Questions about iPhone 4G, ETFs and moving overseas

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by brown.eyed.girl, Jun 20, 2010.

  1. brown.eyed.girl macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2008
    #1
    Hi all,

    I have some questions and I would appreciate your opinions and advice!

    So I am a current AT&T iPhone 3G customer and would like to upgrade to the iPhone 4G. The problem is, I may be moving to South Korea (fingers crossed I get the job) in the fall. My questions are:

    1) If I get the iPhone 4G now, do you think I would be able to get out of the ETF by showing documentation that I am leaving the country? As far as I know, I won't be able to get service in Korea due to the iPhone not being able to lock onto any of their strictly controlled phone networks.

    2) If it does work, will I need to jailbreak my iPhone in Korea to use all the (non-phone) features?

    3) All the features minus phone and text should work on Wi-fi, right? So I would have a glorified iPod Touch but with the front-facing camera, ability to surf the net, send e-mails, and Skype - as long as it's on a Wi-fi network? So I should still be able to use it, right?

    I would definitely appreciate any insights you could give me on these questions. I missed the pre-order so I still have a few days to decide if I'm going to upgrade when 4G comes out.

    If I do move to Korea, I won't be able to get a Korea iPhone there because I would need to be a Korean and have a Korean credit card, most likely, to sign up. So to get an iPhone 4G, I'd have to get it here in the US.

    What do you think?

    Thanks much!

    -B.E.G.
     
  2. FlashHead macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2010
    #2
    Wow, where to start. I have been looking into this extensively. I work in South Korea about six months out of the year. I've always just carried a dumb phone and a first gen iPod Touch, because I've had the same concerns you've had. I knew it was finally time to upgrade with the announcement of ios 4 and multitasking. I also knew I had to have the iPhone 4 because it would be the ideal iPod Touch.

    So, to the answer...You're not going to get away with paying only the subsidized price for an iPhone ($299 for a 32 gb for example). The best and cheapest way to do this is to order the phone with the two year contract and if this job happens, you can suspend your service at a cost of only $10 a month. That means 299 + tax for the iPhone, one month of service (55 is the lowest combined price) and then 230 for the 10 a month over he next 23 months.

    You will keep your phone number and have your service turned on and off as you like in the U.S., and will still be able to use wifi and all the features of the other features of the phone, as an ideal iPod Touch.

    In addition, You should look into the WiBro Egg form KT (a 4G, mouse sized, mobile hotspot, similar to several products in the states, but 4G. KT = Korean Telecom). If you can get this, perhaps with he help of a Korean (it may have some of the buying restrictions of the iPhone, but I,ve just started looking into this- I personally don't have a great need for this since ther is wifi everywhere I go here, if you can get it you would have a virtual working iPhone with addition of Skype and or Whistle.

    Please PM me if you have any more questions, or even about living in Korea.

    best of luck to you.
     
  3. pika2000 macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2007
    #3
    Wouldn't it be easier to just wait till July, go to Hong Kong, and buy the unlocked iPhone 4 there?
     
  4. FlashHead macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2010
    #4
    No. It's not like it's just around the corner. I've looked into it before and it's like a thousand dollar flight. Plus, even buying it unsubsidized in the States is more expensive.


     
  5. hcho3 macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    May 13, 2010
    #5
    I am not sure why you have to be a korean to get a korea phone...
    Are we talking about south korea or North Korea here? If you talking about SSN or credits, then I would understand. But, I don't see why they would reject you because you are from different country. South korea will ask you to sign up for 2 years contact as well for your iphone.
     
  6. FlashHead macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2010
    #6
    It's understandable statement if you haven't been here. We are talking about South Korea, and you do need both a Korean Credit Card and a foreigner's Card. If you want to think of it as something like a Green Card in the States, or a temporary Social Security number you would be in the right ballpark. The problem is that most of us who travel here get Business Visas (C-4) which does not give you the standing you need to get the service. You would think a credit card should be all it takes, it's not. You can buy an unsubsidized phone here for 900,00 Thousand Won (that's for 3GS - not sure if the iPhone 4 will be the same), currently about $750, but you won't ever be able to use it in the States as a phone and you still can't Telephone or Data service here without the proper documents.

    The OP was 100% right with her assessment and concerns. I have been spending on average 6 months a year in Korea since 2004.
     
  7. vijay007 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 17, 2007
    #7
    If you are relocating permanently to a country where AT&T does not have service (through tie-ups), you can get your ETF waived off by sending the 1st month phone bill from that country. Few of my friends have gone back to India and have done this without any issues until this January,

    But, I read in someplace that AT&T has changed their 'Terms of Service' recently and would not allow this anymore :( You may want to give them a call.
     
  8. brown.eyed.girl thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2008
    #8
    Thank you everyone for replying! I really appreciate it.

    Flashhead, thanks for letting me know about the service suspension (depending on how long I'm there, it may be cheaper than paying the ETF now that AT&T has raised it) and the WiBro. What an awesome idea. How is Wi-Fi service in Korea generally? Is it easy to find Wi-Fi access points, like in the US, where it's at pretty much every Borders, B&N, Starbucks and such?

    Pika, unfortunately a trip to HK is not in the works for the foreseeable future.

    Hcho, apparently the telecoms are pretty strict about foreigners and foreign phones. My iPhone won't work there because it won't be registered to any of the telecoms, and it'll be hard to get a phone probably. Maybe if I live and work there long enough, but probably not right when I arrive. Additionally, I don't really want a contract phone and plan in Korea. I'd rather buy a cheap pay-as-you-go phone and use my computer or iPhone (via Wi-Fi) for overseas calls via Skype. Japan has a similar restrictive policy when I lived there a couple years ago, and I just got a pay-as-you-go phone there too and used it mostly for texting, while using my computer for overseas calling.

    Vijay, thanks for the info. I will definitely go research more and check out the new ToS. It would definitely be a bummer if they won't let me out of the ETF.

    Bah maybe I should just get an iPad, despite the fact that between my MBP and my Kindle and iPhone 3G I really don't need one. I do like retaining my phone number by suspending service, since I'll be periodically returning to the US and I'm not entirely sure how long I'd be working in Korea if I got the job.
     
  9. huskerwr38 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2008
    #9
    So my brother moved to South Korea for a job in November and they let him out of his contract without an ETF. However, I just moved as well to Nebraska and where I live is a listed dead zone, I have absolutely zero service. So I called AT&T to cancel my phone and they won't let me out without an ETF and I told them about my brother and the guy was like, we hear that all the time, people move to other countries to get out of their contracts so we had to change our policies. So I was said, you think people actually move out of the country, which cost thousands of dollars and time, just to get out of their contracts? The AT&T guy was like, you wouldn't believe the things people would do. I just don't believe that people move out of the country just to get out of their cell phone contract.

    Anyways, I don't think you'll be able to get out of it. However, you can have my contract with 18 months left on it and the ETF is $150!!
     
  10. s4yunkim macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2009
    #10
    Hi there, I live in South Korea and I actually work for a foreigner support center in Seoul, lemme see if I can tackle your questions~


    1) If I get the iPhone 4G now, do you think I would be able to get out of the ETF by showing documentation that I am leaving the country? As far as I know, I won't be able to get service in Korea due to the iPhone not being able to lock onto any of their strictly controlled phone networks.


    When I originally moved to Korea (in the summer of 2008), I owned an original iPhone and they canceled my contract without having to pay the ETF for the remainder of my contract. I was required to send in a utility bill from Korea that had my English name printed on it, which can be difficult to come across as most utilities are under your building's name.

    When had my brother buy and ship me an iPhone 3gs, they would not let me get away without paying an ETF.



    2) If it does work, will I need to jailbreak my iPhone in Korea to use all the (non-phone) features?

    No, you can use everything (minus the phone and text features) by connecting to any wifi hotspot available, without jailbreaking. Essentially you'll have an iPhone 4 spec-ed iPod touch with a camera.


    3) All the features minus phone and text should work on Wi-fi, right? So I would have a glorified iPod Touch but with the front-facing camera, ability to surf the net, send e-mails, and Skype - as long as it's on a Wi-fi network? So I should still be able to use it, right?


    Yep.


    I would definitely appreciate any insights you could give me on these questions. I missed the pre-order so I still have a few days to decide if I'm going to upgrade when 4G comes out.

    If I do move to Korea, I won't be able to get a Korea iPhone there because I would need to be a Korean and have a Korean credit card, most likely, to sign up. So to get an iPhone 4G, I'd have to get it here in the US.




    If you come to Korea, you'll be eligible to sign up for at least a basic 1 year contract and simple phone. The iPhone 4 is supposed to be released here in July, so if you plan on staying here longer than a year you may be eligible to get one. (From what I've seen, prices will be similar to what it costs in the US)

    You dont necesarily have to be Korean, but it makes it a lot easier to have a Korean friend go and get it for you. You dont need to have a credit card in Korea to get a cell phone, but you do need a bank account as most carriers bill via auto debit. The only requirement for a bank account is a passport.





    I've had a lot of people call me about buying iPhones and bringing them to Korea, and the best option I've been able to come up with is to either buy a factory unlocked iPhone 4 off ebay (~$1200 or so USD), having it shipped to you, then pay to have it certified for use within Korea (~$500, takes about 3 weeks to have certification done). That is, if it's REALLY important to you that you have an unlocked iPhone 4 to use between the states and Korea.

    If you're a regular consumer, and you're going to be in Korea for at least a year, it's generally cheaper and more sensible to buy (or have a friend buy for you), a Korean iPhone 4. Sure, it'll be locked to KT (Korea Telecom, the only carrier that carries the iPhone here), but there will be a new iPhone out around this time next year anyway, so get a new one when you get back to the US.


    Hope that helps, let me know if you have any more questions.
     
  11. jjw415 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2010
    #11
    Your best choices, brown-eyed girl ... if you still want to use your iPhone as a phone in South Korea (versus only like an iPod Touch) ... are likely -
    1. If sure you will be living in South Korea for some time, then just buy a new iPhone there and do the normal contract with the South Korean carrier so you do not have to pay the unsubsidised price.
    2. If not very sure regarding your future residence, buy an unlocked iPhone 4 and pay the extra cost. Since an unlocked iPhone cannot be yet purchased in the States (yes, you can buy one without an AT&T contract for a higher price and then do a month-to-month payment scheme with AT&T, but sadly the phone will still be SIM-locked to AT&T), I simply had a friend in a country where they do sell an unlocked iPhone 4 buy me one there and mail it to me. To get the best price in this regard, it seems that Canada is preferable to the UK or elsewhere, because the exchange rate will be better for you. I think an unlocked 16GB iPhone 4 from Canada will cost you the equivalent of about $635 USD, which is quite dear indeed - but then you get to use everywhere in the world there is a standard GSM carrier. No Canadian friend, or don't live close to the Canadian border? Try a friend in the UK or France.
     
  12. soh12 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2012
    #12
    Moving iPhone 4g from US to Korea

    I am also moving to South Korea next month, and am wondering if the rules have changed since 2010. I have iPhone 4g, and am wondering if it's possible for me to keep my phone, cancel my contract with Verizon, and start a new contract in Korea?

    Since I just bought the phone this year, I'd like to hold onto it rather than buy a whole new phone in Korea.

    Any information from you experts would be helpful!
     
  13. cruisencode macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2009
  14. martiansoldier macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2010
    #14
    If you know you are leaving the country in a few months, why sign a contract in the first place? From what I read here, AT&T doesn't cancel ETF's anymore for those leaving the country before the 2 year AT&T contract expires. That being the case, the OP is likely to pay upwards of $275.00 in ETF to cancel the contract and still end up with a locked AT&T phone that can't be used in Korea. If I were the OP, I'd buy an unlocked iPhone 4S from Apple at full price and get month to month service with AT&T w/o a contract for now and when it comes time to head to kimchi land, I'd cancel the month to month service with AT&T, take my unlocked iPhone 4S to Korea and get prepaid service or month to month service there from a local carrier like SK Telecom.

    But again, that's just me.
     

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