iPhone 5 is not a world phone

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by Whipper666, Oct 5, 2012.

  1. Whipper666 macrumors newbie

    Oct 5, 2012
    I travel extensively and my colleagues have all become highly dependant on the iPhone. That is why when I found out that one had bought an unlocked iPhone 5 in Hong Kong and brought it back to Canada only to find after inserting his Canadian SIM card found the phone would only roam. After spending time with apple support it was determined he would need to purchase a separate iPhone for use in North America. After referring to the apple store, I noticed the 4S shows only one model and that model specifies "world phone" while the 5 shows three models without any "world phone" designation. I think anyone hoping to swap SIM cards when travelling should be wary purchasing an iPhone 5 and consider sticking with the 4S.
  2. Applejuiced macrumors Westmere


    Apr 16, 2008
    At the iPhone hacks section.
    I dont get it.
    So after you insert a canadian sim it would roam in canada with a local sim?
    That doesnt make sense.
    Unlocked iphone 4S and i5 are world phones.
    You can use them on any GSM carrier worldwide. Not on CDMA networks and might have some issues with LTE not being compatible in some places but you will get GSM GPRS, 2G, 3G and HSPA+ access everywhere as long as the iphone is unlocked.
    If its locked to a certain carrier then it wont take any other sims and the original sim will then roam on other companies networks.
  3. Mliii macrumors 65816


    Jan 28, 2006
    Southern California
    This definitely confuses me as well.
    I understand that the iPhone 5 purchased outside of the US won't do LTE in the US or Canada, but from what I can tell, it's supposed to work on 2g, 3g and HSPA+ in both places.
    Maybe there is more to this story than we are getting from this post...
  4. m0no macrumors regular

    Jan 8, 2009
    I'm not sure I follow either. If the phone is unlocked then there should be no issue with using any SIM.
  5. nfl46 macrumors 604

    Oct 5, 2008
  6. darkside flow macrumors 6502

    darkside flow

    Aug 11, 2010
    If the Canadian SIM card was accepted by the HK iPhone then there was no way it was roaming. It could only roam if the original HK sim was in the phone while in Canada.
  7. ET iPhone Home macrumors 68040

    ET iPhone Home

    Oct 5, 2011
    Orange County, California USA
    This is the 2nd post i've heard this. I'd like clarity too. In another thread, it was posted that someone went to Asia, I think, and the local sim did not work on their ATT unlocked 5.

    If this is the case, I have a Sprint unlocked to Int'l GSM 4S, but I may invest on an Apple unlocked 4S, if they're still selling them new.
  8. Whipper666 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 5, 2012
    Trust me, this guy knows how to use a SIM card. This is very real, and if you travel outside your region it is going to give you grief. I am a huge iPhone fan and wish it weren't true since that means I have to stick with my Hong Kong 4S. Many of us buy our phones in HK since its illegal to lock them here. My 4S rocks! The 5 is not a world phone.....check out the apple store, the 4S shows "world phone" while the 5 does not. Caveat Emptor....
  9. skywest153 macrumors member

    Jun 21, 2010
    You have no idea what you are talking about. Seriously.

    A "world phone" like the 4S allows the phone to connect to both CDMA or GSM networks while roaming. In other words, if your carrier has agreements with a said company (AT&T is GSM) and you travel to another country where only CDMA is available (fat chance), then the phone can connect. The exception to the rule is in the US connectivity between Sprint or Verizon CDMA networks is not possible from an opposite carriers phone.

    When it comes to GSM/Sim card based phones, it will always work so long as the phone is unlocked. My AT&T iPhone 4 was unlocked and worked great in Thailand. This week my iPhone 5 was unlocked and worked great on a German carrier with their respective SIM card in Germany.
  10. viewfly, Oct 6, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2012

    viewfly macrumors 65816


    May 1, 2009
    No you don't know what you are talking about nor can read Apples specs.

    Your story is nonsense if he had a GSM Canadian Carrier. The iPhone 5 is a world phone in GSM and 3G UTMS voice and data. It is not a world phone in LTE data. LTE is not a world standard as GSM is.

    iPhone 5 from Apple:

    CDMA model A1429: CDMA EV-DO Rev. A and Rev. B (800, 1900, 2100 MHz); UMTS/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA (850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz); GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz); LTE (Bands 1, 3, 5, 13, 25)

    GSM model A1428: UMTS/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA (850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz); GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz); LTE (Bands 4 and 17)

    GSM model A1429: UMTS/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA (850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz); GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz); LTE (Bands 1, 3, 5)

    iPhone 4S from Apple:

    GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)
    CDMA EV-DO Rev. A (800, 1900 MHz)
    UMTS/HSDPA/HSUPA (850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz)
  11. Mr.C macrumors 601

    Apr 3, 2011
    London, UK.
    I agree it is nonsense. Whilst I've not used my iPhone 5 outside of the UK I've heard about several people who have done so successfully with unlocked iPhone 5's and local SIMs.
  12. AFDoc macrumors 68030

    Jun 29, 2012
    Colorado Springs USA for now
    So you joined simply to tell us this? No, nothing fishy about that at all!
  13. d123 macrumors 68000


    Oct 19, 2009
    Nope, sorry, can't trust someone talking rubbish.

    iPhone 5 GSM by model

    GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)
    GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)
    GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)

    iPhone 4S GSM

    GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)

    So what extra capability does the 4S have?
  14. avanpelt macrumors 68030

    Jun 2, 2010
    You nailed it. The unlocked iPhone 5 is every bit the "world phone" the iPhone 4S is plus it adds regional LTE support. The "region" supported on LTE depends on which of the three versions of the iPhone 5 someone has.

    Not sure if the OP is blowing smoke or what, but what he said doesn't make sense. If he put a Canadian SIM in the "international" version of the iPhone 5 (purchased in HK) and the phone had service in Canada with that SIM in, it should not have been roaming. Once you put that Canadian SIM in, the Canadian wireless carrier sees the phone as a "local" phone.
  15. Whipper666 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 5, 2012
    "Your model is unlocked to accept frequencies within the country of origin" is the official response after climbing the food chain at Apple Tech Support in Texas. Following that the fellow wrote "you will need to buy a separate handset specifically for your region".
    I only joined because I want this to be not true. I want someone to dispel this officially, someone who has traveled to a different region ie. Asia from North Am. and specifically swapped SIM cards to one from the opposite region and found no problem....has anyone done this? Because, the moment my colleague popped his 3HK SIM card back into the phone he had 5 bars in Canada. But, his Canadian sim card only roams now when in Canada in his Hong Kong iphone 5.
  16. ilugram macrumors member

    Jun 27, 2008
    Can you please tell us what on earth you mean by roaming in Canada with a Canadian SIM because if the phone detects the Canadian SIM and makes calls you aren't roaming.
  17. illutionz macrumors 65816

    Oct 2, 2007
    Rhode Island
    How is the phone with Canadian SIM is "roaming" in Canada??? :confused:

    Note that the HK phone won't have any LTE signal in North America because the band is different. But they should still use the 3G for data and able to make phonecalls. As far as I know, phones sold in Asia are all unlocked so they are usable anywhere with compatible GSM SIM cards.
  18. wordoflife macrumors 604


    Jul 6, 2009
    Most people join when they have something to post. Remember you had a first post too.

    People don't join in advanced just in case they need to post something in the future.

    No, nothing stupid about your comment at all!
  19. Whipper666 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 5, 2012
    Sorry. Just clarified wording with colleague. What he meant was he had no bars and was unable to complete any calls with his Canadian SIM card in this unlocked Hong Kong iPhone 5. Now, once he put the SIM card in from the country of origin, Hong Kong, service provider "3" he then had five bars of strength in Canada. So, it is a world phone in that sense.
    To be specific then, the iPhone 5 appears to be a world phone if you leave a SIM card from the country of origin in the phone. It will work everywhere in the world then. But, if you attempt to put a different SIM card in the phone will act as if its locked.
    I wish to purchase the 5 ASAP, but will have to stick with my unlocked 4S. I use a SIM card specific to each country I travel to. It is far more economical. This would probably only affect a few people who wish to have this ability.
  20. Applejuiced macrumors Westmere


    Apr 16, 2008
    At the iPhone hacks section.
    It either accepts all GSM sims or it doesnt and only works with one carriers sim.
    How can it roam in canada when its using a canadian sim? He doesnt have a hong kong sim inside in canada he has a local canadian carriers sim right?
    Either way you're confused a lot.

    Sounds like that particular iphone is locked to that only carrier.
    If it was really unlocked it would be able to use any GSM carriers sim. Just like your iphone 4S does.
    If he doesnt get service with a canadian GSM sim then it is NOT unlocked.
    Have him enter his IMEI number to one of the many sites that check and tell you wether the iphone is locked or unlocked.
  21. moosquared macrumors regular


    Nov 10, 2010
    Soo.. that means the phone your friend bought from HK is locked to HK carrier.
    That's a bit weird. iPhones bought in HK are always unlocked. Maybe they have this new rule with locking for the i5? If it is indeed locked, can't the apple store in Canada unlocked it for him? He paid full price.
  22. Applejuiced macrumors Westmere


    Apr 16, 2008
    At the iPhone hacks section.
    The Apple store cannot unlock another carriers locked iphone.
    Only the carrier that its locked to can send a request to Apple to have the iphone unlocked on their system.
  23. Moshe1010 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 27, 2010
    I took my iPhone 5 (AT&T locked, unlocked through eBay for $6) to the Middle East and it worked fine. I haven't tried data, just calls/text/Wi-Fi. I had a regular SIM though, I just went to a local cellphone store, and they cut it to NanoSIM (I have a local old SIM (I guess it's from my old 2.5G phone) card that I use for my visits).
  24. illutionz, Oct 6, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2012

    illutionz macrumors 65816

    Oct 2, 2007
    Rhode Island
    Did your friend purchase the phone from Apple Store in HK or from 3 stores?

    I am not sure about HK locking policy but I know in Singapore, it's illegal to lock the phone to any carrier so even if you purchase it from carrier there (Singtel) it will still be unlocked. However, if you are in some countries like US, UK and Canada, you HAVE TO purchase the phone directly from Apple otherwise your phone will be LOCKED to that specific carrier (e.g.: ATT/VZW in US, O2 in UK or Rogers in Canada).

    Perhaps if the phone is locked to 3 HK then this situation would apply. Otherwise, it makes 0 sense at all.
  25. Whipper666 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 5, 2012

    Like Singapore, it is illegal to lock phones in HK. We have always bought iPhones in Hong Kong for this reason. There are dozens of us and every one of us have become dependant on these devices. iPhones rock!

    I agree, it does make zero sense, but I have seen the email from apple tech support recommending buying a separate handset for Canada. This was after a series of exchanges regarding the serial numbers of the phone and Apple tech confirmed it was an unlocked model.

    I am just looking for anyone who switches SIM cards between these regions.

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