Nano-SIM redux: Using the iPhone 5 in the UK

Summary:A guest blog from Rob Parker on some tips for using a U.S.-based iPhone 5 while traveling in England, France and Belgium.

Using the iPhone 5 in the UK - Jason O'Grady

A follow-up on my post about how to make a DIY nano-SIM  (using tools from your desk) by Rob Parker:

I can confirm that the Verizon iPhone 5 is GSM unlocked and works as you would expect overseas, at least on the networks I visited during a recent trip to England, France and Belgium. I had to purchase a prepaid micro-SIM and have it cut down to nano-SIM size to fit into the iPhone 5 but the process was quick and painless.

In London, I visited 3 mobile, T-mobile, Orange, O2 and Vodafone, and none of them were offering prepaid nano-SIMs when I was there. In order to get the nano-SIM you had to sign a contract and use a UK credit card and billing address.

I purchased a prepaid micro-SIM from 3 mobile for £15 and took it to one of those small mobile phone shops that sells phones and plans from many different carriers and advertises phone unlocking services on a dry-erase board out front. They are plentiful in London and both places I visited would cut the micro-SIM to a nano-SIM using a little purpose-built cutter. One vendor wanted £10 to cut the card. The other wanted £3. Ask around, it seems negotiable.

Once the card was cut, I popped it into the iPhone 5 and squirreled my Verizon card away for safe keeping. In a few seconds, the 3G indicator came on and I was surfing.

I was able to use the same SIM card in France and Belgium but I elected to turn off data for that portion of the trip to save a few bucks since I would be roaming and that requires extra fees. The networks in those countries were recognized and worked though. I would have repeated the card cutting process if I had planned to stay longer in those two places.

If you're planning to do some country hopping in the very near future, you way want to invest in a nano SIM cutter since you'll probably want to get a prepaid card for each country you visit. Hopefully the elusive prepaid nano-SIM card will become plentiful in a few months.

Nano-SIM redux: Using the iPhone 5 in the UK - Jason O'Grady

Topics: Apple, iPhone


Jason D. O'Grady developed an affinity for Apple computers after using the original Lisa, and this affinity turned into a bona-fide obsession when he got the original 128 KB Macintosh in 1984. He started writing one of the first Web sites about Apple (O'Grady's PowerPage) in 1995 and is considered to be one of the fathers of blogging.... Full Bio

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