Please sign in to post.

Factory Unlocked Vs International Unlocked

I am looking at getting a Samsung galaxy s3. There seem to be 2 choices as far as being unlocked. My research shows people are having trouble using the international I9300 phone here in the states. It works fine in Europe. I want to use this as a backup to my newer model Galaxy, so I need to have it work both here and Europe. Will a non-international factory unlocked Galaxy S3 work in Europe? I don't care if it has LTE. I only plan on using it for voice and texting. The countries I will be traveling to are: Iceland, Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Thanks!

Posted by
994 posts

I don't really understand the unlocking thing. My Note 4 worked well in Iceland and Europe. I bought a data/text package from AT&T.

Posted by
3436 posts

The "unlocking thing" allows you to use a local phone company in Europe (or wherever you are in the world) by swapping out the SIM card in your phone or tablet. The SIM card is what gives your device its identity and phone number. By using a local phone company, you can save a lot of money compared to even the best AT&T plan. Of course if your phone is not unlocked, replacing the SIM means it simply does not work until you put the original SIM back in. If you don't use your phone a lot or don't have a smart phone that uses lots of data it might not be worth the effort to change it.

Posted by
8 posts

Does anyone have any actual experience where they have a non-international (model I9300) factory unlocked Samsung Galaxy S3 that worked fine in Europe? I am guessing since Diane had her Note work, I should have no problem using the regular factory unlocked version. I think this would be an excellent backup phone. It also wouldn't be the end of my world if it got lost or stolen compared to my newer model.

Posted by
2521 posts

As Mark advised, if the phone is unlocked, it should work in Europe or in the US. I've used my unlocked iPhone 5 and 6 in Europe without a problem using both T-Mobile and local sims purchased in Europe. Just curious why you feel you'd need a backup phone.

Posted by
8 posts

Philip, I want a backup phone because "life happens." I had one phone get damaged beyond repair, and went for 3 days without one. Too embarrassed to say exactly how it happened. Let's just say that my husband felt so bad he woke me up grovelling, and saying he would pay for the most current model. I turned that down as any new Galaxy or Apple for that matter, is crazy expensive. I did get a new one though. So if my current one becomes unusable for what ever reason, I have the backup ready to go. I am looking at the unlocked AT&T version. It will be the one I take to Europe. B&H has them for a good price. I bought a used, like new tablet from them. It was flawless. Plus, their customer support is awesome.

Posted by
2521 posts

Nira, I understand that Murphy's law exists and doesn't take vacations! On a trip to Spain a few years back, the night before I was to pick up my rental car, I was entering destinations into my GPS so I could just pick them off the screen rather than entering them on the fly. Clumsy me. I dropped it on the tile floor and broke the screen rendering it useless. So on the way to rent the car, I detoured to buy a map. For the most part it was fine but driving solo into cities was misery.

As far as the phone, since you want it for texting and voice, consider the option of buying a cheap one in Europe if anything happens to yours. I like to pack light and dragging around stuff I don't need is anathema. Phone stores proliferate in the countries you are going to visit.

Posted by
1406 posts

eBay and Amazon are full of cheap unlocked GSM phones. Make sure they are quad band.

Or, you could get a Mobal/Eurobuzz for backup. the phone is almost free, no monthly or annual fees, calls are 79 cents a minute. Think of it like a spare tire.