buying a 3G iphone in america to use in europe
July 13, 2008 6:17 PM   Subscribe

buying a 3G iphone in america to use in europe

Can i do it without signing a contract with at+t?
posted by freddymetz to Shopping (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I think you'd have to buy it in Europe. I have been looking at these and roaming charges are more than buying a house (especially in Canada) and nothing I have found suggests that buying a phone without a contact in the country of origin is possible.
posted by Brockles at 6:24 PM on July 13, 2008

Sort of. You have to activate the phone in-store and canceling your service requires you to pay the difference between the actual cost of the phone and the subsidized cost.
posted by roomwithaview at 6:26 PM on July 13, 2008

As a follow up: take a look at this.

And also, apparently in the future you will be able to buy an iPhone without activating in-store. You will pay the unsubsidized price of $599 (or $699 for the 16GB).
posted by roomwithaview at 6:30 PM on July 13, 2008

As I understand it, the phone will be simlocked to AT&T and won't work in Europe on another carrier. There is not a public sim-unlock for iPhone 3G yet and from what I gather the pervious hacks that work on the iPhone won't work to unlock the 3G.
posted by mge at 6:33 PM on July 13, 2008

They sell the iPhone 3G in Europe, so why not buy it there? Am I missing something?

Also, AT&T is currently not selling the phone as with a no-commitment price yet, so you would have to sign a contract. You could purchase it and cancel the contract, but it would still require a credit check and the whole process.
posted by cgomez at 6:43 PM on July 13, 2008

The band used for 3g in the US is not the same as the one used in Europe, to my knowledge. In other words, you could take a US one to Europe, but you're probably not going to get 3G service, just EDGE or good old GPRS.

Annoyingly, AT&T also uses a different band than T-Mobile in the US, I believe. I'd double-check since I am basing this on what I read a couple years ago, in regards to 3g.
posted by mikeh at 9:29 PM on July 13, 2008

@mikeh iPhone 3G is quad-band phone so it will work for voice service world-wide and it also has tri-band UMTS/HSDPA on the 850, 1900, and 2100Mhz frequencies so it will work as a 3G phone when the network is available. T-Mobile 3G is another story because they chose to use frequency nobody else uses.
posted by cgomez at 11:37 PM on July 13, 2008

@cgomez: T-Mobile 3G in US or in Europe is on an odd freq? or both?
posted by thilmony at 2:12 AM on July 14, 2008

You'll need to wait till the new firmware is unlocked. It looks like the people at are fairly far along. I suspect that in a week or so there will be an unlock, if not sooner.
posted by chunking express at 6:01 AM on July 14, 2008

i want to buy it in the usa because its cheaper! What about the first iphone, can i just buy it without a contract?
posted by freddymetz at 2:26 PM on July 14, 2008

The first iPhone is no longer available from AT&T or Apple retail/online. You could try to pick one up off eBay, they are readily available and easily unlockable - no 3G though.
posted by cgomez at 6:26 PM on July 14, 2008

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