I have been doing research on the best way to use an iPhone abroad. Here are my findings.(This applies to iPhones bought via Verizon or AT&T).
Legally, phone companies are required to provide free unlock services. Something about anti-trust laws. This is awesome news.
Because, in my humble opinion, unlocking your iPhone is the best way to deal with the mess that is using a phone overseas. Unlocking an iPhone means that you and it are no longer prisoner to your current cell phone company. An unlocked phone has the capability to run on any phone company network you desire. You get a local number, thus avoiding any international calling charges, roaming fees or data charges. And the best part is…it’s permanent, free and super easy.
All you need to do is call your phone company customer service line. Tell the representative you wish to get a SIM unlock for your iPhone. They should know what you are talking about. If not, they hopefully will transfer you to the right department. Verizon has a Global Support line (1-800-711-8300). I assume AT&T has something similar.
You will need to give them the cell phone number you currently use and confirm you wish to unlock your phone. If you are not the primary account holder, then they need to confirm for you. It takes less than 5 minutes. They will then unlock your phone (meaning they transfer your phone’s ID from one list, Locked Phones, to another, Unlocked Phones. Your phone is now unlocked!
Once you arrive at your foreign destination simply purchase a SIM card from a local cell phone provider. Insert it into the phone. Using any local WiFi signal your phone will automatically configure itself to work with the new plan. Your phone will now have a local number and operate normally! Horray!
You’re welcome ladies and gentlemen.