LTE EU Roaming - Who's stopping it??

Discussion in 'Apple Watch' started by InBruges, Sep 25, 2017.

  1. InBruges macrumors newbie


    Nov 25, 2012
    United Kingdom
    Guys, Apple states the Series 3 Apple Watch with LTE "comes in three regional models – Americas, China, and Europe/Asia Pacific", therefore how can it be hardware limitation?

    I'm in the EU now (Spain), with my UK Apple Watch on EE and of course it isn't picking up any service, rendering it no more independent from the iPhone than my 3 year old original 'Series 0'

    I knew this would be the case as I'd been researching it since before pre orders started, but I'd like to know who is preventing the watch from being able to roam in the EU, despite it being the exact same watch model that is sold in all EU countries and the UK.

    Surely it's the network, in our case in the UK right now being EE.
    Now we're paying a monthly fee to use the watch on over LTE, yet the ability to use it outside of the UK is disabled for some reason.

    One of the most common times I can see most users wanting to go out without their phone, using the 'Freedom Call's' feature the Series 3 is touted for, is on holiday, being able to go out without a phone in your pocket or risking leaving your £1000 iPhone 'Mini computer' inside your shoe on the beach.
    I just went out for a walk, and no room in my pocket for my iPhone (plus model), and had missed 5 calls calls when I got back, was unable to use the translation app, or get directions using the map, all because somebody says the watch is not allowed to join the cellular network in other EU countries.

    Can we get some answers on this and find a solution? I know hardware limitations prevent us from using our watch in the other two regions (in my case, The Americas and China), but the biggest percentage of UK travellers by far will travel to our neighbouring countries in Europe way more frequently than to the US and China.

    I would even pay an extra fee to use it while I'm abroad if it came to it, paying for the convenience of being able to leave the phone in the hotel room. For times I expect more than 1 hour of being on a call, I'll take one of those tiny battery chargers and my cable with me. I think this would be a great solution to many, giving us more time enjoying our time away and less time looking at a phone screen
  2. KarimLeVallois macrumors 68000


    Feb 22, 2014
    Totally agree with everything you've said, but Apple and the carriers haven't given a real reason why this cannot be done. Perhaps email Tim Cook directly and put the question to him?
  3. profets macrumors 601

    Mar 18, 2009
    I really don’t know the answer, but just trying to guess or think about what might be happening - when on your carrier’s network, they manage your iPhone & Watch’s connections and apply a number share/sync to both devices (in reality the iPhone has one number and the Watch has a unique number as well, but what they do is forward incoming calls to your iPhone number to both numbers). Maybe the current design of this system doesn’t work when one of the devices is roaming on a network different from the other? I do hope they get this working at one point though.
  4. KarimLeVallois macrumors 68000


    Feb 22, 2014
    This would actually make sense, roaming would break the back-end forwarding they have going on.
  5. fischersd macrumors 601


    Oct 23, 2014
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Actually, it's the carriers...more specifically the GSMA (GSM alliance). They haven't ratified the particulars for VoLTE roaming. A few of the carriers have setup VoLTE roaming between them, but may have to change their configuration once the specifications are ratified.

    Obviously, carriers would also have to support number sharing the same as your home carrier does.

    The great thing is, once this is in place, it'll make roaming easier. You'll likely have an eSIM in your iPhone by then (yes, it'll likely be awhile), so you'll be able to have multiple carrier profiles on your device, just toggle between them.
    And then, of course, they'll get better about auto-switching you when you travel.

    I wonder if they'll ever let you just take your phone number with you and you never pay roaming fees again (all would just be local charges). One more bit of "gravy" the carriers may have to give up one day. :)

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4 September 25, 2017