Unlocking your phone and using foreign SIM cards

When traveling, why not do what the locals do? If you have the right phone, you can swap our your U.S. SIM card for a local card and save.

“For $30, AT&T wants to give me a whopping 120MB of data when I’m traveling outside the U.S. Thanks, but no thanks, AT&T. The same it true for any of the U.S. carriers, who want to charge a huge amount for their various “global” plans. Me, I go local and save. Right now, I’m enjoying unlimited data, 300 minutes of talk time, and 3,000 text messages on my Nexus 4, as I travel through Britain. Cost? The same $30 AT&T would charge me for so little.” Cnet

“Using a local SIM card is liberating, allowing to you to use your phone whenever and wherever you like, without feeling obligated to hold off until you’ve hit a good Wi-Fi connection (though for long calls home to the US, you may still want to wait till you can call for free over the Internet). You can also save money by suspending your own phone service for the length of your trip. Most providers will charge $10–15 to do this, but at least you won’t be charged for your normal monthly service for the time you’re overseas. Remember that if you remove your American SIM card to insert a European one, you’ll no longer be reachable at your American number anyway. The only significant disadvantage is the inconvenience. This approach requires first either getting an unlocked phone or unlocking your current one (or at least confirming that it’s unlocked), and then buying a new SIM card in Europe. While neither of those tasks needs to be very time-consuming, I only recommend this for travelers taking longer trips and/or anticipating doing lots of phoning (or data-heavy smartphone app usage) — for anyone else, the cost savings likely isn’t worth the bother.” ricksteves.com

There are two ways you can use your new iPhone 4s (iPhone 5 is already unlocked) internationally:
(1) roaming directly through your US carrier partner agreements or
(2) by using an international/local microSIM card with coverage in the

Unlocking Benefits:

  • There are many benefits to unlocking your handset, including:
  • Ability to use any SIM card on any network
  • Ability to take advantage of roaming services offered by most major networks
  • Possibility of dual, tri or even quad band functions allowing you to use your phone in even more countries around the globe.
  • Learn more: here

Unlocking FAQ:

Is there any risk? Your handset is at no risk
Is unlocking legal? Mobile phone unlocking is perfectly legal if you own your handset. Cell phone carriers and network providers are required to supply unloccking codes.
Will all my apps and phone be gone? No, everything will be exactly the same
Will I have the same number? No, you will receive an Italian number. Once you are back in the US and take out your foreign SIM card you will have your normal number again.

LINKS

STEP-BY-STEP UNLOCKED INSTRUCTIONS
Learn more about buying and using an international SIM card
Also, download Free apps such as Viber, TextPlus, and MagicJack to make free calls back home.
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