Iphone in Israel

Discussion in 'iPhone Tips, Help and Troubleshooting' started by gmagnes, Mar 3, 2009.

  1. gmagnes macrumors member

    Jul 23, 2008
    I will be visiting Israel in a couple of months for a couple of weeks and am trying to make sense of my options for using the iphone. I have an Iphone 3g and live and use it in the States.

    I want to be able to make an occasional call within Israel (maybe 5-10 brief calls) and also be able to receive and make a few calls to the US during the two weeks I'm there. I would also like to be able to check and reply to email and possibly occasional web browsing if it's not too exorbitant. I will have access to wireless networks at least some of the time. My phone isn't jailbroken, and at this point, I don't plan to jailbreak it.

    Can someone help me understand what my options are and if it's better to use my iphone or just rent or borrow a cell phone and access email when I'm around a pc with access, which will be the case part of the time.
    1--If I use wifi, what can I use that for--email? web browsing? phone calls?
    2--Can I use one of the monthly overseas roaming plans in Israel? Can I use it for only the two weeks I'm away, cancel it and get a prorated refund? What would be the best way to estimate its costs for sending and receiving email as well as phone use?
  2. CrzyCanuck72 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 10, 2003
    If you plan on making or receiving any calls I would really recommend unlocking your phone. You can rent an Israeli SIM at Ben Gurion (I've used these guys before: http://talknsave.net/default.asp). If you make/receive calls while roaming, you are going to pay through the nose.

    Wifi can be used for any internet function of the phone
  3. gmagnes thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 23, 2008
    Use of Phone in Israel

    So if I understand your note about wifi, when I have wifi access, I can use it to download email and browse the web with no special roaming or other charges. The rest of the time, if I activate the airplane function, I will not be incurring any roaming or data charges, yes?

    Thanks for the tip on the group at Ben Gurion. Would I need to jail break the phone myself before I get to them? Do you know if they will help me jailbreak and install the new card and uninstall it at the end of the trip?
    Although I"m not totally illiterate technically, I've stayed away from this in part to maintain my warrantee. How tough is it to jailbreak a phone? Where does one go to find out the process>?
    thanks again,
  4. CrzyCanuck72 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 10, 2003
    Wifi gives you full internet access. You only have to pay if the hotspot you're connected to requires payment. Turn the "data roaming" switch to "off" in settings and your phone will not pick up the wireless network in Israel to download data. Don't use your phone to make or pick up calls and you won't be charged for roaming.

    Jailbreak and unlock it before you get to Israel. Then you just need to pick up your SIM and put it in.

    Jailbreaking and unlocking is very easy - you're essentially just following the instructions of the jailbreaking program. More info is in the "Hacks" forum.

    But note that if you have already updated to OS 2.2.1 using iTunes, your phone cannot be unlocked (yet). If you're still on 2.2.0, you're good to go, though you need to follow special directions to ensure that your phone remains unlockable.
  5. gmagnes thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 23, 2008
    One more question

    Thanks for taking the time to respond to my questions. One further clarification regarding your reply. If I've shut off roaming as you suggest, and my phone can't download data, then does that mean I won't be able to download email and only will be able to surf the web? I guess I could check email via web 2 mail style sites though.
    thanks again,
  6. CrzyCanuck72 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 10, 2003
    Basically, when you're on wifi, all internet functions will work (email, safari, any apps that need internet), but when you're not on wifi, no internet functions will work, meaning that you can't be charged exorbitant data roaming fees.
  7. gmagnes thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 23, 2008
    Summary and 2 more questions

    Thanks everyone for your input. Based on what I've learned here and in another forum, here's my understanding of my best bet:

    Don't use AT &T's overseas add on phone/data services. They're incredibly expensive. I can probably live with intermittent access for the two weeks. So:
    Turn off roaming to avoid any phone charges
    Use Truphone to make outgoing calls/ check home voice mail when I have access to wifi, which may be half the time or even more. I'm not sure yet.

    Check email by using wifi as well.

    Two issues that I'm not sure about:
    1--Can I check my iphone voice mail using Truphone? or just straight wifi access?
    2--Right now, I cannot send outgoing mail over wifi using wifi and my local high speed ISP (Road Runner). I'm not sure why, but there's some sort of mailbox work around that enables me to send outgoing mail over the 3G or Edge networks, but not over wifi. Can I work around this while travelling by using web 2 mail, internet type access over wifi that I can use to access my regular high speed account over the web? I guess I'll have to try that locally in a wifi hotspot and see if it works.

    If anyone has any suggestions here, they'd be appreciated.

  8. iPhoneNYC macrumors 6502a


    Nov 25, 2007
    Just returned by Israel

    Your iPhone will work fine in Israel - you will have coverage from the moment you step off the plane. However, that coverage will be very expensive. You need to have an international plan in effect before you go. If you have access to wi-fi I would set up a TruPhone account before you go. TruPhone is VOIP and cost little per minute instead of dollars. Also, if you use the mail/internet be sure to increase you monthly international data plan - I keep mine at the minimum of $25 per month and when I travel I increase it to the $200 per month plan. It sounds expensive but it is much cheaper to do that than be hit with a huge bill when you return. Also, set your mail to check manually for less usage.

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