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iPhone 4 from Europe in South Korea

17022 Views 31 Replies Latest reply: Nov 20, 2011 6:38 AM by dgxo RSS Branched to a new discussion.
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jakudo Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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Sep 18, 2010 2:06 AM
Hello all,

my friend (she's Korean) is now in Czech Republic for studying. She want to buy new iPhone 4 (it is not locked here) but she's not sure whether she will be able to use it back in Korea.
Does the iPhone 4 from Europe fit Korean mobile network? Also is possible to get there some Korean microSIM card?
When I was in Korea (2007/2008) I remember that they didn't use any SIM cards...
MacBook Pro 15.4'', iPhone 3G, Airport Express 802.11n, Mac OS X (10.6.4)
  • Malcolm Rayfield Level 7 Level 7 (28,070 points)
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    Sep 19, 2010 1:40 AM (in response to jakudo)
    Unlocked iPhones will work with a Korean SIM.
    <http://www.show.co.kr/sbrand2/iphone/main.asp>
    Mac Pro (Early 2008), Mac OS X (10.6.4), iPhone 3GS 4.1
  • tomjtx Calculating status...
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    Sep 19, 2010 3:45 AM (in response to jakudo)
    Doesn't Apple make a CDMA phone for Korea?

    My understanding is that Korea is NOT on the GSM standard.

    I would do some more research before buying.
    Macbook Pro, Mac OS X (10.6.4), Ipad IP4
  • Malcolm Rayfield Level 7 Level 7 (28,070 points)
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    Sep 19, 2010 4:03 AM (in response to tomjtx)
    Doesn't Apple make a CDMA phone for Korea?

    iPhones are GSM/EDGE and UMTS/HSDPA/HSUPA (3G), not CDMA.
    <http://www.apple.com/iphone/specs.html>
    My understanding is that Korea is NOT on the GSM standard.

    Correct. Korea and Japan use W-CDMA which is part of 3G, so the iPhone 3G, 3GS and 4 will work. The original iPhone was GSM/EDGE only, so would not be useful in Korea or Japan
    Mac Pro (Early 2008), Mac OS X (10.6.4), iPhone 3GS 4.1
  • tomjtx Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
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    Sep 19, 2010 4:22 AM (in response to jakudo)
    Your friend should contact Apple in Korea and a Korean network provider for Iphone to be sure this will work.

    It may be that the european Iphone could roam in Korea (with huge costs) .

    If no providers in Korea can offer a sim then your friend would be out of luck.

    Message was edited by: tomjtx
    Macbook Pro, Mac OS X (10.6.4), Ipad IP4
  • Malcolm Rayfield Level 7 Level 7 (28,070 points)
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    Sep 19, 2010 4:29 AM (in response to tomjtx)
    Your friend should contact Apple in Korea and a Korean network provider for IPhone to be sure this will work.

    <http://www.koreaherald.com/business/Detail.jsp?newsMLId=20100919000238>
    It may be that the european iPhone could roam in Korea (with huge costs).

    If used with European SIMs, yes, but unlocked iPhones can use Korean SIMs at local rates.
    If no providers in Korea can offer a SIM then your friend would be out of luck.

    Korean carriers may be reluctant to sell SIMs to visitors, but the user is Korean, so shouldn't have a problem getting a SIM.
    Apple is making a CDMA phone which has been traced to an Asian factory.

    There have been many rumors about Apple planning on a CDMA iPhone, but no confirmation. They are definitely not selling one in Korea (or anywhere else) at the present time.
    Mac Pro (Early 2008), Mac OS X (10.6.4), iPhone 3GS 4.1
  • Malcolm Rayfield Level 7 Level 7 (28,070 points)
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    Sep 19, 2010 11:44 AM (in response to jakudo)
    I've just found one information, that all Korean cell phones has registered IMEI number so that cell phones from foreign country with Korean SIM card may not be working. Do you know something about that?

    Contact the Korean carrier. Maybe they can register the IMEI when they sell the SIM card.
    Mac Pro (Early 2008), Mac OS X (10.6.4), iPhone 3GS 4.1
  • Kwopau Level 4 Level 4 (1,725 points)
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    Sep 19, 2010 2:59 PM (in response to tomjtx)
    Korea has GSM, which is Show. Show uses WCDMA/GSM.
    HP Pavilion DV2812tx, HP DV4-1504tx, Windows 7, iPod Hi-Fi, iPhone 4 32 GB Black
  • Kwopau Level 4 Level 4 (1,725 points)
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    Sep 19, 2010 3:04 PM (in response to jakudo)
    jakudo wrote:
    Yes Malcolm, the iPhones in Czech are unlocked (that's great:)). My friend is Korean so she should be able to get the korean SIM card easily.
    I've just found one information, that all Korean cell phones has registered IMEI number so that cell phones from foreign country with Korean SIM card may not be working. Do you know something about that?


    That is true that all Korean phones are registered to only work in Korea same goes for the iphone. a factory unlocked iphone will not work in Korea. Even if she does buy an iphone at Czech, it will not work in Korea and the only way to do so is to take it to this place, i'm sure KTF can direct her where to go and have to pay huge amount for them to open apart the iphone and change the frequency, which can void warranty. Since if the iphone was purchased in Czech, the warranty only works in Czech. I don't know how long she will stay here but if she is staying there for a short time, then I would recommend not getting one and when she goes back to Korea for good then she can decide whether to buy an iphone 4 or not.
    HP Pavilion DV2812tx, HP DV4-1504tx, Windows 7, iPod Hi-Fi, iPhone 4 32 GB Black
  • Kwopau Level 4 Level 4 (1,725 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 27, 2010 1:37 PM (in response to jakudo)
    Okay for most of you that say that the unlocked iphone will work in Korea when using Korean sim card, it will not work at all even if it's officially unlocked. Here is the reason. All phones in Korea have their IMEI number and is registered to the Korean network, so a foreign phone whether it's an iphone or unlocked phone of any kind, it will not work in Korea because Korean network will recognize it that it's a foreign IMEI and that it won't let you connect.

    However as my previous post, my mom's cousin works in KTF and owns 6-7 stores, and I have talked to him about my iphone that was purchased in U.S, and see if it can work, even my cousin asked. He told me that it is possible for them to unlock and have it work in Korea (yes it will void warranty), I would have to take it to some place that does this, of course they will charge you, they will then change the IMEI on your iphone and register you a new IMEI so that it is registered to the Korean network and that your iphone should work( keep in mind that most korean phones do not show their IMEI numbers to their customers). Yes Korea actually uses a different system then anywhere else in the world but that's how it is.

    If you go on this link, if you read few threads you will find out why.

    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=536457

    I'm not sure if she still plan on getting the iphone 4, but if she does she can google or use naver.com where to look to change the IMEI because that is the only way to get the iphone purchased from other country than Korea to work. factory unlocked iphone, soft unlocked iphone will not work with Korean network without the approval of the IMEI number.
    HP Pavilion DV2812tx, HP DV4-1504tx, Windows 7, iPod Hi-Fi, iPhone 4 32 GB Black
  • dshubair Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 1, 2010 4:59 PM (in response to Kwopau)
    Thanks for the great info on this topic. I was wondering if anyone could provide guidance/thoughts on the following situation:

    I have a factory unlocked iPhone 4 that was bought in France while away on business. I have returned to Korea, where I live, and have learned that the only way to get the phone to work is to have a Korean IMEI. I am fine with this and willing to pay the money to do so, however will doing so prevent me from using the phone in other countries while on business or travel by slipping a SIM card in? In essence, will the phone still be unlocked for use in other countries or will getting a Korean IMEI lock the phone?

    Thanks!
    iPhone 4, iOS 4
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