Moving to the UK from the US: How do we avoid buying new phones?
January 24, 2014 7:00 AM Subscribe
We are moving to London and we'd like to bring our American mobile phones to use with whatever British network provider we decide to sign up with. We will no longer have a contract with our US carrier once we move. What do we have to do in order to use UK (and other European) SIM cards in our phones and have them work as well as they did in the US? Complication: Verizon
posted by theory to Technology (4 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
My wife has an iPhone 4s. Although the phone runs on CDMA in the US (being 3G on Verizon), it has GSM capability. From what I've gathered, all she has to do is ask Verizon for an international unlock and then once we move to the UK she'll be able to sign up with any British 3G service of her choice and install their SIM card in her unlocked phone. Easy-peasy, yes? Is there a catch?
The real question is about my phone. I have a Samsung Galaxy S3, also on Verizon. It seems that a software update last year may have already turned this into a global phone allowing 3G GSM use. But I've received lots of conflicting info from Verizon and I can't get a clear picture of exactly which frequency bands this phone will support now and if it will allow data usage on overseas networks. Lots of people have reported that when they tried to use it outside the US with locally purchased SIM cards they were limited to voice calls and texting and were not able to use data. For others, calling/texting was only possible with certain providers. Many couldn't connect to any overseas networks whatsoever.
A big part of the problem seems to be with adding an APN after inserting the new SIM card, but I have seen hints that there are ways to do this. I am game to try anything to make this phone work in the UK, including rooting and modding. So is there a way to use the Verizon Galaxy S3 to its full voice and data capabilities (I'm not expecting LTE) on a UK network? As a bonus, does anyone have any recommendations for UK networks?
In case it's relevant, I'm currently running Android version 4.1.2 (build VRBMF1). I've been avoiding the Android 4.3 (build VRUCML1) update that Verizon keeps trying to push until I get this question resolved.