You’ve just officially unlocked your iPhone or any other Smartphone for that matter. The time has arrived for you to either switch to another local carrier or travel internationally. A few questions might still weigh heavily upon you, such as: Which network should I choose? Will I lose any of my phone’s features when traveling internationally?
Once your receive that long awaited for message that your mobile phone is now UNLOCKED, you can’t help that warm feeling of freedom that soon follows. Once your phone is unlocked, it may be used both domestically and internationally with the GSM carrier of your choice.
When reading about all of this unlocking business, sometimes it sounds as easy as just popping in a different SIM card once you’ve successfully SIM unlocked your mobile phone. To be honest, sometimes it is … and sometimes it’s not.
First: Carrier Choice
The vast majority of the happy “unlockers” out there don’t want to enter into another pricey contract. There are a multitude of choices regarding prepaid cellular services. There’s just not enough room here to provide all of the details.
What we can say is that, at least in the US, you can get a prepaid, month-to-month, no contract unlimited everything for about $45-50 bucks a month. Many carriers offer this “bring your own phone” kind of service.
Here’s a tip and a little known detail if you’re worried about the quality of your coverage when trying to decide about carrier choice:
- Find someone tied to a contract living in the area where you plan to use your mobile phone most of the time.
- Ask them about the quality of their service: dropped calls, data speeds, etc.
- Most likely that is the kind of service you’ll receive with your no contract, prepaid service.
Why is that? It’s because many of the prepaid carriers use the same networks as the big networks! These prepaid providers are what’s called a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO). Most are mobile resellers that do not own their facilities, but simply resell the services of the facilities-based big network providers.
Yep, they’re leasing a house and renting the rooms – not a bad thing, by the way. Which network is your future prepaid provider using? The answer lies in the results of your favorite search engine.
Second: Smartphone Features when Traveling Internationally
When traveling internationally, once you’ve installed and credited an activated SIM card from your selected carrier, you will be able to instantly make/receive calls and text while using your unlocked phone.
However, using iMessage (for the iPhone), surfing the internet and other features that require a data connection will only be available using a WiFi hotspot.
In order to use features like these internationally, along with MMS (multimedia messaging) you will have to purchase data along with “air time”. Fortunately, purchasing data on most prepaid international plans is pretty straightforward.
Once you obtain your SIM card and set up your APN (see below for the link for installing various APN settings into your iPhone or any smart phone) adding data is just a matter of contacting the provider.
Go to this link: unlockit.co.nz, using the browser on your smartphone to automatically download the desired APN.
Outside of the US, some providers will deduct credit/funds directly from your air time for data. Other carriers will allow you to purchase data in chunks, valid for a specific time period.
Under any plan, to make use of data on your iPhone 5:
Go to > Settings > General > Cellular > Cellular Data “ON” and Enable LTE “ON”. For non-LTE iPhones, you will see “Enable 3G”.
Additional Information: from StockUnlocks.com about factory unlocking your iPhone