How functional is iphone overseas?

Italianblend

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Mar 21, 2011
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I am going to Italy this summer and will probably purchase the AT&T data plan overseas. (probably the data and messanging package here)

Anyway - if I do buy this for my trip - does this mean that texting someone back here in the US will be as simple as opening the messaging app and texting as usual? And will I be able to access all of my internet apps like facebook, etc.?

Also - when I'm hooked to hotel wireless, will I have access to all of my usual US web sites?

I've never been overseas and really have no idea what I can and cannot do. Thanks for the help.
 

MRU

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I am going to Italy this summer and will probably purchase the AT&T data plan overseas. (probably the data and messanging package here)

Anyway - if I do buy this for my trip - does this mean that texting someone back here in the US will be as simple as opening the messaging app and texting as usual? And will I be able to access all of my internet apps like facebook, etc.?

Also - when I'm hooked to hotel wireless, will I have access to all of my usual US web sites?

I've never been overseas and really have no idea what I can and cannot do. Thanks for the help.

If you have a roaming plan with data then yes your phone will just work as it does at home. It will default to the service provider in Italy that your carrier has a roaming agreement with.

Basically don't worry about it. Everything will work as normal, but watch your data usage. Often roaming daa is either very small, or not included, and this can result in very expensive bill when you get home.

If you don't / can't get decent data plan, turn off cellular data to avoid inadvertently getting a huge bill. Stick to Wifi in the hotel etc..
 
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dontwalkhand

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Jul 5, 2007
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If you have a roaming plan with data then yes your phone will just work as it does at home. It will default to the service provider in Italy that your carrier has a roaming agreement with.

Basically don't worry about it. Everything will work as normal, but watch your data usage. Often roaming daa is either very small, or not included, and this can result in very expensive bill when you get home.

If you don't / can't get decent data plan, turn off cellular data to avoid inadvertently getting a huge bill. Stick to Wifi in the hotel etc..
Set the phone to EDGE if you can as well, see how much you use currently in the US, and gauge it from there.
 
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shinobi-81

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Apr 11, 2012
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If your phone is unlocked, you should get a local sim.

And yes, you can access US websites whether you're using EDGE or WiFi, regardless of which country you're in (US or Italy).
 
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DerekRod

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I'd advise calling AT&T and having them unlock it or if they wont have a friend or family member with AT&T unlock it for you you'll save alot of money that way
 
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Shadowbech

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Oct 18, 2011
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what exactly does unlocking do to my phone?
Pretty much use their provider instead of having to pay a lot for the international roaming from AT&T.

Call AT&T and ask about it. As long as you are out of contract, is in good standing, they can unlock your phone. Unless you pay ETF then they can also unlock it that way.
 
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DerekRod

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what exactly does unlocking do to my phone?
allows you to use local sims to get local rates that are way better then AT&T's if your under contract they wont unlock it but I'd be happy to submit an unlock request for you if you'd like PM me
 
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JerseyDoug

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May 10, 2012
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My daughter just returned from a semester in London. She visit most of the EU, I think! Anyway, your iPhone will work normally. However, it will be expensive. We are on Verizon, got a global pkg, and it still added 200 to 300 a month to our bill.

Getting a phone while you are over there may be a better option. I know you can get local service in GB. Italy may have similar options.

Regardless, enjoy and have fun!
 
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CC424

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Mar 8, 2009
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I went to Rome in March and added the international data package. It worked fine but by the end of the trip I had to upgrade to the 99.00 package from the 25.00 package because I used a ton of data looking up stuff. Just be aware of the data that you are using, it goes quickly....have fun!
 
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Rgfcpq

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May 20, 2012
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Alternative strategy

Buy a gevey ultra s and when you land in Italy pick up a coopvoce or Tim sim card. You can then use this combination with a local Italian phone number and great local data rates. Your cost will be dramatically lower. Go to prepaidGsm.net and look at the Europe/Italy forum for more info on carriers. Go to applenberry.con for info on the gevey card. This is what I am doing this summer.
 
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dontwalkhand

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Remember that if you NEED TO be reached at your US phone number, you pretty much have limited options, other than roam internationally on AT&T's ridiculous rates, or some fancy call forwarding setup.
 
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ET iPhone Home

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Oct 5, 2011
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Orange County, California USA
I am going to Italy this summer and will probably purchase the AT&T data plan overseas. (probably the data and messanging package here)

Anyway - if I do buy this for my trip - does this mean that texting someone back here in the US will be as simple as opening the messaging app and texting as usual? And will I be able to access all of my internet apps like facebook, etc.?

Also - when I'm hooked to hotel wireless, will I have access to all of my usual US web sites?

I've never been overseas and really have no idea what I can and cannot do. Thanks for the help.
As someone suggested, call ATT and have your iPhone unlocked. That's what I did with Sprint. I had to call. It took them 3-4 days to take care of the unlocking my 4S. Not sure why it took that long.

I travel for work. As soon as I get onboard my flight, I eject the sim card. This will usually take care of deactivating Roaming. I do take the precautionary steps to turn those off in settings - Data OFF & Roaming OFF. Once I get to my destination, I insert the local sim card for the country I'm at. So far, I've used the Sprint iPhone 4S in Sydney, Australia, Tokyo, Japan, Hong Kong, China and Manila, Philippines. The only place where I have a difficult time trying to find a local sim card for the 4S is Auckland, New Zealand and Mexico City, Mexico.

Reception has been good, except in Asia/Far East Asia, it can sometimes get echo-eee. The local sim cards are so reasonable especially in Asia/Far East Asia.
 
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DerekRod

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As someone suggested, call ATT and have your iPhone unlocked. That's what I did with Sprint. I had to call. It took them 3-4 days to take care of the unlocking my 4S. Not sure why it took that long.

I travel for work. As soon as I get onboard my flight, I eject the sim card. This will usually take care of deactivating Roaming. I do take the precautionary steps to turn those off in settings - Data OFF & Roaming OFF. Once I get to my destination, I insert the local sim card for the country I'm at. So far, I've used the Sprint iPhone 4S in Sydney, Australia, Tokyo, Japan, Hong Kong, China and Manila, Philippines. The only place where I have a difficult time trying to find a local sim card for the 4S is Auckland, New Zealand and Mexico City, Mexico.

Reception has been good, except in Asia/Far East Asia, it can sometimes get echo-eee. The local sim cards are so reasonable especially in Asia/Far East Asia.
If the phone is under contract they wont unlock it unless you have someone else submit the unlock under their own AT&T account thats how I got my 4S unlocked
 
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MRU

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As someone suggested, call ATT and have your iPhone unlocked. That's what I did with Sprint. I had to call. It took them 3-4 days to take care of the unlocking my 4S. Not sure why it took that long.
.
Because none of the carriers actually do the unlocking themselves. It's a lengthy beaurocratical process.

You submit your request to unlock to your carrier, they recieve the request and process it. If you are eligable then they go about submitting the request to Apple. Once Apple receive the request, process the request, submit it to their database, then process the submission, acknowledge the unlock to the carrier, who receives the unlock notification, processes it, and then confirms often by text to the consumer that their unlock request has been carried out and to update / restore their phone in iTunes. It's all time.

4-5 days is actually quite quick, often it takes 10 and occasionally more.




OP as I said in my original reply its data that's the killer, so if you can make do with free wifi in hotels to check your email and stuff, simply turn of cellular data.

IMHO No point just moving phone to 2G /Edge as its still polling data just a slower pace which actually means if you are downloading a file (1mb email attachment) you are still using same data on edge as 3G to get that job done, but on edge it's slower and has to be connected to the network longer which means its actually using more battery on your phone because it's active longer than pulling it down quickly via 3G and then stopping.




OP
however if by some miracle you can unlock the phone - just walk into any Vodafone, Three (Tre), Wind or TIM store and they will help you. Whereabouts in Italy are you going? Just be aware that outside the major cities, often smaller Italian towns the level of English speaking drops significantly, so if your going off the big cities make sure you purchase your sim for the Airport (Milan has a Vodafone store in the Airport) before you go to your destination. Either that or brush up significantly on your itallian vocab :)
 
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ET iPhone Home

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If the phone is under contract they wont unlock it unless you have someone else submit the unlock under their own AT&T account thats how I got my 4S unlocked
Not sure about ATT. All I can tell you is my experience with Sprint. I don't think my 4S is unlocked in the same sense as people purchasing unlocked iPhones directly through Apple to be used anywhere. My 4S is unlocked to be used internationally, that way I can purchase a local sim card for it.

----------

Because none of the carriers actually do the unlocking themselves. It's a lengthy beaurocratical process.

You submit your request to unlock to your carrier, they recieve the request and process it. If you are eligable then they go about submitting the request to Apple. Once Apple receive the request, process the request, submit it to their database, then process the submission, acknowledge the unlock to the carrier, who receives the unlock notification, processes it, and then confirms often by text to the consumer that their unlock request has been carried out and to update / restore their phone in iTunes. It's all time.

4-5 days is actually quite quick, often it takes 10 and occasionally more.
Thanks for the explanation. I didn't know this, but it did take only 4 days with me and a Sprint CSR called me twice on my phone to let me know that's it's been unlocked.

I only purchase a local sim card to make calls and use wi-fi for emails. I haven't come across a local sim card with data included. But then again, I never inquired. I usually just ask for a sim card strictly to make calls.

By the way, I tried using those sim cards here in the states to call back to those countries and they don't work. So if anyone is curious, that was my experience with the leftover loads/minutes I had.
 
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DerekRod

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Sprint and Verizon have MNC(Mobile Network Code)MCC(Mobile Country Code) blocks that prevent US sim cards from working on CDMA devices AT&T devices dont have any blocks.
 
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MRU

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By the way, I tried using those sim cards here in the states to call back to those countries and they don't work. So if anyone is curious, that was my experience with the leftover loads/minutes I had.
they normally do, but..... You have to contact the foreign carrier and enable roaming on that Sim otherwise no service outside home country. :)

It still doesn't actually save you any money though because the foreign sim will now be using USA carrier nd you'll be charged the foreign carriers roaming price per unit which is significantly costlier than it would have been from the same country, so there would be no actual tangible benefit to using the foreign sim with roaming enabled to dial back to country it was originally bought in.
 
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quietstormSD

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It depends. If you're staying there for months, then try everything you can to get an unlock. If your there for a week or 2. Just turn off data roaming and buy a skype number to use in Italy. Not sure how that exactly works on skype. I know there are some websites that talk about traveling abroad with your iPhone or any smart phone and how to get away with paying less than paying your carrier. Here's a pretty good one on how to get away with using skype.

http://www.achickwithbaggage.com/blog/5-steps-to-use-your-iphone-abroad-for-less-than-7month.html

Another thing you can do is buy cheap pre-paid phone when you arrive in Italy. And use that for calls and texts. And live off wifi on your iphone.
 
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quietstormSD

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San Diego, CA
If the phone is under contract they wont unlock it unless you have someone else submit the unlock under their own AT&T account thats how I got my 4S unlocked
What if you have an iPhone 3G that's been off contract, but no longer works. Can you transfer the "unlockability" to the new iPhone under contract.
 
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