LTE in Apple Watch Series 3 Models Only Works in Country of Purchase

Discussion in 'MacRumors.com News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Sep 15, 2017.

  1. tomnavratil macrumors 6502a

    tomnavratil

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    Litovel, Czech Republic
    #176
    That's the thing many people need to get clarification on. It's not sure if Apple's speaking about purchasing or activating a device in the given country. This has absolutely nothing to do with roaming as that won't be possible for the launch at all. This is purchasing a device in one country and activating in another with same LTE bands.
     
  2. LCPepper macrumors 6502

    LCPepper

    Joined:
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    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #177
    Exactly. The issue here is that we're working from very little concrete information. Especially as we are basing this on a paragraph from US Apple support, that could be explained away with the issue of bands:

    ""If you purchased one (an Apple Watch S3 GPS + Cellular) through the US Apple Online Store, it'll only work for the 4 US carriers. It wouldn't work internationally unfortunately. I'm not entirely sure what type of error it would show if you took a US Watch to Germany, but it wouldn't be compatible with Telekom"."

    "it'll only work for the 4 US carriers"
    -> Of course, because the are the only ones to support the Apple Watch in the US. And traditional roaming is not available.

    "it wouldn't work internationally unfortunately"
    -> Again, because traditional international roaming isn't supported by carriers/Apple Watch

    "if you took a US Watch to Germany, but it wouldn't be compatible with Telekom"
    -> So this is both explainable by the fact that there is no traditional roaming support AND the fact that a US Apple Watch doesn't have the UTMS/LTE bands that are used in Europe.

    So quite frankly, I can't see how we have reached the conclusion that you can't EVER use a cellular Apple Watch 3 outside it's original country of purchase or usage (in a non-roaming situation).

    This is the same as back when some iPhones couldn't operate from one region to another; you could as easily have said for those: "if you took a US iPhone to China [...] it wouldn't be compatible with China Telecom". That doesn't mean say, the same UK iPhone with region limited bands couldn't have been used in France.

    I personally believe (wishfully) that this is just the same thing for the Apple Watch 3, and we have just had slight amnesia in our interoperable world of iPhones today. It's just the logical conclusion really; and yes it's annoying for those who want to move between regions, or eventually traditionally roam between them (when it's supported of course).

    But I think we've just take too much poetic licence when we have made the HUGE STRIDE in logic deduction based on this one tiny paragraph.
     
  3. freediverx macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
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    #178

    Where did you see "1 hour battery life"?
    --- Post Merged, Sep 16, 2017 ---
    They also said the Watch must use the same carrier as your iPhone.
    --- Post Merged, Sep 16, 2017 ---
    I think it would be far more meaningful to cite the percentage of Apple customers (or Apple Watch owners) who have traveled abroad. I suspect it will be significantly higher.
     
  4. Reason077 macrumors 68000

    Reason077

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    Aug 14, 2007
    #179
    I wonder if this kind of restriction is even legal in Europe? Surely it violates some EU rules on cross-border interoperability?
     
  5. freediverx macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 19, 2006
    #180
    It works like cellular on iPads—you can turn the service on or off without any long term commitment.
    --- Post Merged, Sep 16, 2017 ---
    Face ID did NOT fail. It worked exactly as designed. The issue was that the folks who prep the stage had handled the phone a few times and inadvertently triggered the bio-lock security feature. It was an oversight of an edge case in planning the presentation, not a failure of the technology. Federighi handled it perfectly and the only people "ridiculing" this are morons.
    --- Post Merged, Sep 16, 2017 ---
    I rarely talk on my iPhone, so I have little reason to want to talk on my Watch. The real value of this feature is DATA connectivity while away from your iPhone. It will give you access to messaging, notifications, location features, etc., while running or swimming or any other activity where a phone is too fragile or cumbersome.
     
  6. seclusion macrumors regular

    seclusion

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2007
    #181
    Would be awesome if it could have its own phone # and work independent from an iPhone.
    My teenager son would love it, he hates iPhone, but would sync to his iPad n Mac.
     
  7. freediverx macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2006
    #182
    1) I've yet to see the source for this.

    2) I'm sure it's referring to TALK TIME, not general battery life.
    --- Post Merged, Sep 16, 2017 ---
    I LOVE the red dot.

    The only thing that annoys me is that the Black Sport Loop band shown in this photo (black with multi-color speckles) is only available as a separate $50 purchase, and cannot be selected when ordering the Watch.

    [​IMG]
    --- Post Merged, Sep 16, 2017 ---
    There are huge differences between the Series 2 and Series 3 other than the LTE option.
    --- Post Merged, Sep 16, 2017 ---
    This is the more useful spec. This means that the notion of hanging out without your iPhone only applies to relatively brief periods of time, such as when exercising. You will not be able to spend all day with just the watch without killing the battery, unless you disable LTE.
     
  8. jhollington macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2008
    #183
    Actually, I suspect the roaming limitation is entirely due to the eSIM and "NumberShare" technology, which of course has you sharing the same phone number on two devices provisioned on the same carrier network.

    The carrier "NumberShare" feature requires "HD Voice" or VoLTE support (Verizon and AT&T have both stated this, and Bell Canada has said the Series 3 won't work in the two provinces where VoLTE isn't available). This is also the most likely reason why the Apple Watch Series 3 isn't compatible with the iPhone 5s.

    "HD Voice" and VoLTE are similarly not available while roaming, so it makes sense that the Apple Watch Series 3 would therefore also not work while roaming. It's not that the carriers are deliberately limiting roaming with the Series 3, but rather that they're using leading-edge technologies that simply aren't compatible with roaming across networks in the first place.
     
  9. LCPepper macrumors 6502

    LCPepper

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2013
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #184
    SO

    I just spoke to Apple Support on the UK Apple website, telling them that I was buying the Apple Watch GPS+Cellular here to use on EE, but in a few months I am moving permanently to France (fake scenario). They confirmed that my Apple Watch would continue to work in France, of course, on a French contract with Orange (no roaming remember), and that at most I may have to do is do the pairing process between my iPhone and Apple Watch again.

    I've attached the screenshots!

    Transcript PAGE 1.png Transcript PAGE 2.png

    Debunked? This must demonstrate that it's region restricted due to bands, but not to individual countries of purchase...?

    What do we all think?
     
  10. cfrancklinbr macrumors newbie

    cfrancklinbr

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2017
    #185
    I emailed Crag Federighi and Phil Schiller (who fowarded to Eric Jue, Senior Vice-President Product Manager Apple Watch) about buying a LTE stainless steel Apple Watch in US and using it in other countries (in my case, Brazil).

    They said it'll work just fine using Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity, only LTE won't work.

    IMG_0010.PNG InkedIMG_0009_LI.jpg

    https://twitter.com/cfrancklin/status/909024334718603264
     
  11. tomnavratil macrumors 6502a

    tomnavratil

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    Litovel, Czech Republic
    #186
    I think the bands are the main thing, along with eSIM restrictions, no roaming. So as you describe, when you re-pair your new number with the Watch again it should work fine. I'm getting a version from Germany to use in the Czech Republic next year when it comes out. Thanks for digging into this, really appreciate it! :)
     
  12. ersan191, Sep 16, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2017

    ersan191 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2013
    #187
    Right, that makes the most sense. I meant more the carriers don't want to spend the time/money/energy supporting roaming on other networks - it is technically doable just requires them to come to agreements with other carriers (probably to get the various number sharing systems to work together) and they haven't made the effort.

    I actually found an article about why VoLTE roaming is not implemented yet:
    https://knect365.com/5g-virtualisat...a27f-571d29129892/challenges-of-volte-roaming

    It seems like all the carriers just can't agree on something.

    Data Roaming does work but I guess they don't want to disable phone calls when on another network or it would ruin the experience.
     
  13. nicho macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2008
    #188
    assuming you sent the same email to both... craig is absolutely useless (they aren't making a non-LTE SS, unless it's coming later...?), but that response from Eric Jue is great news.
     
  14. JeffyTheQuik macrumors 68020

    JeffyTheQuik

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    Charleston, SC and Everett, WA
    #189
    Makes me glad I don’t live in the Vatican, San Marino, Lichtenstein, Andorra, or Monaco.

    OK, re-looking at that list, maybe the :apple: Watch isn’t that big of a deal, as living in one of those places would not make me worry about the limitations of an LTE (in name only on T-Mobile) :apple: Watch, as I’ve been to some of them, and life is pretty good there!
     
  15. tomnavratil macrumors 6502a

    tomnavratil

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    #190
    Wohoo so my first Apple Watch ordered! Says 4-5 weeks due to the band (normal Sport one is 3-4) but hopefully will be sooner than that! Thanks everyone for help with the country issue, appreciate it! :)
     
  16. Jakob Knutsen macrumors newbie

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    Sep 3, 2017
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    Houtson, TX
    #191
    The point is that you are paying $400 for a watch has LTE functionality, but you get an hour of battery life w/ LTE, no roaming while paying $10/mo when you could buy an iPhone SE with a better OS, battery, # of LTE bands, screen, etc. Sure, it's just a watch but that doesn't make a good excuse why Apple couldn't have made a watch with more bands and more carriers worldwide.
     
  17. jhollington macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2008
    #192
    I think the real reason why Apple couldn't have made a watch with more bands is simply that it's pretty miraculous that they've managed to cram as much as they actually have into something the size of a watch.

    Consider how long it took Apple to produce a single model of iPhone that supported all of the LTE bands worldwide. There were eight distinct models of iPhone 5s, and even the iPhone 6 series had one "North American" version and one "global" version — and those are considerably larger devices than the Apple Watch :)

    I honestly think we're expecting too much here to assume that Apple could have managed to build all of the possible worldwide LTE bands into a single model of Apple Watch. Getting cellular radios to work efficiently can be a tricky thing (just look at the iPhone 4 debacle). Compromises had to be made somewhere, and creating separate models of the Apple Watch for different regions seems like a pretty reasonable compromise — especially when you consider that roaming isn't possible right now anyway, and the models are for pretty disparate regions — basically North America, China, and EU/Australia/Japan.
     
  18. Yakuzahi macrumors member

    Yakuzahi

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    Oct 10, 2010
    #193
    Don't forget that until now, the new iPad with the eSIM does not work with Verizon.
     
  19. Michaelgtrusa macrumors 604

    Michaelgtrusa

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  20. cfrancklinbr macrumors newbie

    cfrancklinbr

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    #195
    Exactly! I sent the same e-mail to both and that's exactly what I thought about Craig's answer :D:D
    Eric, on the other hand... :cool:
     
  21. jhollington macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2008
    #196
    He also nicely confirms that it's only the cellular frequencies that constrain Apple Watch Series 3 models to only working in certain countries. In other words, the U.S. model will work in Brazil once the carriers get on board, and should therefore also presumably work fine in Canada and Puerto Rico, meaning that — as many of us suspected — the information provided by Apple Support cited in the original article isn't entirely accurate.
     
  22. ersan191 macrumors member

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    Oct 26, 2013
    #197
    For what it's worth T-mobile recently walked back their decision to limit the watch to 512kb/s - they said it will have full access to 4G bandwidth now.
     
  23. cfrancklinbr macrumors newbie

    cfrancklinbr

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    #198
    Actually, I sent them another e-mail kind of correcting him about the frequencies.

    I also asked him about how would they sell the LTE model here since there are some Brazilian regulations that prevent two equipments using the same phone number at the same time, but this one I don't think they're gonna answer. :D:D

    Capturar.PNG
     
  24. porotrico macrumors member

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    Nov 6, 2007
    #199
    I assume that real limitations are only in UMTS (aka 3G) and LTE (aka 4G) bands. I am quite sure that Cellular Apple Watch from North America will work properly everywhere in the world when connected to the iPhone via Bluetooth like it would be without any cellular connectivity.

    Different story is when you want use cellular part in different countries than North American countries, let say in France (for now). Prerequisite is that you need local french service. I guess you can activate NA Apple Watch even in France, but it will be quite useless. The only band usable in France (and generally around the whole Europe) is 800 MHz. Europe uses different bands than NA uses. So, it probably will work, but I will be very limited.

    If you would buy Cellular Apple Watch from any EU country, you can use it everywhere around EU. Obviously Apple has signed contracts with only few carries around the EU, so for now you are limited to these carries in those countries.

    Problem with roaming is different. Like you can't use VoLTE in different countries, you can't roam with Apple Watch, since you have 1 phone number in two devices turned on concurrently. This is very uncommon and mobile carrier must to be prepared for this.
     
  25. charlituna macrumors G3

    charlituna

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    Los Angeles, CA
    #200
    if you look at the actual webpage apple published it appears that there's several models, set up regionally to cover the LTE bands needed in that region. so the US version has the bands for Canada and Puerto Rico as well. So yes you could one in the US while on vacation from Canada.
    the issue isn't the hardware but the carriers. they are requiring that the watch and phone be on the same service and they won't support roaming with the watch.
     

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