CDMA

Do Verizon iPhones work overseas with prepaid SIM cards?

John from New Milford, CT

Episode 981

John wants to know if an unlocked iPhone 5 from Verizon would work when traveling to Europe. Leo says that Verizon is a CDMA carrier, but the iPhone 5 is called a "world phone" because it works with both CDMA and GSM. Verizon set it up so that while CDMA is locked to Verizon, the GSM radio is unlocked for any carrier. One of the chad mods recently went to Japan and it worked great with a prepaid SIM.

How can I unlock my Sprint iPhone?

Episode 956

Bob from San Diego, CA
Sprint MiFi

Bob wants to know where the best place to get a SIM card is for his Sprint iPhone when he's in Europe. Leo says that Sprint uses CDMA, not GSM, which is what's required for a SIM card. However, the iPhone 5 is a world phone, meaning it has both CDMA and GSM options. With Sprint, however, the GSM slot is locked. He could go to Sprint and explain to them that he's going to Europe and ask if they'll unlock it. Then he could buy a local SIM while he's in Europe. The chatroom says that if he's a customer in good standing, Sprint should unlock it.

How can I unlock the Sprint iPhone 5?

Pronav from New York, NY

Episode 938

Pronav bought an iPhone 5 on Sprint, but hears that Verizon iPhone’s comes unlocked. Would the Sprint iPhone 5 be unlocked as well, since it’s the same phone? Leo says no. Verizon chose on their own to unlock the iPhones that come through them. Leo believes that going forward, this will likely become the norm though. Will he be able to use his Sprint phone on another service when his contract is over? An eager rep at Verizon may be able to do it by unlocking it with software.

How can I forward my calls internationally?

Episode 936

Yoni from Los Angeles, CA
Skype.com

Yoni is traveling over seas and he wants to know if he could forward his Virgin Mobile calls to Thailand. Leo says that Yoni's CDMA phone won't work in Thailand at all. So he recommends buying an unlocked, GSM phone that has a SIM card and then buy a local phone. Leo's first recommendation was to use Google Voice for forwarding the calls, but it won't work to overseas numbers, it is US-only. For this reason, it may be worth contacting Virgin Mobile to see if they have a world phone.

Is there any way to get an iPhone on the US Cellular network?

Episode 896

Estin from Kansas
iPad

Estin has a friend who lives in a rural area and cell service is spotty at best. The only provider that has any coverage is US Cellular, and he is wondering if it's possible to get an unlocked iPhone for use on that network. Leo says since that network is CDMA, it won't be possible to do it. If he was in a GSM carrier's area, he could get an unlocked iPhone, put in the SIM card for that carrier, and he could use the phone. But since CDMA phones don't take SIM cards, they need to be programmed for use with the carrier. It's not even possible to get an unlocked CDMA phone anyway.