14 Replies Latest reply: Oct 24, 2010 3:54 AM by Matthew Smith
zippidydoodah Level 1 Level 1
Hello.

I just want to make sure I'm on the right track here. I'm back and forth between the US and Australia, about six months/year in each. Most phone service options are two year, not too practical for me. I'm considering a used 3GS which I would unlock, then use pay-as-you-go in each place. The unlocked 3GS should work for that -- right? Removeable sim card, quad band, GSM, I think that's all I need.

Or does anyone have a better idea?

Thanks,

Russ

MBP 15" 2.2GHz 2GB, Mac OS X (10.6.4), Canon SD1000/Panasonic LX3/Olympus OM10
  • Malcolm Rayfield Level 7 Level 7
    You can get an officially unlocked iPhone in Australia. Officially unlocked iPhones will not relock if you ever do a restore.
  • zippidydoodah Level 1 Level 1
    Malcolm:

    Yes, but I can get a used here for $300 vs up around $700 over there. Good point re the reset though, I hadn't thought about that. What does it do -- lock it up again so I have to go out and subscribe to an approved service? Do you know if I could install iphone apps if the phone is not an officially unlocked one?

    Russ
  • Allan Sampson Level 10 Level 10
    If you purchase a used iPhone that was sold as officially locked with a designated carrier when new that has been hacked to be unlocked, when restoring the iPhone with iTunes if wanted or needed, the iPhone will be re-locked to the designated carrier the iPhone was sold as carrier locked with when new which will require re-hacking the iPhone to unlock it. The same will apply when installing a firmware update when released and the firmware update will likely not be compatible with the hack used to unlock the iPhone.

    A hacked iPhone should not prevent you from installing official apps purchased/downloaded from the iTunes store, but the hack used to unlock the iPhone may cause some 3rd party apps and some of the included apps to not function properly.

    http://support.apple.com/kb/HT3743
  • zippidydoodah Level 1 Level 1
    Thanks Allan. I'm going to more seriously consider just buying an official unlocked one in Australia.

    Russ
  • diesel vdub Level 7 Level 7
    Keep in mind that the iPhone is not authorized for pay as you go service on AT&T. I believe you can use it on TMO's pay as you go service, but you will not get 3G service.

    If you try to use it on AT&T, you will most likely not get data with a pay as you go plan. You also will get no support from AT&T should you have any issues.

    You can do the month to month service (post-pay) since you are bringing your own device and not be locked into a contract. I believe AT&T will allow you to suspend service for up to 6 months without any issues. At least that way you would be able to retain your phone number when you return to the states.
  • zippidydoodah Level 1 Level 1
    Virgin, Verizon, TMo, Net10 and several others have pay/go plans and I think I'll be able to find one that works. Having a regular plan and suspending service is something I hadn't thought of, so I'll explore that option too. Thanks for the idea.

    Russ
  • Allan Sampson Level 10 Level 10
    Not with Verizon you won't, and the same with any other CDMA network provider.

    Verizon has a CDMA network, and the iPhone is a GSM phone.

    T-Mobile in the U.S. has a GSM network and is the only other GSM carrier in the U.S. that comes anywhere close to AT&T in terms of the number of subscribers and network coverage, but T-Mobile's 3G network in the U.S. is not compatible with the iPhone. It might be with the iPhone 4 in some areas but not all. In no areas with the 3G and 3GS.
  • zippidydoodah Level 1 Level 1
    Hmm, this is not as simple as I thought, but it's good to find out now rather than later. Thanks for the education. I'll have to do a bit more digging.

    Russ
  • actionmarker Level 4 Level 4
    expertise.macosx
    Mac OS X
    In Australia, it will also depend a little on where you are too for 3G.

    Telstra NextG is full coverage in all areas, but this service is also the most expensive.
    Optus 3G is not compatible with the 3GS in regional areas, in those areas, you will only get Edge coverage.
    3 uses the Optus network outside metropolitan areas for roaming, so again, you will only get Edge coverage.
    Vodaphone, I'm not sure if you will get 3G in regional areas, but their coverage in those areas is very limited.
  • actionmarker Level 4 Level 4
    expertise.macosx
    Mac OS X
    Update to my previous post.

    Telstra NextG: uses the 850MHz band so is compatible with the 3GS and gives full coverage in all areas, but this service is also the most expensive.

    Optus 3G: is not compatible with the 3GS as it uses the 2100MHz/900MHz bands, you will only get Edge coverage.

    3: I believe are using 850MHz in large Metropolitan areas. All other areas are Edge, and I think is roaming on Optus.

    Vodaphone: I'm not sure what they use.
  • zippidydoodah Level 1 Level 1
    Thanks.

    I'll be in Melbourne almost all the time. I looked at Telstra and they have a couple of prepaid plans that seem reasonable, but I will check out 3 and Vodaphone. While in Melbourne I was hoping to get a local Skype number for calls back to the US. Telstra's website refers to 'banned' numbers but doesn't give a complete list of what they are. By any chance do you know if Skype is banned on Telstra?

    I'm also not sure if the iPhone is compatible with Skype. I thought I saw something a while ago that said I needed a 'symbian' phone, whatever that is.
  • actionmarker Level 4 Level 4
    expertise.macosx
    Mac OS X
    I think from memory that there is a skype app, but it can only be used on wifi.
    So you would have to have one or go to the local coffee shop that's offers free connections.
    Check the app store to see whats there.
  • K_root1 Level 1 Level 1
    You can force an officially unlocked iPhone to use at&ts prepaid data plans.
    Via this website. http://www.unlockit.co.nz/
    After iOS version 3 apple, at AT&T's request was able to discern
    a prepaid sim and blocked out the apn changer in settings. This website let's you change it anyway as you are officially unlocked. AT&T data plan is $19 for 100mb.
  • Matthew Smith Level 5 Level 5
    You don't need a local Skype number when in Australia. That is only needed if you want people in Australia to call you on Skype.

    You need a Skype account that allows you to call North American numbers. You can install the Skype app on your phone and just use the app to use Skype. It will use your data allowance.