Swapping SIM cards for European cell phone use. iPhone?
December 28, 2010 12:25 PM   Subscribe

Help me get my hands on a cell phone that will work in Sweden, before I leave! GSM, SIM, micro-SIM, iPhones, oh my.

I'm studying abroad in Sweden for 4 months, starting January 10 (so there's your time constraint). I've been told that when I show up for orientation, they'll hand me a SIM card, and that I should use pay-as-you-go cell phone plans.

Potential problem: My phone is an iPhone 4, which has a micro-SIM card, plus the card can't be replaced without unlocking the phone afaik, which doesn't exist for the current iPhone/OS.

I don't mind doing without the iPhone for a few months, but I would need to get my hands on an alternative phone that I am positive will work in Sweden. What should I look for and where should I get this phone?

Or...because I also have an iPhone 3G that no longer has a plan attached (I upgraded to the iPhone 4 a few months ago, haven't done anything with the old phone), is there a solution using my iPhone(s)?
posted by mokudekiru to Technology (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: The easiest and cheapest solution would be to Jailbreak and then unlock your iPhone 3G. I stopped following the jailbreaking/unlocking when I sold off my iPhone 3G and got an iPhone 4. But from what I remember, the 3G is still relatively easy to carrier unlock compared to the iPhone 4. Other contributors can point you to the best place to jailbreak/unlock your phone. Also, the 3G uses the old-school SIM card so you don't have to worry about cutting a SIM down to micro SIM size.

The other option would be to buy an unlocked quadband GSM phone but the phones with the features you've gotten used to on the iPhone will be spendy compared to the free of unlocking your iPhone 3G.
posted by birdherder at 1:27 PM on December 28, 2010

Yep, unlock the 3G. If your iPhone 4 wasn't SIM locked then you could use a SIM cutter to chop it down to one which will fit your device - although they may not be happy when you return it.

A cheap Nokia is fine but you'll probably hate it after a while especially as you'll have to carry around 2 phones.

Best of all, you can re-lock your old iPhone when you are done with it and no-one will ever know...
posted by mr_silver at 4:05 PM on December 28, 2010

If it's only for 4 months, just buy a cheap phone off ebay. Use the search terms "quadband" or "worldphone," and "unlocked" or "no contract"
I bought a phone this way that I use in the US and across Eurasia with multiple providers by just swapping out the SIM card; it has lasted 3 years so far and was only about $30.
posted by scrambles at 6:06 PM on December 28, 2010

This Nokia model (SEK 349 = $51) is probably the cheapest new cell phone you can buy in Sweden.
posted by iviken at 1:02 AM on December 29, 2010

Call them and check if the card will be reused for another student after you go and not, cut it. Even if it will, maybe they'll let you cut it and hand it back along with a micro-to-regular adapter. I'm using a hand-cut card in my iPhone 4 (in Sweden), and it works without any problems.
posted by springload at 10:47 AM on December 31, 2010

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