Is AT&T iPhone 6 locked for international use?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by jian, Jan 6, 2015.

  1. jian macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2008
    Location:
    San Francisco
    #1
    So I am traveling to China for a business meeting for a week, and I'm just wondering if I can take my locked iPhone 6 plus to China and use their local sim card? I read somewhere sometimes before that the phones are only locked locally and can use it internationally without hassle...is it the case or just a stupid hoax?

    I will bring my 6plus anyway and to use it as iPod and camera and bring my nexus as back up, but I want to avoid using my android phone if possible :)

    ATT's international plan is outrageous, 120 bucks for only 800m data with .25 dollar per minute? I'd rather get a local number over there to communicate.
     
  2. gdicenzo macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 12, 2004
    Location:
    Colorado
    #2
    Just curious: could you call ATT and try to get them to unlock it?

    I have heard that the Sprint phone is locked in the US but not internationally . . but I can't tell you for sure. Haven't heard that for ATT.
     
  3. CEmajr macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2012
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    #3
    It's not unlocked unless you bought it full price from an Apple store. You'll have to call AT&T and ask if they will unlock it for you. Probably not though.
     
  4. Electroni macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2014
    #4
    Out of the box the Sprint iPhone is completely locked. If you are a customer in good standing, they will unlock the device to accept international SIMs as well as the Sprint SIM. However, you have to make a request for this unlock, it doesn't happen automatically.

    Generally devices purchased from AT&T are locked. Here is their unlocking info. page: http://www.att.com/esupport/article.jsp?sid=KB414532&cv=820
     
  5. Applejuiced macrumors Westmere

    Applejuiced

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    Apr 16, 2008
    Location:
    At the iPhone hacks section.
    #5
    Yes the AT&T iphone and all att iphones are locked unless you bought it full price at the Apple store or ask AT&T to unlock it.
    If not they wont work with any other sims besides AT&T's.
     
  6. lordofthereef macrumors G4

    lordofthereef

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2011
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    #6
    I've asked AT&T to unlock a phone still in contract (Next) and they wouldn't budge. I even gave all 1's on the text thread they always start asking if your problem was solved. Got a call back asking what the problem was and explained it. They basically said "oh, uh, yeah, sorry, bye". LOL!

    It's a stupid an illogical policy IMO. I can just have a third party unlock it and sell the device if my soul purpose is to try and bail on my payments. I've heard that genius bar replacements will also be unlocked by ATT on request since the device is no longer tied directly to your contract/Next, though I cannot confirm this.

    At the end of the day, if I am legitimately traveling, paying $50-70 is probably cheaper than having to source another device overseas. Or, if you can afford it, just pay the damn thing off. I guess it's better than their "we don't unlock iphone, PERIOD" policy of just a few years ago.
     
  7. ephemeralreason macrumors regular

    ephemeralreason

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2012
    #7
    ATT will not unlock in contract phones. I've tried several times without luck. It's a ridiculous policy since their reasoning is that I may move to another U.S. carrier. I still have a contract with them regardless of my phone's locked/unlocked status. If T-Mo had any kind of decent service where I live, I'd leave ATT immediately.
     
  8. zorinlynx macrumors 601

    zorinlynx

    Joined:
    May 31, 2007
    Location:
    Florida, USA
    #8
    For just a week it's probably not worth getting a local sim. At least, when I was in Canada I did the math and I'd have to be there at least 3-4 weeks before buying a local SIM card would be worthwhile.

    Of course, I might use less data than you when traveling. So YMMV.
     
  9. jian thread starter macrumors regular

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    Dec 5, 2008
    Location:
    San Francisco
    #9
    I do have a Nexus phone available just in case, but you know..how could you even compare that little patty device to the all mighty 6 Plus :apple::apple:
     
  10. jian thread starter macrumors regular

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    Dec 5, 2008
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    San Francisco
    #10
    Well, with the web usage that i want, which is 800mb with ATT, it will set me back for $120, which excludes $0.25 per minute fee.

    It's outrageous, local sim as far as I can remember cost around 50rmb with some but too much data (which translates to 8 dollars).

    I guess with the limitation of Facebook and twitter and several other locally blocked websites, i wouldn't need much data anyway.
     
  11. zorinlynx macrumors 601

    zorinlynx

    Joined:
    May 31, 2007
    Location:
    Florida, USA
    #11
    That's the other thing. When you roam with a carrier like AT&T, you basically have, effectively, a VPN back to your own country. The foreign carrier forwards all your traffic to your home APN so that the usage can be accounted for. You will have full access to all the sites you normally use without issue.

    When you use a native Chinese carrier, you will likely be subject to all the blockages and issues that the Great Firewall imposes. It might actually be worth spending the extra money to roam on AT&T.
     
  12. mellofello macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2011
    #12
    If you are only going to travel for 1 week do the math and see if it is really cheaper to get a plan there. Remember that it is prorated for only the time you need. So 1 week is only $30 and you have the full 800 mb to use. As long as you stay away from streaming services 800 mb is usually plenty.

    I travel with the att international plan several times per year, and yes I hate how expensive it is, but I cannot afford to be out of contact on text/and calls from my us number.

    In my experience for 1-2 weeks it is not worth the hassle of finding a English speaking provider when you are terribly jet lagged in a foreign land.

    Safe travels
     
  13. jian thread starter macrumors regular

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    San Francisco
    #13
    Interesting..... hmm
     
  14. metsjetsfan macrumors 65816

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    Feb 2, 2011
    #14
    how do the att plans work? you signup beforehand but when you land they just work? how do know you are using the correct carrier. also the new passport feature for 30 days looks interesting if you are visiting multiple countries.
     
  15. mellofello macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2011
    #15
    Is AT&T iPhone 6 locked for international use?


    You call att ahead of time and specify which days you will be traveling, and they will apply the plan only to those specific dates. I have used them all through Europe, Asia even made a emergency call in the middle of the Sahara desert and it was always seamless, and picked up the fastest carrier in the region. You will be billed only a prorated amount for those specific dates. IMessage is free, and Skype works well for voice calls.

    Expensive yes, but in contrast to fumbling around with strange restrictions, and a 30 page user agreement in a language you do not understand it is well worth the extra money for me. I wish they had a higher tier then 800mb, but you would be surprised at how little you actually use if you refrain from streaming. In a month long trip with non stop hotel booking/map looking/Google translation I only used 550 mb.
     
  16. metsjetsfan macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2011
    #16
    when you land how do you know you are using the correct carrier and not racking up data rosming fees on the wrong one. does it just work seamlessly or do you need to do some setup on the phone. I dont really trust att people to give correct directions -:)
     
  17. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2004
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    #17
    AT&T's international offerings have changed.

    The old monthly global data plans, which you could prorate for a week, now have to be on your account for 3 months minimum.

    For short, one time travel, they now have International Passport, which gives you X megabytes for 30 days for a certain price, and the plan automatically expires after 30 days.

    The change was probably around October 2014 - because in September, when I went to Germany, I was able to use the prorated global data plan for a week and ended up paying around $15 for 300 MB ($60 month so one week was $15), but in November, when I went to Mexico, I had to get the passport and pay $30 for 120 MB.

    FWIW, the old global data plans - before this change, had a one month minimum according to the fine print, however, that didn't seem to actually be enforced. So maybe the 3 month minimum isn't actually enforced and you can still only pay for a week of it, but I don't want to try it and then be stuck paying for it for 3 months.

    To answer your question - you don't need to worry about carriers. Just make sure the country you're traveling to is covered by the plan (most are), turn on data roaming and use your phone like you normally would and keep an eye on usage. I didn't have any surprises on my bill.

    In Germany, it was nice being able to have data as soon as I landed, and being able to use my iPhone 6 overseas even though it's locked to AT&T, and I was fine paying a bit more compared to getting a local SIM for the convenience - especially since the only unlocked phone I have is my old iP5 and would have to carry around two phones. But on the Passport plan in Mexico, I was basically paying twice as much for less than half the data I got in Germany, so I'm going the prepaid local SIM route for an upcoming overseas trip in March. 120 MB doesn't go very far.
     
  18. Paco II macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2009
    #18
    Wow, AT&T's international rates are still incredibly high. For the price of their 800mb plan you could pay a third party to unlock your iPhone, get a local sim with probably 1GB of data, and still save money over AT&T.
     
  19. upnorth85 macrumors 6502

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    Oct 2, 2011
    Location:
    MN, USA
    #19
    This is one reason, I would not leave T-mobile. I get unlimited non LTE data (3G) overseas. Calling back to the US is free on T-mobile's wi-fi calling (works in most hotels overseas) and calls made back home through the local network area flat 20 cents a minute. T-Mobile also gives unlimited text to/from US/overseas both ways. Now with the $10 per family plan for unlimited international calls to 70 countries it is a compelling case if you have T-mobile coverage where you live and work. I bought the T-mobile version of the iPhone unlocked from Apple at full price.
     
  20. Paco II macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2009
    #20
    Just curious but any real world experience with their free international data? Their site says average speed 128Kbps which is pretty slow. Also no tethering. Curious if that is correct or if perhaps faster or slower in real life.

     
  21. upnorth85 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2011
    Location:
    MN, USA
    #21
    I was mainly using it for emails and Google maps. I did not use Netflix. So not sure about streaming.

     
  22. Ashtar macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2014
    #22
    Okay, so what would be best for me? I am with AT&T. I am going to Germany for 7 days. My wife and I will both be going and we both won't be using any streaming, but will just need to be able to text, make calls, check email and upload photos to Instagram and Facebook.
     
  23. AutoUnion39 macrumors 601

    AutoUnion39

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2010
    #23
    For those who want to unlock an ATT iphone, there are plenty of places online that will do it.
     
  24. mellofello macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2011
    #24
    Is AT&T iPhone 6 locked for international use?

    Hmmm I did not know about the change in policy. I traveled in August and was able to prorate for just the 22 days. I will call them and find out what the ramifications of the new plan are. I will be in Mexico for most of April so I need to find out soon.

    I wish they offered a dual sim iPhone for travelers. I will probably be forced to pay whatever price they ask since I cannot be out of reach of my sms for work.
     

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