iPhone 5 LTE and international roaming

Discussion in 'Travel Technology' started by viguera, Sep 13, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    I figured since this hasn't been mentioned before, it's worth posting about it, because sooner or later someone is gonna come asking. :)

    The issue of the new nano-SIM notwithstanding, there seem to be some important things to consider with the new iPhone when traveling. The phone will come in three different flavors because of the different LTE frequencies used by different carriers.

    SKU A1428 is the GSM model and works in the with AT&T in the US and Rogers / Bell / Telus in Canada.

    SKU A1429 comes in a CDMA variant and works with Verizon / Sprint in the US and KDDI in Japan. The GSM A1429 works in Europe and Asia.

    This is extremely important because if you consider buying an unlocked model overseas (A1429) it won't work with AT&T's LTE network in the US or any of the Canadian carriers. It will still work with HSPA+ (what has been horribly misnamed "4G" by some carriers) but not LTE.

    By the same token, the GSM A1428 doesn't support the same bands as the European/Asian version, so if you're roaming you will do so without LTE.

    And it appears that the Verizon/Sprint version of the iPhone 5 will support the same bands as the GSM version (2100 / 1800 / 850) but it's not clear whether they will allow global LTE roaming or if the device will be unlocked for traveling abroad -- knowing them, they'll probably allow you to, for an astronomical fee.

    http://www.apple.com/iphone/LTE/
     
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  2. adambadam
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    adambadam Silver Member

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    Getting the AT&T locked version here. I wouldn't be too surprised if there is a little more convergence with frequencies over the coming year, internationally, as LTE grows worldwide, but I wouldn't plan on buying a phone on that theory. Then again with the way the carriers bend you over for international roaming charges I have no plans to use LTE abroad any time soon.
     
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  3. anabolism
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    anabolism Gold Member

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    If you're buying a locked (discounted under contract) iPhone, then I suspect data roaming capabilities don't matter much, because of the eye-watering roaming charges.

    If you're buying an unlocked (full price) iPhone, then you have the ability to change the SIM based on where you are. My partner has an unlocked 3G (purchased in NZ) that he uses on a prepay TMO SIM in the U.S. and a Passport SIM outside North America. Some people buy prepaid SIMs in each country.

    Will a Vzw/Sprint iPhone 5 work on LTE in Europe with a local SIM? The Apple page doesn't say it will, despite being the same bands.

    Those considering dropping $700-$800 on a new phone want to know what data service they can get where.

    Sent from my iPod Touch using milepoint
     
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  4. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    I have an unlocked iPhone 4 now, plus eight microsims to get me local access where i need it. It seems that the 5 will be OK, as long as the nano-sims will be available. My local carriers in Brazil, Greece, Italy, France and Russia have all announced that they're selling nano-sims despite not having the phone yet. No word yet on the US (I have T-Mobile there). The LTE issue bugs me, especially when combined with the turn-by-turn limitations on the mapping and the POI limitations too. I am comfortable all that will be worked out during the next year, but I wish it were all done now.
     
  5. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    Ask, and you shall receive... :)

    http://www.engadget.com/2012/09/14/t-mobile-usa-nano-sim-poses-for-the-camera-may-arrive-in-october/
     
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  6. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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