iPhone in Europe for extended time - use a local carrier?

inZania

New Member
Apr 21, 2009
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0
#1
Hey all,

I'm doing an extended (3 month) tour of Europe (France, Germany, Italy, Greece, London) this summer. I need a phone while I'm there and I'd like to use my iPhone, naturally. But using my AT&T SIM card and paying international rates just seems silly. Is there any way I can use a local carrier while I'm there? I'd obviously be fine with buying a local SIM card and paying whatever pay-as-you-go or whatnot fees. I don't care about the 3G/Edge data so much, I just need a phone number that I can use without paying a lot. I just want to figure out the best way to do this before I get over there and end up paying tons of extra fees =\

Thanks!
 

MrEous

Member
Silver
Dec 11, 2008
649
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Dallas, TX
#2
If it were me I wouldn't worry about using a phone there...not unless it was very important.

...but I don't know anyone there and see no negativity with using a payphone or calling card.
 

inZania

New Member
Apr 21, 2009
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0
0
#3
If it were me I wouldn't worry about using a phone there...not unless it was very important.

...but I don't know anyone there and see no negativity with using a payphone or calling card.
Well if I could get by without a phone I would certainly be going that route. However, I'll not only be traveling with friends but meeting up with friends in different countries. I'll need to be able to call them and have them get a hold of me. The payphone/calling card route would work for outgoing calls, but since they also need to get a hold of me...

I mean, really, I won't be using the phone very much. I suppose I could just suffer the international costs... but I'd rather not.
 

Marianne

Zealot
Moderator
Jul 16, 2007
2,326
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Massachusetts
marianneschultz.com
#4
In order to use the SIM card from another carrier in your iPhone, you'll need to unlock it. If your 3G iPhone is running the latest 2.2.1 firmware, then it cannot be unlocked via software at the present. If you're running an earlier firmware version, search our iPhone Modifications forum for information on how to unlock it.

If you can unlock it, you can simply remove your AT&T SIM card when you leave the country and then buy pre-paid SIM cards when you arrive in Europe. I was in Spain earlier this year and was able to find pre-paid cards with data plans that allowed me to use my iPhone there just as I can in the U.S. with my AT&T SIM card.
 

Youngbinks

Zealot
Gold
Jun 4, 2007
7,617
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Atlanta, Georgia
#5
Macgirl has pointed you to the right direction. I sometimes use a local SIM card when traveling overseas (other times I just use the AT&T International plan) and it is relatively easy. Just unlock the phone and you can choose any local SIM card you want. I got one that had 50 minutes (or so) but unlimited free incoming calls. It worked out really well.
 
Apr 25, 2009
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#6
The other thing you could is buy a cheap phone outright, over there. Surely you can do that in Europe. In Australia you can get a cheapy for $A80 - $A90, buy a prepaid SIM card and off you go. They work OS too. My friend bought a cheap phone here, traveled to Hong Kong and bought a prepaid SIM there and was making calls as soon as it was activated.

There's even some older Nokias such as the 3120 that are highly functional, Bluetooth, mP3 player, ability to use SD card etc that are available second hand (see ebay).

I understand I might be incorrectly assuming that this is possible in the US.

You can still take your iPhone with you just take the SIM out so that you won't be tempted to make calls. You can always use the WiFi by hooking into a free, open nework. That also enables you to use VOIP as well, so check out possibilities there.