If you have a Verizon Motorola Droid Razr and will be traveling to Australia, you can use a local SIM card very inexpensively. Having done so, I thought I’d share the information. FYI: I was using a Razr Max with the Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) operating system in my phone. This was November 2012.
Verizon uses a technology called CDMA in the US, but the Razr also has a SIM card, which allows it to use the GSM phone technology used by most networks in most foreign countries.
The first step, before leaving the US, is to contact Verizon’s Global Support group at (908) 559-4899. You need to ensure that your phone is unlocked so that a SIM other than Verizon’s can be used. I am unclear if all Razr phones are unlocked or not, but I was advised mine was unlocked.
When I arrived in Australia, I visited a Vodafone store. I believe there is one in the airport, but I visited one in Sydney. (Probably best to go to the one in the airport, as I think the costs are the same.) At the time (November 2012), they offered a prepaid SIM card with an Australian mobile phone number. It cost $30 for 28 days of use. It included: Up to $450 worth of “flexible credit,” infinite text anytime to any network in Australia, infinite mobile access to Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, LinkedIn and foursquare, and 500MB of data. NOTE THAT YOU NEED A MICRO-SIM. (There are two sizes of SIM cards. You need the smaller one.)
What does this mean? Vodafone charges 90c per minute, plus a 40c connection fee to phones in Australia, and 35c per international text message. Calls internationally are quite a bit more expensive: International call rates for prepaid $10, $30, $50 and $70 Caps - Vodafone Australia. All of these charges go against your $450 of credit. If you go over, you buy more service and can do so online.
Alternatively you can choose an international plan in which you pay a maximum of $1 to make standard national voice calls to the USA and Singapore, and any landline to NZ & UK.: Vodafone International - Vodafone Australia. You get less data in this case and there are other changes.
I took the first plan. My partner took the second. That allowed me to use the bigger data bin and we used her phone for calls home to the US, as they were maximum $1.
The Vodafone tech will activate your SIM at the store. I will not get technical on the removal of your existing SIM and replacement with the new one. Suffice it to say that you must first turn the phone off, then locate that small compartment on the bottom left side of the phone which can be opened with a fingernail. There are two cards in there. The one closer to the top of the phone is the SIM. You push in on it and it pops up. Remove it and be sure to put it in a safe place, as you will need to reverse this process when you are out of Australia.
When you restart the phone, you need to change the default setting in the phone to use the SIM card you inserted. The default is Global Mode, which switches automatically from CDMA to the SIM card that is normal for your phone (i.e. the US SIM you got from Verizon). You need to change that as follows: Settings > More … > Mobile networks > Network Mode. Change to GSM/UMTS. I found that once I had done this, I was on the network for phone calls in about a minute or two.
Setting the phone up for data was more complicated. You need to change the A:PN (Access Point Names). There is a great Vodafone blog on this at: How to set up your APN settings for Android | Vodafone Australia blog. Or you can go here: Set up your phone - Vodafone Australia. You can also go to the Internet and search on A:PN settings. I suggest printing out the blog information before you visit Australia.
If you follow these instructions, you should be able to use your data normally in Australia, sending and receiving mail, surfing the Internet, etc. The hotspot feature in the phone does not appear to work, so I was not able to use the phone for Internet connectivity for my laptop. I made very few calls, as people tend to text mostly in Australia. I found that over a 10 day period I had used less than 200 MB of data (limit is 500) and less than $150 of my flexi-credit.
The bottom line is that this was a really inexpensive option and allowed me to communicate for $30 with many international friends, as well as my partner, while I was in Australia.
Obviously, I could not receive calls at my US number, except voice-mail. I called once a day to retrieve them.