Need help with using US iPhone 3g in Germany

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by daryn1979, Feb 24, 2009.

  1. daryn1979 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2008
    Location:
    St. Paul, MN
    #1
    Hello! I just moved back to Germany and I'm trying to use my US iPhone 3g here. I lived here for a year about 8 months ago and used a US 2g iPhone without much problems, but I'm totally confused on how to use the 3g.

    I went to the t-Mobile store tonight after work and asked them about their pre-paid iPhone plan, and they of course tried selling me their iPhone. I showed them mine and they went on and on about their iPhone being a "special" version and I cannot use mine here. I told them that I had no problems using their regular (non-prepaid) contract when I was here before and that I have never heard of apple making "special" country or carrier-specific iPhones. In an effort to close the store for the night, they sold me the same prepaid card they had in one of their prepaid iPhones and said that it should probably work then after I connect it to iTunes. I brought it home and- no such luck. All I get in iTunes is an error message stating that the SIM card is not supported and to insert the SIM that came with my device.

    Does anyone here have any experience with this situation? I'd prefer to use the pre-paid service because I'll be traveling a lot and would rather not have to pay 60 Euro a month when I'm not using 60 Euro's worth of service.

    BTW- I have the latest baseband, so I can't use yellowsnow. Maybe my best bet is to get a sim adapter, but I'd like to have this phone relatively hack-free (I've gone the hacking route before and just prefer a totally legit phone)

    Sorry for the long-winded question- thanks in advance for any help!!!
     
  2. bytethese macrumors 68030

    bytethese

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2007
    Location:
    Cranford, NJ
    #2
    Your iPhone is locked to AT&T. You have the latest baseband and can't unlock with yellowsn0w. Not sure what else you need. :) In contrast, the original iPhone was different and can still be unlocked pretty easily.

    I suppose you can try those hardware hacks with rogue SIMs, unfortunately I do not have experience with these. Good luck!
     
  3. daryn1979 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2008
    Location:
    St. Paul, MN
    #3
    So if I'm understanding you, all US iPhones are locked exclusively to AT&T and all German iPhones are locked to T-mobile? I don't mean for that question to come off as me sounding like an idiot, but I find that really hard to believe! I say that only because with the 2G, I was able to just call customer service and they babbled on and on about US and German iPhones being exclusive to their respective countries, but after a few more calls, they sent a couple SMS messages (and I'm assuming an OTA update) and my phone worked just fine with t-mobile.

    I guess that if you're correct, I have three options: 1) go push for a new iPhone plan without a new phone and see if they can do it again, 2) get a new iPhone and new plan, or 3) wait until yellowsnow gets updated and try my luck there.
     
  4. r6girl Administrator/Editor

    r6girl

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2003
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    #4
    This is correct. Apple has posted this list of iPhone carriers by country, and the 4th column in this table shows the countries where the iPhones are sold locked to the respective carrier. As you can see from Apple's own list, there aren't many countries where they are sold unlocked.

    Your other option is to downgrade the firmware so you can use yellowsn0w, yet I have not tried this myself and am not sure if you can roll back the baseband by doing this to make it unlockable...
     
  5. bytethese macrumors 68030

    bytethese

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2007
    Location:
    Cranford, NJ
    #5
    Yes, that's why you signed a 2yr contract with the iPhone 3G. :) The original iPhone was also subject to a 2yr contract but they may have been able to unlock easier, similar to unlocking a Blackberry device.

    Unfortunately this is not an option. You can downgrade the firmware, but not the baseband.
     
  6. goosnarrggh macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    May 16, 2006
    #6
    But it is entirely true.

    With the 3G iPhone, as with the 2G iPhone, Apple does have a mechanism available by which they can unlock your iPhone over the Internet via some work in their back-end databases and a synch with iTunes.

    Officially, Apple will only provide such a service upon request from the carrier to which the iPhone was locked in the first place, and many carriers around the world choose not to offer this option. The list of carriers who offer this option is indicated in the fifth column of the table r6girl linked to.

    It is possible that, in the case of your 2G iPhone, a rogue customer service agent might have caved under too much hassle, and unlocked your 2G iPhone against corporate AT&T's policy.

    It has also historically been possible to hack the iPhone's firmware to unlock it yourself. For the moment, the most recent combination of OS and cellular radio firmware versions for the 3G iPhone has not been hacked yet to allow unlocking by unauthorized means - but it is likely only a matter of time before somebody figures it out.
     

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