Droid 3 SIM unlock discussion

Discussion in 'Motorola Droid 3' started by leobg, Jul 8, 2011.

  1. kanundrum

    kanundrum Member

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    Hi All

    Have a few questions about providers abroad

    Going to the following places if anyone can reccomoend a good provider and your normal locations I can pick up sim cards at :

    1. Dublin/Shanon ireland (will need for 6 days)
    2. Scottland (Only 2 days)
    3. Italy 6 Days (Venice ancona and rome)


    Any reccomendation on carriers?

    Thanks! Will be calling up vzw in a bit to get my unlock code.
     
  2. robotbldmom

    robotbldmom New Member

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    Hello everyone,
    I am very hopeful that someone much more knowledgeable than I will be able to answer these questions. I have a Droid 3, I know that there are two sim cards one of which s the global and the other is the "Verizon" card. If I travel to Germany and have my global sim turned on by Verizon, I can use my service in Germany however the rates are really high.
    So my first question is this: can I take my Verizon sim and the Global sim out of my Droid 3 and just buy a prepaid sim?? Also second question: how do I use data like "google maps"? Is data include on the european prepaid sim card?? And finally: Are there different types of prepaid sims like phone only or phone/data?? I am sorry for all the questions but us "moms" who do not travel as much in Europe still need to learn all this new technology. Please bear with me and answer as simply as possible. Thanks in advance....all information is appreciated.
     
  3. silver6054

    silver6054 Member

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    I'm not sure what you mean by two SIMs. I believe that the Droid 3 just has the Verizon (Vodafone) SIM, is the other an SD card? That is not a SIM!

    Yes, you can and should use a prepaid SIM. But first you need to get the phone unlocked. You call Verizon, and providing your account meets certain conditions (in good standing, been a customer something like 90 days or more, and haven't had another phone on that number unlocked in the past 10 months...) they will give you an unlock code. The first time you put in another SIM you will be asked to enter the code. Once the phone is unlocked it stays unlocked, i.e. there is no need to do this again for another SIM.

    Verizon might tell you that you can only unlock while you are out of the country. But it's better to confirm that the unlock code works before you are abroad and then find out it doesn't. You can get prompted for the unlock by using a friends AT&T or T-Mobile SIM. (You won't get any service in the US doing this, but you can confirm that the phone is unlocked).


    Re data: there are lots of different SIMs, with different data options. If you are just in Germany, you should get one for there, rather than a multi-country SIM, as the rates for a single country are usually much better. You can find Vodafone and T-mobile stores as well as others. You will probably need ID and a German address, such as your hotel. The right choice will depend on how long you will be there, how much data you think you will use, and coverage where you will be.

    The one thing to be aware of: a prepaid SIM gives you a new phone number, people will no longer be able to reach you on your US number. If that is a problem, you should probably keep the Verizon SIM.

     
  4. KuddlKat

    KuddlKat Member

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    There is only one SIM in the D3. Last New Year's, we bought a pre-paid T-MobileUK SIM when we got to Greenwich (SE of London) and used that for data. I think it was a 1-month for 500MB, but we were only there for just over a week so that was fine for Google Maps and Navigation.

    It was a small cell phone store called fonehouse. We had trouble getting the plan working. I think it was that we needed a local (to the country) credit card to register or send a SMS to register and we had to go back. He fixed us right up and we had full maps and internet everywhere we went on vacation around London.

    Just be sure to contact Verizon to get the unlock code for your DROID³ before you travel. If at all possible, borrow someone else's SIM (T-Mobile or AT&T) which will allow you to enter the unlock code. You won't actually be able to use the T-Mobile or AT&T USA network, but you will be able to tell if the unlock code worked. I used my old T-Mobile SIM that sat idle ever since I switched to Verizon on Nov 6, 2009.

    Hope this helps.
     
  5. KuddlKat

    KuddlKat Member

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    And.... everything that silver6054 said. :biggrin:
     
  6. robotbldmom

    robotbldmom New Member

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    Thank you for the quick responses: i think I am almost there (in understanding this) so please bear with me for a few more questions, okay. Yes, I understand now the SD card is where all my own personal data and phone numbers are listed, is that correct? Would I need to remove this from the Droid 3 in order not to overwrite or damage my personal data?
    When I purchase a SIM card in Germany and I put it in the Droid 3, how do I activate the card, is this a difficult process and how would I know my "new" phone number?
    When you refer to the "unlock code" is that the same as calling Verizon and having them turn on my "global" feature?
    Would my voicemail continue to pick up the messages called to my US phone number? How would I then access my voicemail, can I do that online?
    When you suggest that i try the unlock code before I leave, will this affect my phone's use in the US. I am really unclear about this part of the procedure. I know, sorry, kinda new to all this.
    Thanks again for your patience.:biggrin:
     
  7. silver6054

    silver6054 Member

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    OK, a little bit more background..... Verizon, except for the 4G phones, uses a technology called CDMA (as does Sprint). This does NOT use a SIM card, so your phone would work fine in the US if you took the card out. (You might get a message about No SIM, but everything, voice, data, text would work fine). The SIM card is only needed for the other major technology, GSM, and that is what you would use in Germany. So unlocking the phone etc, doesn't impact your US service at all. When you return to the US, it will work fine, whether you leave the German SIM in, or replace it with the original one.

    SD card. Leave that in. It's used to store data for applications, photos, music etc. You will need it in if you use the phone camera. Using the SIM won't impact it, so it's absolutely fine to leave it in, and various things will work better.

    Unlocking the global feature: this is only if you are using the Verizon SIM abroad. What they do is activate the SIM and allow your phone to make international calls. If you are using a prepaid SIM, Verizon never gets to see the traffic, the phone has nothing to do with Verizon, until you return to the US.
    What the unlock code does is to allow you to put a non-Verizon SIM in the phone. By default, GSM carriers in the US, and Verizon on these phones, lock their phones so you cannot use them on other networks without their permission. Basically Verizon wants you to use their SIM because they can make a lot of money! With a prepaid SIM, unless you suspend the Verizon service, you just continue to pay the monthly charge, and all calls/data/texts are charged to your prepaid SIM. So, you need to talk to Verizon Wireless global and ask for them to unlock the phone so you can use a foreign SIM. (You need to be precise here, as some reps won't know what you mean. In particular, you don't want the code to unlock the screen, nor the PUK code for the SIM. Some reps are much more knowledgeable. Ask for Global Services) Not sure how long it is for the Droid 3, but they are often 8-16 digits. When you place a new SIM in the phone, you will see a prompt, and you just enter those digits and you are done forever with the unlock. Doing a factory reset, or even more extreme things (SBF), doesn't relock the phone.

    Activating the SIM. You will probably buy the SIM preloaded with some airtime. The store, especially if you go to a carrier store, will help. You may need to call a number to activate, or the purchase process may activate. The box the SIM comes in will have the phone number printed on, and you can also get it displayed from menus on the phone once the SIM is inserted.

    I don't know how long you will be there, if it is for any length of time, ask about top-up procedures. You can do this online, but US credit cards might not work for this, so best to get top-up vouchers or something if you expect to use up all your original prepaid time. Many stores will sell you top-ups (as do many ATMs, but don't know how well this works with a US card).

    Now to be fair this is the "happy story" version. Generally, if you get a current SIM, things should work OK, and the phone will automatically read needed information from the SIM to allow data to work. Otherwise you will need to set up an APN, which is fairly easy but writing it out makes it look intimidating. I can give you the information if you want!

    To save battery, when you get the SIM it makes sense to change the network mode to GSM: Look for something like Settings>Wireless & Networks>Mobile Networks and then select GSM/UMTS. The reason for this is if you leave it at the default Global setting, the phone searches for a Verizon signal (and it won't find one!) wasting power.

    Re Voice Mail. Yes, you can dial your usual number (with a +1 in front from your phone). When you get your greeting, press #. You will then be asked to enter your password etc and you can listen to your messages. There are probably other ways of doing this, but I find this the easiest.

    Thanks
     
    #139 silver6054, Apr 5, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2012
  8. robotbldmom

    robotbldmom New Member

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    ^^^Silver: what great info...again thanks, I will take the additional info about APN if you don't mind. I will not be in Germany for long but my college kid will be there for 3 1/2 months (same phone type and service provider) and will need more data and service than I will. Any hints for student will also be appreciated. Is there any "one" best card in Germany as to price, length of stay, data usage etc? This forum has been very informative for a challenged mom :biggrin:
     
  9. silver6054

    silver6054 Member

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    Do you speak German? If so, it's probably best to look on the Vodafone.de site for their taffifs, similarly for T-mobile etc. If not, searching around, you can find offers like this:

    Germany SIM Card

    This is more expensive than the best you can do buying a local SIM in Germany, but it doesn't look too bad. $99 for 5G + a small amount of voice is much cheaper than Verizon's international data rates. This way you would get the phone number before you left, they will forward 2 hours of calls from your US mobile number to this phone etc, so there is a lot of additional convenience.

    But if you or your family members are good at German, wait until you are there! (That said, one of my daughter's friends who was fluent in French said that her most challenging time of her year in Paris was signing a mobile contract. Apparently school French doesn't quite prepare you for that!)
     
  10. robotbldmom

    robotbldmom New Member

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    Again, thanks silver. Are you saying that my student should purchase a phone there (by contract) or just sim cards (by contract) while in Germany. No, fluency in German yet but hopeful by the end of the stay. You have been more than gracious with your answers.
     
  11. silver6054

    silver6054 Member

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    No, no need to purchase a phone. And for 3.5months, probably just stick to prepaid rather than contract SIMs. In some places, such as the UK, there are good 30 day SIM contracts (cheaper than the pure prepaid rate) but I don't know if such things are available for Germany.

    It really all comes down to cost vs convenience.

    By far the most convenient thing to do is to just to use the Verizon (Vodafone) SIM, but for me at least, the cost there far outweighs the convenience.

    The cheapest thing to do is to get a SIM when you arrive. The problem is knowing which one to get! If you were going to the UK for example, I can point you to 10 carrier/supplier sites that list all the options so you could decide what makes sense for you and your student. (Not that this is easy either, Orange for example, offers four different FAMILIES of SIM plans, each family having a choice of prepaid/postpaid with different contract lengths, different minutes/texts/data options, and a choice of rewards, and that is just one carrier!). Vodafone.de has the same information for Germany for that carrier, but if you can't understand the German, not so useful!

    That's why I included the other link, that is sort of in between. Not very cheap, but you can know that for $99 you get 5G of data and then add some voice time as well. And that was just one example, google search for Germany prepaid SIM gives other links as well.
     
  12. robotbldmom

    robotbldmom New Member

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    Wow, the options seem a little overwhelming, but you are great at explanations, i will definitely do some extra googling and see what pops up. Maybe we will just use smoke signals, seems like a cheaper and easier option (lol).
     
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