Questions re: buying unlocked iPhone in Belgium

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by kittenbutt, Sep 2, 2008.

  1. kittenbutt macrumors newbie

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    #1
    I happen to be traveling around the world at the moment and am in the enviable position of being able to go just about anywhere I need to go to get an unlocked iPhone from a country that sells them -- right now, though, it seems that Belgium is the only country that allows you to buy an iPhone with no contract, is that correct, anyone who knows?

    Does anyone know the answers to the following questions? I've looked around, but can't find the answers, I'm hoping someone here will be able to let me know!

    1) Do I need a local Belgian address to buy in Belgium? Be a citizen of the EU? Any other visa/passport/locality issues?
    2) Is it actually true that I can buy the iPhone directly from Mobistar without getting a contract, or do they require a contract and then a way to buy yourself out of the contract?
    3) Does anyone know for sure if the phone will work in other countries? I have been seeing conflicting accounts.
    4) Do I have to have the Belgian version of iTunes, or will my US version work with the Belgian phone?
    5) Any other issues I'm not thinking of?

    Thanks for any answers or input anyone has! I really want to use the iPhone, if only to cut down on the amount of stuff I have to carry while traveling. I travel around the world a lot, mainly between the US and the UK, and having a phone that can only roam internationally when I spend 6 to 8 months out of the US is impossible for me to afford...
     
  2. FlexPen76 macrumors regular

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    Sep 18, 2007
    #2
    Italy is your best bet. AFAIK, the only hassle getting the thing is actually finding one. Reports say they happily sell to country visitors with out issues.

    This webpage should give you more info: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1937
     
  3. jaggunothing macrumors regular

    jaggunothing

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    #3
    Italy, Belgium, Hongkong are unlocked handsets. France buy the phone and then request for an unlock at 100 Euro charge.
     
  4. kittenbutt thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #4
    Thanks for the info -- I was under the impression that in Hong Kong you have to go under contract to get the phone? I'll go look up the Italian info, though, so thanks for that -- still would like to know re: Belgian info, though, if anyone knows the answers. :)
     
  5. virtona macrumors newbie

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    Sep 3, 2008
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    Belgium
    #5
    You don't need a Belgian address or passport. Just be a human and take the money with you will work. But there is one problem, it's hard to find an iPhone 3G because of stock problems. Stock problems are discussed in this Dutch forum thread:
    http://www.google.com/translate?u=h...aad-belgie-31.html&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&sl=nl&tl=en

    Yes, you can buy an iPhone in a "Mobistar shop" or in a "Apple Premium Reseller" without contract. You can even ask to put your own SIM card in the iPhone and they'll activate your new iPhone in the shop.

    The Belgian iPhone 3G is "factory unlocked" so it will work with every sim worldwide. But some Mobistar salesmen are lying about that fact, because they preferably sell iPhones with a contract.

    The Belgian iPhone 3G is factory unlocked so it will work.
    Just one more thing about stock problems: You could be lucky to find an iPhone 3G if you try a Mobistar shop in West-Flanders or in the Walloon Region.
    See http://www.mobistar.be/nl/e-services/page/posa
     
  6. kittenbutt thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #6
    Virtona, you are as a god to me. :D Thanks for that. Now hopefully none of that will change before I can get to Belgium, ala Germany or wherever else, and hopefully they'll get in stock by then! (I can get to Belgium a lot easier than I can to Italy...in about a month or so.)
     
  7. iCantwait macrumors 65816

    iCantwait

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    #7
    W(hy)TF does belgium get all the attention?

    AUSTRALIA, DAMMIT.

    AU$900 NOT EU... CHEAP in comparison.

    ... PM me :) *cough*A$1300*cough*
     
  8. goosnarrggh macrumors 68000

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    May 16, 2006
    #8
    Judging by the link in FlexPen76's post, it appears that among European countries, iPhones are sold over the counter without a carrier lock in the Czech Republic, Greece, Italy, and Slovakia.

    Additionally, it appears to be possible to arrange with the carrier to obtain an authorized iPhone unlock in the following European countries: Switzerland, Spain, Romania, Portugal, Poland, Norway, Liechtenstein, Hungary, France, Estonia, and Austria.

    Of course, as was noted previously, there's still the issue of identifying countries where you don't need to sign on to a long term contract when you buy the phone. In principle, this is distinct from the question of whether or not it is available unlocked or is officially unlockable.

    Virtona, I'm curious about where this, because according to Apple's website (link in FlexPen76's post), Belgium's iPhone is carrier locked, and there is no indication of an option to have it unlocked. This seems strange to me, because I seem to recall having heard that Belgium had a law prohibiting the sale of a cellphone from being bundled with the purchase of a service contract. But I cannot locate an English translation of the law right now to refresh my memory about it, and about what implications it might have on the permissibility of selling a phone with a SIM lock.
     
  9. kittenbutt thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #9
    LOL! Oddly enough, ICantWait, I happen to be in Sydney at the moment. But insofar as I can see, you have to sign a contract to buy the iPhone here in Aus, and I was told yesterday that in fact I had to have a student visa or residency to buy an iPhone here...don't I? :) I'll PM you, I'll PM you. :)
     
  10. kittenbutt thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #10
    Or rather, I'll PM you when I've accrued enough posts and enough time as a member to do so, anyway. :)
     
  11. kittenbutt thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #11
    ICantWait, I'm still waiting on being able to PM someone, so would you mind giving me some answers to the following questions, since you say that Aus is a good place to buy an unlocked iPhone?

    1) Do I need a local Aus address to buy in Australia? Be a citizen of Aus? Any other visa/passport/locality issues?
    2) Can I buy the iPhone directly from one of the three carriers without getting a contract, or do they require a contract and then a way to buy yourself out of the contract?
    3) Does anyone know for sure if the phone will work in other countries? I have been seeing conflicting accounts.
    4) Do I have to have an Aus version of iTunes, or will my US version work with the Aus phone?
    5) Any other issues I'm not thinking of?

    I've talked to two sales people now at two different carriers, who informed me I *had* to buy a contract and can't buy a phone outright and then buy out of the contract, and you have to bring proof of a contract in to buy from the Apple store...so...that was why I wasn't going to buy in Aus, because apparently I can't!
     
  12. Bambeezer macrumors regular

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    Dallas, TX
    #12
    What does the Belgian iphone cost? I may need to reach out to my former employees over there.....
     
  13. kittenbutt thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #13
    Expensive. Because there's no exclusive agreement, they can't offer an assisted price or whatever you call it, and Mobistar offers them at (last I checked) something like 500-600 euros.

    I haven't found any info on official resellers yet, as right now I'm trying to do the ROI for buying an iPhone that I can actually use while travelling. My ideal scenario is to have a laptop available to me at home base in the US and a laptop at my base in the UK/Europe, and the iPhone (or something like it) for everywhere else, because I only need email and browser access while on the road. (I have specialty software I need while working, otherwise.)

    Moreover, I'm waiting to see whether the rumours of fixes on the 9th will come true.:rolleyes:
     
  14. ishopukisfake macrumors regular

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    #14
    I think your best waiting another 2 weeks until the pay as you go iphone comes out here in the uk. I've heard that some phones are unlocked to any carrier by are locked to only using numbers of that country, so there could be a compatibility issue if you buy a handset outside of country, then use a different countries sim card in it.
    Also there could be troubles accessing the data and internet, if you don't get the iphone unlimited data the price of surfing the net could get very expensive, and thats separate from calls, so no sure how just plugging in any normal sim card would work with using data and web.
     
  15. kittenbutt thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #15
    This is what I mean by conflicting information/accounts, I guess.

    Anyone out there who has used a different country SIM in a factory unlocked iPhone? Did it work, yes or no? Looking for actual "i've done it" rather than "I've heard"!

    A phone that is locked to a country is of no use to me. I spend about 6 months in the US and 6 months in the UK/Europe, and having a phone that requires international roaming half the year is not a possibility for me financially.
     
  16. fedup flyer macrumors regular

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    #16

    I am in the same boat. I just accepted a job in the UAE and I will be 50/50 split between there and the US.
     
  17. virtona macrumors newbie

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    Belgium
    #17
    Belgian mobile operator Mobistar is lying:
    http://www.depl0y.com/personal/mobistar-youre-lying
     
  18. Mr. Brown macrumors member

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    #18
    8GB - €525
    16GB - €615
     
  19. kittenbutt thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #19
    Bless your paws and whiskers, virtona! I really am thinking I'll end up with a Belgian phone unless I find a way to get a factory unlocked Aus phone without a contract. Good excuse to go to Belgium again, I really loved it the first and last time I was there, such a beautiful country. Thanks again!
     
  20. jaggunothing macrumors regular

    jaggunothing

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    #20
    kitten: buy from Optus and request for an unlock by paying around 100 AUD, they will send the unlock info withing a week. They have buy as you go/prepaid option IIRC

    http://personal.optus.com.au/web/oc.../mobile/iphone3G/yesiphoneplans&site=personal

    Handset Locking: The Apple iPhone 3G is locked to the Optus network. Optus can only unlock iPhones purchased from an Optus outlet within Australia. For Mobile Account customers only who wish to use their iPhone on another network, please call Optus on 133 713. Optus 3G/HSPA/'yes'G Service: 1. To access Optus 3G services on iPhone, you must be in an Optus 3G/HSPA/'yes'G coverage area and have an Optus 3G/HSPA SIM card. 2. The Apple iPhone is a UMTS2100 band handset and will provide you with access to 3G/HSPA services in Optus 3G/HSPA 2100MHz service areas. Outside these areas, the iPhone will access the Optus GSM/GPRS network. The Apple iPhone will not provide you with access to 3G services in Optus ‘yes’G service areas where a dual band (UMTS2100/UMTS900) 3G/HSPA handset is required. 3. For coverage details on 3G/HSPA and ‘yes’G please see www.optus.com.au/coverage. 4. Actual network speeds both upload and download may vary depending on the type of device in use, location and the number of users accessing the network at the time. Speeds refer to maximum download speeds. Upload speeds will be lower than download speeds.
     
  21. kittenbutt thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #21
    Jaggunothing, when I went into an Optus store the other day, they told me I had to have an Aus address AND valid ID or student/resident visa to buy from them...lying to me, maybe? At any rate, he refused to sell to me, basically.
     
  22. LastZion macrumors 6502a

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    #22
    I just purchased an unlocked iphone from Italy. I sold my 2G iphone (that had a small crack and was dropped in a bucket of water (disclosed) for 450Euros. So it was a no brainer for me, Cost 569 Euros, so net, 119Euros for a brand new, not cracked/wet iphone.

    Regardless of my story, I put in my Canadian SIM card and was up and running in 1-2 minutes. Just updating away now :).
     
  23. lamadude macrumors 6502

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    Jan 12, 2006
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    Brussels, BE
    #23
    I live in Belgium and have bought an iPhone 3G here, I use it with the proximus network (Belgian provider) but I have also tried it with an old German T-mobile sim card that I had lying around here from back when I was studying in Germany and yes it DOES work. You can use the Belgian iPhone with any sim card worldwide.
    You're not required to sign any contract, you can just walk out the store with the iPhone, however I'm not sure if Mobistar has them in stock right now, haven't checked.
     
  24. Bambeezer macrumors regular

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    #24
    Kortrijk!!

    I lived out of the Hotel Messeyne a few summers ago. Loved that town.
     
  25. kittenbutt thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #25
    Thanks for the tips, guys -- I'm thinking of seeing what happens if I walk into an Optus store and just start buying without asking questions and give them the address of my friends we're staying with...but Belgium and Italy remain good options for if it doesn't work out here.

    Of course, the other factor is that with all the cracks and pixel problems I've been hearing about with the 3G, it might actually be good to wait til the 9th on that, and maybe still try for the Belgian phone for preference, because I can get to Belgium easiest from the UK in the case of having to replace the phone if there's problems...:cool:

    ETA: And I guess it's actually good that the 3G stocks are going so quickly. That means that Apple has a chance to address the cracking problem and such, right? And more chance to get one where perhaps that's true, as they replenish stock...? :)
     

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