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Is my iPhone 4S compatible for International Travel?

After AT&T lost their exclusive deal to distribute Apple's iPhone, both Verizon and Sprint negotiated with Apple and eventually released their version of the iPhone 4 - the iPhone 4S. Immediately after Sprint and Verizon's announcement of their release date, there was confusion regarding whether or not their new iPhone would be SIM locked to the carrier – can you put a different SIM card in it? This is particularly useful for international travelers – it allows users to insert local or roaming SIM cards, like the National Geographic Travel SIM, and circumvent Sprint and Verizon's high voice and data rates.

So, are they locked or not? Here is the scoop: Sprint initially announced that their phones would be sold unlocked. This was announced by a high ranking Sprint employee, possibly by mistake. A second announcement claimed that the initial iPhone 4S would be sold unlocked, but the second production wave would be sold as locked.

Whatever the reason, the fact of the matter is that the current version of the iPhone 4S that both Verizon and Sprint are selling is locked.

However, customers in good standing can request that their phones be unlocked by Sprint or Verizon. You can call their customer service to make the unlock request.

Saving Money with International SIM Cards in your iPhone 4S

iPhones are notorious for their extreme consumption of data. While in the US or Canada, you may have an unlimited data plan – that data plan ceases to exist as soon as you step across the border. There have been countless articles of the non suspecting iPhone user racking up thousand dollar data usage bills while traveling internationally, so if you do decide to use your iPhone S4 with your current carrier, make sure that you turn off the data in your phone's settings.

While free wifi access isn't as common overseas as it is in the US or Canada, you can certainly take advantage of it when it's available. For those who do not want to rely on having to find wifi, there are other affordable solutions available for getting data on your iPhone 4S while abroad. If you are traveling to one country, by far the most economical solution for accessing affordable data (and voice) is to get a local SIM card. With a local SIM card, you are avoiding roaming all together. Not all countries currently offer prepaid data plans, but many of the popular destinations such as Italy, Spain, the UK, Germany and Israel do. Some countries even offer unlimited plans on their prepaid SIM Cards.

Purchasing a prepaid SIM card from Cellular Abroad is advantageous for several important reason - You get your phone numbers and SIM Card before you depart, a full set of English language instructions, and access to U.S.-based customer support representatives. If you decide to take a risk and purchase a SIM Card when you arrive, apart from the issue of registering your personal information with the SIM provider, you will also be faced with the difficulty of locating recharge credit locally and dealing with foreign language instructions.

If you are traveling to multiple countries, you have a couple of choices. If you are traveling, say to Italy for a couple of weeks and then to Spain for a couple of weeks, it still makes sense to opt for the "country specific" SIM card solution. However, if you are going to multiple countries and are spending short periods of time in each, it is less feasible to juggle several SIM cards and the expense probably defeats the purpose. In this case, a roaming solution like the National Geographic Travel SIM may be your best bet or, check to see if you carrier has a special "bundle" deal (ex. 500MB for $150 or similar).

Conclusion: iPhone users traveling overseas are more likely to rely on their phones in order to access travel apps, stay in touch with work related emails or to post pictures of their trip on Facebook... And while AT&T, Verizon and Sprint make every attempt to have you utilize their roaming agreements when you go abroad, as they make huge profits, you can easily circumvent these carriers and potentially save thousands of dollars.

Rate Guide

Per-minute rates for the most popular travel destinations

Country

Calls to
US or Canada

In-country calling

Receiving calls

UK

$0.06

$0.07

FREE!

Italy

$0.44

$0.22

FREE!

Spain

$0.07

$0.12

FREE!

Mexico $0.25 $0.25 $0.25

Germany

$0.12

$0.13

FREE!

France

$0.25

$0.26

FREE!

China

$0.05

$0.05

$0.05

Australia $0.05 $0.15 FREE!

Israel

$0.26

$0.26

FREE!


Cellular Abroad's Phone & SIM Card Packages

Australia


China


France


Germany


Israel


Italy


Mexico


Spain


United Kingdom

Country not listed? Give us a call at 1-800-287-5072 and we will recommend a solution for you!

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