Using an iPhone 5 internationally

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by edmundpw, Oct 10, 2012.

  1. edmundpw macrumors newbie

    Dec 12, 2011
    I do a fair amount of international travel and typically have a local simcard to use in my iPhone wherever I am.

    When I upgraded from the 3GS to the 4, I had to get a whole load of new simcards and it seems like I'll be doing the same this time around.

    But I'm also a bit concerned that an iPhone I buy in one country may not be the same as an iPhone I buy in a different country and that when I try to use it, it may not work optimally with the local 4G network. I confess that I am completely ignorant of all the jargon here - GSM, CDMA, LTE, etc.

    So my question is whether I should (a) not worry about this at all, (b) buy my iPhone5 in Australia (where I live and spend most time), (c) buy it in the UK (my next most frequent destination), (d) stick to iPhone 4 or 4S.

    The countries I spend time in regularly (at least regularly enough to bother with a local simcard) are, in descending order of time spent ...


    Thanks in advance for any advice/help!
  2. ET iPhone Home macrumors 68040

    ET iPhone Home

    Oct 5, 2011
    Orange County, California USA
    I heard the iPhone 5 was not a world phone, whatever that means. So glad I have my 4S as I travel to similar countries as you.
  3. Bruins Fan macrumors member

    Bruins Fan

    Oct 8, 2012
    Boston, MA
    This link might help a bit. I believe all iPhone 5's will work on the 3G networks in Europe, but not necessarily all LTE networks. Not sure about Australia.
  4. edmundpw thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 12, 2011
    Yes, I saw that. But it's not a page designed for international users, really - ie people wanting to use the same phone in different countries. I tried asking in the Apple Store yesterday, but I don't trust the answer I got - in fact I don't think they understood the question.
  5. bcaslis macrumors 68020

    Mar 11, 2008
    Get the Verizon iPhone 5. Believe it or not this has the most compatible bands for the countries you listed. And all Verizon iPhone 5 are GSM unlocked right out of the box.
  6. moosquared macrumors regular


    Nov 10, 2010
    I don't own an iPhone 5, yet. But to my knowledge, iPhone 5 is a world phone (with the exception on the LTE). If you buy the GSM version, the phone should work with other GSM network worldwide. You may not be able to use the LTE speed, but you can still use 3G.

    I'm assuming you're using GSM in Australia and since you reside mostly in Australia, get the A1429 Model. It's also compatible with LTE in UK.

    To my knowledge, apple hasn't sold the "officially unlocked" version of iPhone 5. But some buyers said that it's unlocked if you buy it off contract. Not sure how it is in Australia though. You can wait a month or two for the official release, or buy one now, check if it's locked/unlocked. If apple refuses to unlock it, you can go to eBay and pay $10 for someone to unlock it. :D
  7. edmundpw thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 12, 2011
    Thanks moosquared!

    Apple in Australia sells unlocked iPhone5s outright. I assume it must be the model you suggest, as the others apparently don't support LTE in Australia.
  8. Mliii macrumors 65816


    Jan 28, 2006
    Southern California
    If you don't care about LTE speeds, you can use an iPhone 5 on 3g HSPA+ nearly anywhere.
    If you are looking to get LTE speeds, that's a very different scenario. There are so many variations on the LTE frequencies used worldwide that it's just not practical at this point for Apple to have a truly "World" phone for LTE.
  9. danzzz macrumors member

    Feb 27, 2008
    As long as you are able to get the nano sim card in those countries (or get a cutter from eBay for $10)...AND have you iPhone 5 "factory" unlocked, you are fine.

    My dad took his iPhone 5 to a couple of Asian countries and it works perfectly (he used the cutter to cut the regular sim cards to nano size).
  10. m0no macrumors regular

    Jan 8, 2009
    bcalis is correct. I chose the Verizon version for the same reason.
  11. patrickbarnes macrumors regular

    Sep 24, 2012
    The UK iPhone is identical to the Australian iPhone.

    The "most" (hehe) world phone is the Verizon iPhone 5 since it can use LTE bands in the US, Japan, Australia and Europe (but not Canada).

    If you don't care about getting LTE in the US (and quite frankly, Verizon is only decent when you have 5 bars of LTE -- it's a big shock coming from a good network like Telstra or even AT&T "4G" when dropping down to "3G") then the AU iPhone will be perfectly fine on AT&T "4G" there.

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