How to legally use the Verizon iPhone 4S overseas without roaming or jail-breaking

Writing by on Friday, 3 of February , 2012 at 6:16 pm

The iPhone 4s is a World Phone (supports GSM/CDMA) and upto 3G for data. It has a Micro SIM Card slot and can be used overseas. To unlock the phone, the carrier (Verizon etc.) will request/authorize Apple to unlock the iPhone and permit it’s use overseas.

Here are instructions on how to go about it (without any jailbreaks etc.)

  • Call Verizon’s Global Department at (908)559-4899 and tell them you wish to use the phone overseas
  • They will only authorize the phone’s use overseas with Apple. This does NOT unlock the phone (No Unlock Code for the iPhone either)
  • Now when you’re in a foreign country
    • Power off your phone
    • Insert the foreign SIM Card
    • Restart your phone and connect to iTunes (or do it over Wifi) to have Apple unlock (“unbrick”) the iPhone for use with the foreign carrier
    • You should be able to use the phone overseas
  • When you’re back in the US, remove the SIM Card and the iPhone will default to Verizon

I recently traveled to India and used a Vodafone Micro SIM and as you can see in the top left corner of each of the images, my Verizon iPhone is now a Vodafone IN iPhone.

  • Word of caution: Turn Off 3G and Turn Off Cellular Data, from Settings -> General -> Network
  • I lost about INR 200 in a minute when I just connected my iPhone to my PC to charge it. My PC was connected to the Internet and Vodafone billed me for data usage. (my work email is insane)
  • The rates for phone calls seem pricey. International SMS and Calls are pretty high too. I’m not sure if it’s the iPhone or just Vodafone.

So, this is just my theory (I don’t know how true it is, it’s just a theory)

  • I believe Apple has created one device (iPhone 4s) that can be used with any carrier (the hardware)
  • When you buy it (say in the US), they’ve already set the country and the default carrier (on the software/firmware)
  • Now, when you’re in a foreign country (and assuming the phone is unlocked/unbricked) you can use it with a local carrier based on the SIM
  • The Unlock Process is controlled by Apple, based on your carrier’s authorization
  • If the phone is Not Unlocked, your carrier can make HUGE Bucks and charge you exorbitant rates for foreign use
  • When you’re back in your home country (say the US), the phone will automatically default to the carrier that was set on the phone

Leave a comment

Category: Apple,Tips and Tricks

No Comments

No comments yet.

Leave a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Shivdev Kalambi's Blog

Shivdev Kalambi is a Software Development Manager, previously a Principal Software Engineer at ArcSight/HP. With over 16 years' experience in software development, he's worked on several technologies and played different roles and contributed to all phases of projects. Non-tech activies include Ping-pong, Rock Climbing and Yoga at PG, Golf, Skiing, Swimming & a beer enthusiast.