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phones in Ireland

My wife & I will be in Ireland and Northern Ireland in May. I have a Verizon iPhone 4S and she has an ATT iPhone 4. She also has an ATT iPad 2. Will these devices work in Ireland? Do experienced Ireland travelers typically use their smart phones & phone GPS's in Ireland? Or is it better to buy cheap "throw-aways" when you get to Ireland? Many thanks!

Posted by
177 posts

copy and paste! Ironically two people ask for the same thing. All iPhone regardless of carrier are GSM enabled. Which means they will work in Europe. But only Domestic GSM carrier's iphone come with SIM cards. Which means AT&T and Tmobile's iphone will work in Europe as long you don't have international roaming feature blocked. How much you will be charged, it depend on your features added. For my at&t iphone, while traveling to Europe, I add: - Europe Travel minutes 30 ($30.00)
- 300 MB Global Data with Wifi ($60.00) It always last me for an average duration of 26 days. I add them on the day before I travel and take them off the day after. (prorated if it's not 30 days) I do this using the at&t app. Most of the time I use Wifi (free). But I gladly pay less than $90.00 for a peace of mind. It came in handy many times when our reservations were canceled and we scrambled on the booking.com app in the middle of nowhere to find a place to stay that night without wifi. We also find ourselves calling the hotels sometimes using the minutes. There are cheaper options, but I rather not unlock my phone or go through personal portable wifi hotspot devices. Verizon and Sprint's iphone in most cases do not come with a simcard. It means if you want to travel internationally you would need to rent a simcard from your carrier. I do not know the prices on that. Verizon's newer iphone come unlocked. It means you do not need to be restricted to Verizon's rental simcard. You can get a simcard in europe and pay the local price with a local phone number, for many trips often time it is the cheaper option. And you do not need to get your phone unlocked. I would not turn on the network with the ipad, and only use them at wifi hotspots.

Posted by
9350 posts

If your devices are unlocked, you can buy SIM cards for them once you arrive in Ireland. (I don't believe that the iPhone 4 will work, only the 4S. And I have no idea about iPads.) In four trips, though, I have never used a cellphone in Ireland. I stay in touch with home by email (easier, due to time zone differences). If you need a phone for calling ahead for reservations and such, though, the 4S will work. A local SIM is cheaper than a throw away phone and comes with minutes.

Posted by
30010 posts

One point of clarification.... "All iPhone regardless of carrier are GSM enabled." AFAIK, the Verizon and Sprint iPhone 4 and previous models will NOT work in GSM areas. However, AT&T and T-Mobile versions WILL work. The iPhone 4S was the first Verizon model to allow use in GSM areas. I don't have time to post a more detailed reply at the moment, but I'd suggest checking with your respective carriers for details on roaming plans that they offer. Be VERY careful with data roaming, as the costs can be HUGE! Unless your phones are unlocked, you won't be able to use local SIM cards. Cheers!

Posted by
177 posts

Ken is right. Verizon iphone 4 is CDMA only. iphone 4s and above has GSM.
Verizon iphone 5 comes unlocked.

Posted by
4 posts

I had an iphone3 that I had unlocked here in the states (may prove difficult now because of a recent law). I went to a phone store in Dublin O2 and purchased a SIMS card that I could add $ to at any time.
I tried the package deals from AT&T a few years in a row and the added package to my account never did work correctly. I really like have a phone in Ireland but I have friends and family there.

Posted by
30010 posts

Steve, A few further comments.... Your Verizon iPhone 4S will work in Europe (including Ireland), but you'll have to contact Verizon to ensure the GSM portion is activated. You'll be limited to using Verizon roaming if your phone isn't unlocked, but that can be cost effective depending on use. If you minimize voice calls and use texts most of the time, the costs should be reasonable. Be VERY careful with data use though. You may want to either switch "off" cellular data and data roaming and ONLY use Wi-Fi when you're at the Hotel OR buy an optional travel data package (contact Verizon for details). The costs for data roaming can be HUGE, so it's a good idea to have all the facts on that. Your wife's AT&T iPhone 4 should also work just fine in Europe, but it would be a good idea to buy the optional travel packs, which reduce costs for voice / text / data. Contact AT&T for details on that. Depending on how much you want to spend, you could have some data capability by using a travel pack. If you don't buy a travel data pack, again be sure to switch "off" the cellular data. One note regarding both phones. If you travel with Verizon and AT&T, you'll still be getting calls from anyone back home that dials your number. YOU will be paying for EACH incoming call. They will only be making a local call to your regular number, so won't be paying any long distance. Calls received in the "wee hours" of the morning from someone that didn't bother to check the time difference are especially annoying. Cheers!

Posted by
6 posts

Nancy, Frank, Ken & Mary, THANK YOU very much for the info! Steve