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British Mobile Phone and U.S. Phone Contract Conundrum

British Mobile Phone and U.S. Phone Contract Conundrum

Old Dec 1st 2019, 5:27 pm
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Default British Mobile Phone and U.S. Phone Contract Conundrum

Hi All,

Very excited to say that I'll soon be moving to the U.S. after a lengthy CR1 visa process and am planning things I'll immediately need upon arrival, one of which is a phone number. I've got an unlocked iPhone which was purchased in the UK that I plan on bringing over and am hoping to stick a U.S. prepaid sim in it and be on my merry way but after looking at some U.S. service providers' websites, I'm now wondering if it'll actually be possible to do that. A lot of the providers' websites say you can check and see if you can bring your phone over to their network and allow you to check using your current number, but of course my current number is British and therefore it won't allow me to check. Just wondering if anyone has done what I'm planning to do just so I can put my mind at rest or accept now that I'll have to fork out for a new phone once I'm there. It'd be a real pain to have to invest in a new phone when the one I've got here is both unlocked and working perfectly well but if that's my only choice, then so be it.

Many thanks in advance!

Viv
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Old Dec 1st 2019, 5:37 pm
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Default Re: British Mobile Phone and U.S. Phone Contract Conundrum

That's fine. Get a T-Mobile prepaid or one of the MVNO like cricket. Stick to GSM network. You can probably get one off Amazon or eBay delivered and set it up before you leave.
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Old Dec 1st 2019, 5:37 pm
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Default Re: British Mobile Phone and U.S. Phone Contract Conundrum

It's very likely that it'll work on AT&T and T-Mobile, possibly Verizon and Sprint if it's the right model.

What iPhone is it? Go into Settings > General > About and post the Model Number that you see and it'll be possible to give you a definitive answer.
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Old Dec 1st 2019, 5:38 pm
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Default Re: British Mobile Phone and U.S. Phone Contract Conundrum

Depending on which model of iPhone, it may be compatible.

You can get a SIM card from consumercellular.com and try it out. They offer no contract plans and very reasonable rates. Any GSM phone should be compatible.

Disclaimer: This is NOT a recommendation. I have never used this service so I don't speak to the quality of service or coverage. However, they are closely associated with AARP, a respected organization for older people in the US, and members get a discount on the service.
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Old Dec 1st 2019, 7:09 pm
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Default Re: British Mobile Phone and U.S. Phone Contract Conundrum

Hi Guys,

Thanks so much for your replies. It's just a regular iPhone 7 so not super old but not one of the newest either. I've found a good deal through AT&T that I'd love to purchase in advance as it's a Black Friday deal and won't be available by the time I move at the end of the month but that's the only thing that's stopping me from going ahead with it.
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Old Dec 1st 2019, 7:59 pm
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Default Re: British Mobile Phone and U.S. Phone Contract Conundrum

It looks like a UK sourced iPhone 7 is exactly the same model that AT&T sold here so it'll work fine. It won't work on Verizon or Sprint.
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Old Dec 1st 2019, 10:25 pm
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Default Re: British Mobile Phone and U.S. Phone Contract Conundrum

Originally Posted by vivid291 View Post
Hi Guys,

Thanks so much for your replies. It's just a regular iPhone 7 so not super old but not one of the newest either. I've found a good deal through AT&T that I'd love to purchase in advance as it's a Black Friday deal and won't be available by the time I move at the end of the month but that's the only thing that's stopping me from going ahead with it.
AT&T generally not the cheapest operator to have. I wouldn't read much into the black friday deal. However, each to their own.
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Old Dec 2nd 2019, 2:15 am
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Default Re: British Mobile Phone and U.S. Phone Contract Conundrum

Been running Altice Mobile (AT&T and Sprint networks) side by side with T-Mobile. Reception is no worse in all the places I have tested, T-Mobile is not great anyway. So will be porting my 2 lines, I have Optimum so I will be at $40+tax for both, at $100 Inc tax on Tmobile now, so a decent saving. Only network I have been on with good reception is Verizon. As I am on WiFi mostly it’s price and free roaming I am focusing on. Altice has included calls to 35 countries and included roaming in the same which is a great deal. https://alticemobile.com/plan
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Old Dec 3rd 2019, 12:03 am
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Default Re: British Mobile Phone and U.S. Phone Contract Conundrum

Originally Posted by Olly_ View Post
It looks like a UK sourced iPhone 7 is exactly the same model that AT&T sold here so it'll work fine. It won't work on Verizon or Sprint.
Verizon is switching to GSM starting Jan 1st 2020.

Last edited by MarylandNed; Dec 3rd 2019 at 12:05 am.
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Old Dec 3rd 2019, 12:09 am
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Default Re: British Mobile Phone and U.S. Phone Contract Conundrum

Originally Posted by MarylandNed View Post
Not sure you're right about it not working on Verizon. I think that iPhone 7 can work on CDMA or GSM so it should work on Verizon. Besides, Verizon is switching to GSM starting Jan 1st 2020.
Not true I'm afraid, at least for the iPhone 7. They made one SKU with Intel modems that didn't support CDMA and another SKU with Qualcomm that do support CDMA. https://www.macrumors.com/2016/09/08...els-lack-cdma/

At the risk of going way off topic... Verizon is indeed ditching CDMA, they have already stopped activating non VoLTE handsets in preparation and they do allow certain phones without CDMA onto the network but the iPhone 7 isn't one of them.

https://www.verizonwireless.com/supp...e-base-218813/
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Old Dec 3rd 2019, 6:56 pm
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Default Re: British Mobile Phone and U.S. Phone Contract Conundrum

Originally Posted by Olly_ View Post
Not true I'm afraid, at least for the iPhone 7. They made one SKU with Intel modems that didn't support CDMA and another SKU with Qualcomm that do support CDMA. https://www.macrumors.com/2016/09/08...els-lack-cdma/

At the risk of going way off topic... Verizon is indeed ditching CDMA, they have already stopped activating non VoLTE handsets in preparation and they do allow certain phones without CDMA onto the network but the iPhone 7 isn't one of them.

https://www.verizonwireless.com/supp...e-base-218813/
But won't it work on Verizon from Jan 1st 2020 when they switch to GSM?
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Old Dec 3rd 2019, 7:02 pm
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Default Re: British Mobile Phone and U.S. Phone Contract Conundrum

They aren't 'switching to GSM' on January 1st 2020. Nothing actually changes on the network other than Verizon further restricting what people with non VoLTE devices can do as per that document on their website.

Verizon only allow whitelisted devices - if you put a Verizon SIM into a GSM iPhone 7 it won't work now and it won't work on January 1st 2020.

https://community.verizonwireless.co...es/m-p/1089293

iPhone 7 (A1660 only; A1778 is not compatible)
iPhone 7 Plus (A1661 only; A1784 is not compatible)
They do allow GSM only iPhone 8/X models, presumably because they have tested them and are happy with how they perform with access to LTE only. They are provisioned as CDMAless devices and actually get access to AT&T roaming in places where Verizon doesn't have coverage rather than the usual CDMA roaming partners that Verizon has.

Last edited by Olly_; Dec 3rd 2019 at 7:07 pm.
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Old Dec 4th 2019, 2:39 pm
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Default Re: British Mobile Phone and U.S. Phone Contract Conundrum

I brought my unlocked iPhone with me a couple years ago, and I was able to insert a prepaid T-Mobile SIM into it to get my going initially.
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Old Yesterday, 2:24 am
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Default Re: British Mobile Phone and U.S. Phone Contract Conundrum

Originally Posted by tht View Post
Been running Altice Mobile (AT&T and Sprint networks) side by side with T-Mobile. Reception is no worse in all the places I have tested, T-Mobile is not great anyway. So will be porting my 2 lines, I have Optimum so I will be at $40+tax for both, at $100 Inc tax on Tmobile now, so a decent saving. Only network I have been on with good reception is Verizon. As I am on WiFi mostly it’s price and free roaming I am focusing on. Altice has included calls to 35 countries and included roaming in the same which is a great deal. https://alticemobile.com/plan
very interested in this if best provider for unlimited data and use overseas. I still use my UK contract for similar benefits for a low price but ultimately do need to replace it with a US provider...
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Old Yesterday, 3:46 am
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Default Re: British Mobile Phone and U.S. Phone Contract Conundrum

Originally Posted by LouisB View Post
very interested in this if best provider for unlimited data and use overseas. I still use my UK contract for similar benefits for a low price but ultimately do need to replace it with a US provider...
Called overseas to the UK and Germany, no travel so not tried roaming. I think it goes beyond what 3 provides, even T-Mobile US only has free data and text roaming, this includes calls from what I can tell.
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