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Global data

HI, Probably a simple question, but I've got an I phone, plan to bite the bullet and pay .99 cents per call in England (since we won't be calling much), but am wondering about Global data. If I leave the roaming data option "off" on my phone, will I still be able to access e mails using free wi-fi hotspots, without getting nailed by Verizon? Thanks. Tony

Posted by
237 posts

Which iPhone do you have? The Verizon iPhone 4 will not work in Europe, but 4S and the 5 has the ability to unlock the GSMA band (not the CDMA chips Verizon uses in America) separately. If it's unlocked you should be able to just buy a properly sized prepaid SIM card and use it there. Verizon said it was going to release the iPhone 5 unlocked on other bands before release but I haven't actually touched one see if that is standard now. Last I knew you had to specifically ask to get the 4S unlocked by Verizon and they had some requirements - 60 day customer in good standing etc. LTE hardware/bands are different everywhere so don't count on LTE anywhere except your home country on your home service. Yes, WiFi is the same everywhere. Hope that helps,
=Tod

Posted by
135 posts

Wow Todd, good information. I have the 4S. You'd think that when we asked Verizon about usage in Europe, that they would have said something about unlocking the phone. They said NOTHING other than sending me a generic rate page... I may just recharge my old Blackberry world tour and pick up a SIM card in England... or just pick up a cheap phone in England and avoid the hassle. Tony

Posted by
9363 posts

Yes, you can turn off your data roaming and still be able to use wifi for accessing email and the web. There will be no charges. The 4S is a GSM-enabled phone, yes, but even CDMA phones will work on wifi for calling (Skype), email, internet, and apps. I took my Verizon CDMA phone to Spain last year and used it almost as much as I normally would, since free wifi was so abundant. And Tod's information isn't so "great" - you do NOT have to unlock your phone in order to use it in Europe! That's why Verizon said nothing about it. Tod is talking about using an unlocked phone with a local SIM card. You have already said you intend to use the regular international calling plan, since you won't be calling much.

Posted by
237 posts

For the 4S you might want to look into this:
https://community.verizonwireless.com/message/696707 It really sounds like if you bug Verizon - or at least the right rep - they'll unlock your 4S for GSM assuming you meet the requirements. This would allow you to buy a prepaid microsim for use in England which would be great. I can't find anything official from Verizon that says they'll do this that you can point to so you may have to ask a few times or have a cute female friend ask a Verizon rep for you. =Tod

Posted by
32222 posts

Tony, As the others have mentioned, your Verizon iPhone 4S is capable of operation on GSM systems in Europe. Unless you can get the phone unlocked, your only option will be to use international roaming with Verizon. I believe they offer "Travel Packs" which will reduce the costs somewhat for voice, text and data. You'll have to check with them for the details. Regarding switching off the cellular data, you may find it interesting to read this recent article from the Seattle Times: http://seattletimes.com/html/travel/2020784714_internationalphonechargesxml.html It would seem that even switching the data OFF doesn't always have the expected result. If you can get the phone unlocked, I believe it is possible to buy PAYG SIM's in the U.K. which include data. I don't have any information as I've never used one. I've been using a SIM from one of the "travel phone" firms for the past few years (which is supplied with a U.K. phone number). Their data is a bit pricey, but cheaper than I'd be paying with my home network. Happy travels!

Posted by
135 posts

Wow. I know everyone is trying to help, however it gets more and more confusing and I just read that article- what a horror story! So, looks like the smartest thing is to: Keep my I-phone 4S in airplane mode, use wi-fi (for emails) and use mp3's (rick steves city tours for london and music on the airplane) AND
Pick up a cheap pay as you go phone in London for calls in Great Britain.

Posted by
12 posts

This was very confusing for me too until I called Verizon. I have an iPhone 5. Stuck it on a global data and voice plan and it worked great in London and on the continent-- no unlocking, SIM cards, etc. Do note, however: your phone will take 3-5 min to connect to a local network. It was very frustrating sometimes. The phone will say "searching," then "no service," and will go through this loop until it connects up to the network.

Posted by
135 posts

Thanks Debbie. Were you charged by Verizon for all the time you were waiting for a connection, or only for the time you were connected? In addition, I have no intention of paying the exhorbitant prices Verizon wants for global data- $25 for 100MB! Did you run into the scenario of the I phone user that got charged $1100 for his phone constantly "looking" for a network to connect to (even when he turned off the global roaming feature)?
Thanks for your reply! Tony