Discussion in 'iPhone' started by theliksta, Sep 19, 2007.

  1. theliksta macrumors member

    Sep 19, 2007
    kentucky usa
    Join Date: Feb 2006
    Can an iPhone bought in the US be activated in the UK or Germany?
    I'm thinking of buying an iPhone when I got to the States to visit my mom. If I buy one there, can I bring it back to London and activate it with O2 here?

    I'm NOT talking about unlocking the sim. I'm asking if an iPhone bought anywhere in the world can be activated with any of Apple's cellular providers in their respective countries.

    Today, 03:42 PM #2
    Compile 'em all
    macrumors 6502

    Join Date: Apr 2005

    Good question. But as long as the Euro iPhones are not out no one knows if they have the same firmware (same baseband?).

    Today, 04:37 PM #3
    macrumors newbie

    Join Date: Mar 2006
    Location: Stockholm, Sweden
    Of course it won't, yor IMEI number on the phone is locked to the carrier, the agreement between apple and the carrier is that the phone always stayed locked to the carrier.
  2. oelph@blueyonde macrumors newbie

    Jun 30, 2007
    Sorry this might be a dumb question, but if the IMEI matters, how do the unlocks work currently? The IMEI stays the same. Will O2 keep a list of IMEI numbers and restrict devices accordingly?
  3. oelph@blueyonde macrumors newbie

    Jun 30, 2007
    Wouldn't that mean the current unlock hacks are changing the IMEI numbers?

    I think Apple will have a unified firmware, which means all iPhones will run the same baseband firmware too.
  4. theliksta thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 19, 2007
    kentucky usa
  5. oelph@blueyonde macrumors newbie

    Jun 30, 2007
    I'd like to know too :) It seems the IMEI is the sticking point which needs clarifying.
  6. glennyboiwpg macrumors 6502

    Feb 16, 2007
    why not save yourself all the hassle and buy in it your own country....
  7. aka.gus macrumors newbie

    Sep 20, 2007
    That's exactly what I was thinking. I live in Sweden, and have a feeling that when the iPhone finally reaches us over here, it'll be the same scenario as with iPods: we'll have to pay roughly 150usd more than in the states.

    It seems awfully big brotherish to think that Apple/O2 would keep track of all the IMEI of the iPhones being shipped/sold in each country and lock them accordingly. And why?? I, for one, would hopefully buy the phone off Apple in the states for 400bucks, and then sign up for the iPhone contract that whatever Swedish provider would offer. That way, Apple would get my money for the phone, and the Swedish provider would get my ever-so expensive contract for two years (here's for hoping for a shorter contract than that, though...). And I'd save a lot of money off the initial purchase= win/win/win situation!

    Whew. Just my 2 cents. Thoughts?
  8. ScottDrummer macrumors 6502

    Jun 27, 2007
    if IMEI is unique to the device, surely if apple wanted to stop people taking the phone off contract to another carrier, they could check between them whether an IMEI number was not registered to at&t they can blacklist it from use.
    they could have actually blacklisted all IMEI numbers until iTunes activates it on at&t.
    Does anyone know how the IMEI numbers will affect anything going foward, as already asked, im using a US phone unlocked in UK. surely at&t know that my IMEI isnt in use with them, they could (whether it was legal for them to do so) blacklist it, additionally, i guess warranty and support on unlocked iPhones is invalid as if you take it into an apple shop they could check whether the IMEI is registered.

    tbh i dont think apple really know how widespread the unlocking is...yet, hence stevies blank look on the UK announcement.

    another thing to check is on the next firmware, when testing, Apple could be sneaky on this one and delay the fix for the unlocking i.e release new firmware, someone tests it on an unlocked phone, all is well and phone still unlocked, 2 weeks down the line when everyone has upgraded firmware, and boom the fix to lock the phone comes into play.
    i think ill leave firmware updates until someone confirms what exactly they contain if thats at all possible.
  9. oelph@blueyonde macrumors newbie

    Jun 30, 2007
    Found this snippet of info on another site:

    This suggests to me that its the baseband firmware which checks the sim card and determines if the phone will work or not. If Apple go for one version of baseband firmware then it stands to reason that the fw will check for either an AT&T/US or O2/UK or T-Mobile/Germany etc sim card.

    That leaves a question about how to ensure a phone cannot be used with a sim card associated with a cheaper tariff. I don't think there are any checks made on this - I think its left to the activation process. A virgin phone needs to be activated and unless you hack it, the only way to do this is via iTunes and that process involves you signing up to a contract. After that your carrier won't care what sim card you put in the phone.

    Does that sound a reasonable hypothesis?
  10. MrT8064 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 7, 2006
    In the US, can you put a cheaper AT&T sim in the iphone? without unlocking?
  11. oelph@blueyonde macrumors newbie

    Jun 30, 2007
    Hmm... you mean after activation and signing up to the tariff, could you then put a cheaper sim card in? That's an interesting point because if you can then it means there's no more checks after activation other than the network check.
  12. IDANNY macrumors 6502a


    Dec 26, 2003
    Las vegas

    cheaper to buy one in america and if you happen to be here for some reason why not?
  13. markjewiss macrumors member

    Feb 8, 2007
    Dunmow, UK
    Ok. The IMEI number is a unique number (16 digits if I recall correctly) for the device. When mobile operators block a handset from their network, (mainly due to a device being reported as stolen) they add the IMEI number to their 'blacklist'.

    The device will be locked to the AT&T network, or O2 in the UK, but that doesn't mean that the operator has a list of all the iPhone IMEI numbers allocated to them. When the phone is unlocked, software on the device is changed to allow it to connect to any other operator.

    Buying a US phone and bringing it back here to the UK will not let you put a SIM in it from another network, without unlocking it - the phone is tied to the carrier that you bought it from.

    As for putting in another SIM on a cheaper tariff from the same network, yes you probably can do this, but what's the point. If you buy an O2 iPhone and activate it, you've activated the tarriff and you're paying for it. You can put in a SIM from the same operator on a lower tariff, but then you're paying twice!


  14. D4F Guest


    Sep 18, 2007
    Planet Earth
    I bought the iPhone on the prepaid plan just to check if I can handle AT&T.
    Three days later I went to a retail store and told them I want to deactivate my phone and go with a contract plan. They just asked if I want to keep my current number. I said no so the lady took a new sim from the drawer, scanned it (to mark that left the inventory) and told me to simply swap it and go thru iTunes activation process again. Nobody asked for any info and they didn't even charge me for the new sim.
    So in my opinion the iPhones Imei is not linked with SIM.

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