Do Verizon iPhones work overseas with prepaid SIM cards?

Episode 981

John from New Milford, CT

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.

Could I move the Nexus IV to another carrier?

Episode 976

Scott from Pasadena, CA

Scott loves the Google Nexus IV, but it's GSM only with T-Mobile. He's not much a T-Mobile fan, and would like to move it to another network. Leo says that since it's GSM, it only would be able to work with a carrier that uses GSM, which is AT&T and T-Mobile. Verizon and Sprint use a different technology called CDMA.

Google created the Nexus to be a developer phone, and as such, it may only be designed to work with T-Mobile. So he may just be out of luck there. It's a real shame too, because the Nexus phones are really popular. People really want vanilla Android.

How can I unlock my Sprint iPhone?

Sprint MiFi

Episode 956

Bob from San Diego, CA

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 forward my calls internationally?

Episode 936

Yoni from Los Angeles, CA

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

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.