iPhones, iPods, & iPads forum


Which iPhone to buy

by spurlockda / November 6, 2012 4:09 AM PST

I am a retiring military guy after 30 yrs and plan to travel a lot of countries outside of the US. There are three versions of the iPhone 5 and I'm trying to figure out which would be best to get to facilitate say, arriving in Singapore (or where ever) and going to the local version of the 7-11 and buying a prepaid sim chip (the new miniature one I guess) and plugging it into my iPhone. I know I'll have to pay full price for an unlocked version but that's the cost of freedom.

Which version of the three would be the best for worldwide flexibility?

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Clarification Request
iPhone buy Clarification
by spurlockda / November 7, 2012 1:09 PM PST
In reply to: Which iPhone to buy

I've been taking everything on board and it seems like the Verizon version is the best answer from the technical perspective. I have no brand loyalty so I don't care about the company.

Someone said something about cutting up a SIM chip because stoooooopppppppiiiiiiidddddd apple decided to change to a micro SIM chip which the rest of the world does not support (yet) however I won't lower myself to cut up chips to fit stoopiid apple products. If I can not find a SIM chip overseas that works in the iPhone 5, then it will be a short lived iPhone ownership.

I just need to get a smart phone that will be totally flexible whether I am in the US, South America, South Africa, Europe, Western Asia, Australia, South Eastern Asia, Japan, Korea, or where ever.

I may give up and go with a Sat Phone and be done with the whole domestic phone war between Android and Apple.

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Hopefully, you are independently wealthy
by Pepe7 / November 7, 2012 2:30 PM PST

If you can afford sat phone service, you must have a decent budget Wink

Keep in mind that sat phones won't work well inside (they still require line of sight), so you won't enjoy the same comforts of regular cellular phone service per se.

FWIW, it's pretty easy to use a $3 SIM cutting tool found on ebay, etc. to get the job done. [Why would a 30 year military guy care about having to cut a small piece of plastic?? just teasing Wink ] You could just as easily pick up a Samsung Galaxy S3, which takes micro SIM cards (like the iPhone 4/4S; 5 now uses a nano-SIM). There are several foreign pre-paid carriers that use micro-SIMs anyway, if you don't want to deal with modifications.

Just don't get too hung up on the 'phone wars'. Pick one and enjoy your travels.

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Clarification Request
Best international phone
by spurlockda / November 7, 2012 2:35 PM PST
In reply to: Which iPhone to buy

Here's a curve ball: Samsung Galaxy III or iPhone 5???????

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Very different animals.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 7, 2012 3:09 PM PST

But same as you've seen so far. Unlocked, get a sim and you're done.

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How is that a curve ball? ;)
by Pepe7 / November 7, 2012 11:34 PM PST

Seems like a solid 'A or B' choice to me ;).

Keep researching if you have time. That's my advice. OTOH, you gain some roaming flexibility by choosing the Samsung Galaxy 3, avoid some of the SIM cutting that might be required by getting an iPhone 5. Also, there are more places to buy an S3 now vs Apple iPhone 5 since the S3 has been on the market for awhile already.

All Answers

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Ask around about the lockdown.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 6, 2012 4:15 AM PST
In reply to: Which iPhone to buy
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Thank you Bob
by spurlockda / November 6, 2012 7:04 AM PST

Thanks Bob, I appreciate the link. To tell the truth, I never expected that the Verizon edition would be the most liberal in its flexibility.

I hope to hear from a lot of you folks out there who are a lot smarter about this stuff than I am. My decision will be based upon technical details solely as I have no brand loyalty in terms of carriers.

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Some things to take into consideration
by Pepe7 / November 7, 2012 12:09 AM PST
In reply to: Thank you Bob

Whether or not you pick a particular iPhone 5 version will likely depend on a few factors.

-Which domestic carrier(s) you prefer

-How much you ultimately want to spend on this handset (e.g. Verizon/ATT models would be subisidized)

-If you need this handset to be unlocked from the get-go, or could wait and have it unlocked later on, possibly using a basic GSM handset for your travels abroad in the meantime

-Which foreign carriers/networks you require abroad (some countries carriers might run on network frequencies not found on the ATT version of the iPhone 5, etc.)

-If you feel comfortable cutting a particular pre-paid SIM card to fit this phone if needed (some come in sizes different than the microSIMs found in the new iPhone 5)

-Adequate carrier/pre-paid coverage where you live/want to use the phone stateside

-Also, FWIW the LTE frequency bands found on the Verizon (CDMA/EVDO version) of the iPhone 5 will work globally in some places AFAIK. The ATT version is mostly good for North American LTE networks, I think. The third (Asian/global) version of the iPhone 5 might suffice if you don't have any desire to use Verizon or Sprint's CDMA/EVDO network in the U.S.

This article will explain more:

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Also, there's currently no LTE roaming agreements
by Pepe7 / November 7, 2012 3:51 AM PST
In reply to: Thank you Bob

At least there aren't any that I'm aware of. IOW, if you require the fastest data speeds on your device, you would only get them while using a Verizon branded iPhone while still on their U.S. network. It would throttle down to what the foreign carrier offered. For most this is not any sort of deal breaker, just good to know if you have expectations about how a device will perform outside your home area.


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