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

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.

TOPICS: Apple, iPhone
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

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  • iPhone in the REST of Europe!

    It was like pulling cast-iron teeth, but i at LAST was able to get The Apple Store in SouthLake ( Dallas area) Texas to sell me an unlocked ATT version iPhone 5 in early October. My primary residence these days is in Ukraine, but with heavy travel to all of Europe due to airline business i was quite anxious to have my phone working again. My trusty iPhone 3gs had fallen "ill" recently and i NEED my iPhone! ;-) I can say that in downtown Kyiv, ( AKA Kiev), there are numerous vendors of sim cards and phones, you can find them if not on EVERY corner, certainly at last one corner of every 4-way intersection. MTC, Life, Kyivstar etc. ALL the vendors seem to have nano-cutters, if not can direct you to a storefront within a few yards that DO. The iPhone 5 works perfectly, there, in Russia, Bulgaria, France, As you mention Belgium, but also in Germany with a t-Mobile sim that i bought right in the t-Mobile central store in Frankfurt. I find it ODD that the UK is still fighting this next change. ALL the REST of the world except the USA, and seemingly the UK, seem to know and understand that locking a phone to a carrier will NOT be accepted, nor will trying to lock you out again by changing the sim format! So give it up apple, and the UK cell providers, this is a concept whos' time has PASSED.