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  • 1 Post By monsieurms
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    agp423's Avatar

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    Default Using US phones abroad - some questions

    Hey all, I have some questions regarding using US phones abroad...

    1. If a phone is "unlocked", does that mean it will work with SIM cards from other countries?

    2. If a phone has a bad ESN, can it still be used abroad simply by using a new SIM card?

    3. I remember reading somewhere that when using unlocked Verizon phones abroad, the speed is slower, because of whatever technology difference and how Verizon is evil, etc... How do I know if a phone can be used internationally?
  2. #2  

    Default Re: Using US phones abroad - some questions

    Frequency range of the radio determines functionality abroad. Most US devices will not get fast data because the radios are not equipped to connect to they network. This is why there are phone labeled Global. Unlocked just means the device is free to use any network it has equipment for.

    ESN is not the worry with GSM it is the IMEI you want to check.
    Last edited by zedorda; 05-28-2014 at 08:54 PM.
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    Vsweety's Avatar
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    Default Re: Using US phones abroad - some questions

    +1^
  4. #4  

    Default

    If its a gsm phone then it will most likely work. I recently traveled to Germany and bought a Labara Sim when I got there. Worked like a charm.

    Posted via Android Central App
  5. #5  

    Default Re: Using US phones abroad - some questions

    Lebara and Lycamobile payg sims do good international call rates so you can select on the data allowance. There are others.

    Sent from my N9005 using Tapatalk Pro
    I know nothing. Caution: I can edit and delete for no reason.
  6. #6  

    Default Re: Using US phones abroad - some questions

    Quote Originally Posted by agp423 View Post
    Hey all, I have some questions regarding using US phones abroad...

    1. If a phone is "unlocked", does that mean it will work with SIM cards from other countries?

    2. If a phone has a bad ESN, can it still be used abroad simply by using a new SIM card?

    3. I remember reading somewhere that when using unlocked Verizon phones abroad, the speed is slower, because of whatever technology difference and how Verizon is evil, etc... How do I know if a phone can be used internationally?
    If I can divert the inquiry just a bit...

    Make sure you have a GSM phone. T-Mobile has been an innovator of late. I was SHOCKED to find that they have a new international data roaming plan that lets you have unlimited international roaming data for NO EXTRA COST as part of their normal Simple Choice Plan. In addition, phone calls for just 20 cents a minute internationally. At that point, why bother to stick another sim card in the phone? Just use your own, and be comfy. All I can say is ... wow. It's worth switching to T-mobile just for that if you travel. I

    Now, it is true the unlimited data will be at a slower speed than T-mobile's USA network of 4g LTE. As others indicate, your USA phone isn't going to connect to high speed data in Europe.

    It depends on what you're doing and how long you are staying. If you're planning on doing a lot of downloading, etc, speed may matter. For getting some emails and map directions, weather forecast, whatever, maybe not so much. Especially since you can be on wi-fi at your hotel for a serious needs.
  7. #7  
    sting7k's Avatar

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    Default Re: Using US phones abroad - some questions

    Quote Originally Posted by agp423 View Post
    Hey all, I have some questions regarding using US phones abroad...

    1. If a phone is "unlocked", does that mean it will work with SIM cards from other countries?

    2. If a phone has a bad ESN, can it still be used abroad simply by using a new SIM card?

    3. I remember reading somewhere that when using unlocked Verizon phones abroad, the speed is slower, because of whatever technology difference and how Verizon is evil, etc... How do I know if a phone can be used internationally?
    1. It depends on what radio frequencies the phone supports. You should visit the manufacturer's specs page for your phone and look up the supported network bands. Then check which bands operators use in the countries you want to visit. If they match then you are good.

    2. ESN doesn't mean anything for GSM phones. That is how Verizon/Sprint ID CDMA phones on their networks CDMA networks instead of using SIM cards.

    3. This is because the phone hardware only supports the radio bands of a slower network technology. If the phone has the band support for LTE or HSPA+ and you have a valid SIM from the provider you will get the full speeds.
  8. #8  

    Default Re: Using US phones abroad - some questions

    Hi. I bought samsung note 3 in Manila. I'm going to Las Vegas this June and planning to buy an LTE sim. Will I able to enjoy the LTE signal for surfing while I'm in Las Vegas? Hope you someone can help me. Many thanks
  9. #9  

    Default Re: Using US phones abroad - some questions

    Quote Originally Posted by iamkayeful View Post
    Hi. I bought samsung note 3 in Manila. I'm going to Las Vegas this June and planning to buy an LTE sim. Will I able to enjoy the LTE signal for surfing while I'm in Las Vegas? Hope you someone can help me. Many thanks
    You will be CAPABLE of doing so, but make sure the services and data plan you select will offer high speed LTE data to suit your needs. I assume that when you say that you're buying a high-speed SIM that some package of services, including high speed data, will come with it. That is not always so clear with pay-as-you-go data plans, so make sure to ask.

    T-Mobile
    seems rather flexible these days. You might start there. Generally, their rule is that if you exceed the high speed data limit, you don't get charged extra, the speed just goes to the next lowest level (from 4g LTE to 3g, for instance). But again--the rule may be different with temporary sims.

    I doubt it, though--these days their service plans are very flexible with no contracts. Just buy 1 month of normal service. Cancel thereafter.
    Last edited by monsieurms; 05-29-2014 at 07:09 AM.
  10. #10  

    Default Re: Using US phones abroad - some questions

    Quote Originally Posted by monsieurms View Post
    You will be CAPABLE of doing so, but make sure the services and data plan you select will offer high speed LTE data to suit your needs. I assume that when you say that you're buying a high-speed SIM that some package of services, including high speed data, will come with it. That is not always so clear with pay-as-you-go data plans, so make sure to ask.

    T-Mobile
    seems rather flexible these days. You might start there. Generally, their rule is that if you exceed the high speed data limit, you don't get charged extra, the speed just goes to the next lowest level (from 4g LTE to 3g, for instance). But again--the rule may be different with temporary sims.

    I doubt it, though--these days their service plans are very flexible with no contracts. Just buy 1 month of normal service. Cancel thereafter.
    Sadly the T-Mobile data speed drop when you hit your data limit is the dismal 2G. Otherwise everything else said is spot on.
  11. #11  

    Default Re: Using US phones abroad - some questions

    Quote Originally Posted by zedorda View Post
    Sadly the T-Mobile data speed drop when you hit your data limit is the dismal 2G. Otherwise everything else said is spot on.
    In the USA, they told me on my plan that it would drop to 3g. In searching their site, I found various contradictory info, including some that supported your 2g statement, but also:
    --It SEEMS to depend on what plan you have and when you got it;
    --The CEO last year said that "throttling measures will only drop users to 3G speeds if they're on a fixed plan and exceed their data caps."

    T-Mobile has rapidly changed its structure in the last year. All old info may be obsolete. All I can say is, ask and hope the CSR has an answer. The answer will likely depend on what is purchased in the first instance and there may be different answers depending on the plan selected.
  12. #12  

    Default Re: Using US phones abroad - some questions

    It is flat across the board all contracts new or old drop to 2G after their allotment of data runs out. Only the Unlimited plans get "throttled" down to 3G after "excessive use" which is basically at their discretion.

    I have had both plans and experienced it.
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  13. #13  

    Default Re: Using US phones abroad - some questions

    In Europe now...getting 3g as part of my data plan.


    Note: that's a general note, not a throttling issue since I still have data included on my plan that has not been exceeded. But I can live with 3g for simple stuff.
    TgeekB likes this.

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