon iPhone is both CDMA and GSM.
  14. darster Suspended

    Aug 25, 2011
    If you order from Verizon web site, and are not eligble for upgrade and pay full price, in the ordering process it will ask you if you want it unlocked now or later.
  15. aquablue thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 14, 2010
    so, if I get a contract Verizon phone, it won't roam on Lte in Europe without an unlock? If so, how long does the Verizon unlock last, is it permanent or temporary?
  16. silroc macrumors 6502


    Jun 17, 2010
    Help me understand

    Why would anyone chose later over now? Does it expire or some other negative by unlocking it now?
  17. takeshi74, Sep 16, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2012

    takeshi74 macrumors 601

    Feb 9, 2011
    It's dangerous to assume that "everyone knows" anything.

    The post you're repying to didn't say that it wasn't possible. It claimed that the unlocked device would only work on GSM and not LTE. I'm not confirming or denying the claim as I haven't researched that matter. As stated above, it's like any other device: compare the supported bands in the tech specs with the carriers you intend to use overseas. The only difference is that you need to confirm that you can get a nano SIM from the carrier.

    You don't need to unlock to roam with Verizon's European partners. You need to unlock to use any carrier supported by the device. If you use a local carrier's SIM you're not roaming on them. Unlocking is not temporary.

    The limitation is on the number of different devices that you can unlock.
  18. aquablue thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 14, 2010
    Ok, thanks for your insight.:)
  19. eastercat macrumors 68040


    Mar 3, 2008
    Most cell phone companies outside ours use gsm. As long as you get the unlock from your tel-co, you'll be able to use at least 3G on the sim you get from the foreign tel-co.

    The point of getting an unlock is so you're not raped by verizon's roaming charges.
    I don't know how much verizon charges for data, but I promise it's more expensive than buying local. For example, on vodaphone's uk site, I saw 500 mb of data for about £10 (~$16.22).
    If your job is paying for data while traveling, then there's no need to bother. On the other hand, if you don't want to overpay for data or minutes, you unlock your phone for international usage.
    The unlock is permanent. This isn't some software hack, so I'm not sure what's the point of this question. :confused:

    Considering there's a huge ass post of people unlocking on verizon, it really confuses me when people don't know.
  20. Kyoko macrumors newbie

    Sep 17, 2012
    South California
    I live in Japan and if I want to use an iphone 5, I have to have an unlocked one because docomo, a wireless carrier I subscribe to has no contract with APPLE.

    I am planning on visiting the USA in the near future and buying an unlocked iphone 5, but some people say the model to be sold in the USA will be 1428A (GSM) only, which won't allow docomo subscribers to use LTE.

    But after reading all the posts here, I am biginning to believe that a verizon iphone 5 can be used as an unlocked one and that may allow us to use LTE.

    My quetions are:
    1) Can a verizon iphone 5 be used as an unlocked one here in Japan?
    2) Can I buy a verizon iphone 5 in the USA without carrier contract?

    Thank you in advance!
  21. Ran7, Sep 17, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2012

    Ran7 macrumors regular

    Sep 16, 2012
    it will roam. But unless you are a zillionaire or have it paid through your business, in two weeks the roaming could cost you the $650 an unlocked iphone 5 costs. What those of us who travel are concerned with is unlocking the sim slot so we can take out Sim that allows us to roam and put in a prepaid which is free for incoming calls in Europe (you don't pay a nickel for calls to you) and massively cheaper for outgoing than "roaming "in Europe (albeit with a different phone number).
  22. Ran7 macrumors regular

    Sep 16, 2012
    both the 1428 and 1429 are sold in the US. the 1429 (sprint and Verizon) is the best bet since it has all frequencies and radios the 1428 has and way more on top.

    The answers are
    1) check this frequencies for each radio type on the apple site chart and compare it to japan providers

    2. Yes you will be almost certainly be able to buy a sprint or vz branded iphone from Apple or those providers unlocked, but only at full price ($650, 750, 850)

    If you plan for primary use in japan I would wait however to see what apple and the providers unlock policies are for this phone. we should know in a few weeks
  23. Kyoko macrumors newbie

    Sep 17, 2012
    South California
    To Ran7

    Thank you for your great advice! I am ready to pay $850 as long as I can use a verizon (sprint) iphone 5 and LTE service in Japan!

    By the way, folks, if you go to the AT&T website, you can buy an iphone 5 with NO 2-year contract. My question is, does it mean you can buy an UNLOCKED 1428A (GSM)? And why haven't Sprint or Verizon done the same as AT&T?

    Thank you in advance!!
  24. bigagassi macrumors newbie

    Sep 17, 2012
    If I were you, I will buy iPhone 5 (World edition, never locked) directly from You can buy iPhone 5 without contract from AT&T; however, it does not means that iPhone 5 is "free" to use any SIM card form any carrier; it just "free" from contract with AT&T.
  25. CyBeRino, Sep 17, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2012

    CyBeRino macrumors 6502a

    Jun 18, 2011
    That is incorrect.

    Well, partly.

    Basically the Verizon/Sprint version of the phone will support whatever networks the European version supports, because the hardware is the same. This is why the model number is identical; they just load different software on the VZW/Sprint one that enables CDMA.

    The problem however is that the frequency bands used for LTE differ much more than those used for GSM or even UMTS. GSM basically has only four (850/900/1800/1900), UMTS has a similar number but for LTE there are like 20 choices. (Technically UMTS has more available but usage is rare; most UMTS networks use 2100MHz.) And unfortunately it just isn't possible to engineer a device like the iPhone to support all those frequency bands; it requires too many components and even multiple antennae, all tuned differently.

    So device manufacturers pick a bunch of bands that are used where they want to sell and support those. LTE isn't widely deployed yet so that may or may not work with your local LTE deployment. For instance, in the Netherlands all current LTE deployments (which are basically still pilots) are at 2600MHz, which the iPhone does not support.

    The same problem is why there are different versions of the LTE-enabled iPad.

    So long story short: it may not work on the LTE network of your choice. But then the European version won't either.

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