Can I use an iPhone in Ireland?
July 10, 2007 9:04 AM   Subscribe

Can I use an iPhone in Ireland?

I am thinking of switching from Verizon to AT&T to get a iPhone. Have no experience with SIM cards and using GMS phones overseas. I have seen SIM cards for sale in airports when one travels, but not sure if the addition of a new card would work with the iPhone or if Wi Fi would work overseas.
posted by jjcurtis to Technology (11 answers total)
 
Google seems pretty sure that you can't (at least, according to the first three results).
posted by Zephyrial at 9:14 AM on July 10, 2007


Yes and no. GSM is more popular in Europe than other services but the iPhone only works with AT&T. So, yeah, you could use it but the long distance bill would be thru the roof, I would think.
posted by dobbs at 9:15 AM on July 10, 2007


You can use it with your AT&T sim.. Unfortunately you can't use another provider's sim card which means you're stuck with crazy roaming fees/very expensive data costs.
posted by mrunderhill at 9:16 AM on July 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


To clarify, you couldn't use it with another provider's SIM card in it. You'd have to use the AT&T card as an American travelling in Europe would.
posted by dobbs at 9:16 AM on July 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


Officially, no. The European version of the iphone hasn't launched in Europe yet, and I haven't seen a hack on getting an American one to work on a European network (though that might exist out there).

But here's what you can do.

Look for an unlocked tri/quad-band GSM phone on ebay, or on a site like importGSM. They've been around for a while and most mobile phone companies make them - the RAZR is one, actually - and get whatever service you want here in the States. When you travel to Ireland, get your phone company to unlock the phone so you can use it with other providers, and just buy a new prepaid SIM card from whatever companies exist in Ireland. Here's an example - you buy call credit and a SIM card in a little kit (they're everywhere, from convenience stores to malls), stick it in the phone, follow the instructions, and boom, you're there.

However, you won't have the same number as you would in the States; this can be resolved by just letting your contacts know your new Irish number, which they could call you on using SkypeOut if they didn't want to incur high charges.

Likewise, if you just want the phone for emergencies and calling/SMSing within Ireland, then this would work fine; calling the US, however, would probably be rather expensive; it'd be better value to head to an internet cafe and use something like Skype as mentioned above.
posted by mdonley at 9:23 AM on July 10, 2007


Since you're considering switching from Verizon, I'm assuming that you live in the US and are only visit Ireland.

Because the iPhone is a GSM phone, it will work in Ireland.

However, because the iPhone is locked into using an AT&T SIM, you will not be able to swap in a local cheap SIM card and be forced to roam through AT&T, which can get very expensive very quickly.
posted by andrewraff at 9:36 AM on July 10, 2007


I don't know if this is an Apple or AT&T thing, but they were discussing this on TWiT this week- apparently if you use your iPhone abroad via roaming for two months without making a call on the AT&T U.S. network, they'll brick your phone.
posted by mkultra at 10:09 AM on July 10, 2007


Your WiFi will work fine anywhere on the planet. It is not related to you cellphone provider.
posted by blue_beetle at 10:20 AM on July 10, 2007


you have to be signed up with cingular/at&t for about 3 months before they will unlock your phone for you - however, there are hacks to circumvent this. i'm not sure if there are any for the iphone yet
posted by ecks at 10:26 AM on July 10, 2007


I doubt they're going to unlock your iPhone for you, no matter how long you've been using it. If you use it roaming for a long period of time they will probably charge you hideous fees, and cancel your account leaving you with a still locked phone that can't be used with another carrier.

Your best/only bet is to hope that someone comes up with a hack for unlocking it (any day now, I'm sure).
posted by anaelith at 11:02 AM on July 10, 2007


To confirm, you certainly can use the wifi functions of the iphone (mail, safari etc) and as an ipod without the sim active or in the phone -- given you have activated it on AT&T and/or hacked it to not need activation.
posted by neustile at 11:53 AM on July 10, 2007


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