Last-minute dilemma re: overseas data plan - ARGH!

Discussion in 'Samsung Galaxy S4' started by kreniigh, Jul 2, 2013.

  1. kreniigh

    kreniigh New Member

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    I just got my new S4 from Verizon 3 weeks ago, having done extensive but apparently inadequate research on using it on my upcoming trip to Scotland. Verizon assured me that it was unlocked and global ready and that I could take the SIM card out; I shopped for alternates to their data plan and found several providers over there who would happily sell me a disposable SIM card with a decent data plan; and I was all set. Or so I thought. My fiance's co-worker just pointed out that despite what Verizon told me, the phone is still locked to their APN for data. The SIM card I was planning on buying would only work for voice, and I have no choice but to pay for Verizon's offensively-expensive global data plan. I'm finding this out less than 48 hours from my departure. I've found some info on unlocking the APN, but I have no experience with ROMs or rooting, and no time to learn (not well enough that I'd risk messing up the phone just before a big trip). Obviously Verizon isn't going to help me... Does anyone have a suggestion for someone in my position? Something I've missed in looking over the solutions? thanks
     
  2. bweN diorD

    bweN diorD Senior Member

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  3. jseah

    jseah Active Member

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    His issue isn't voice. All Verizon S4's are unlocked where you can use a foreign SIM for voice services. The issue is that the APN is locked to access only Verizon's APN, so he would not be able to connect to a foreign carrier for data except through Verizon's roaming. The only way I know of being able to unlock the APN so you can edit it to a different one other than Verizon's is to root the phone.
     
  4. kreniigh

    kreniigh New Member

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    As a Hail Mary pass, I called Verizon, fully expecting a sales pitch for their data plan ($25/100 MB I believe) and a scolding for wanting to bypass their schemes. I laid out exactly what I wanted to do -- use a third party SIM card to get voice and data from another carrier overseas. She checked my baseband version and build to make sure it was all up to date, and said that there would be no problem doing that. I was mildly astonished. The posts by maxyoda on the thread bweN diorD mentioned do seem to support this: "All was working well with Verizon in the US. I then put in a sim card I bought when I arrived, and it worked for calling as soon as it started (no changes required). The add apn setting was greyed out, but it worked anyway. I put in the appropriate apn settings and it now does mobile data, voice, and sms... I am not using Verizon's plan (as far as I know). I have a local prepaid sim and phone number with prepaid data on a gsm network (T-Mobile) and so I do not receive calls on my US Verizon number." I suppose I will know for sure in a day or so. thanks!
     
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  5. reybie

    reybie Member

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    Cool, please update. This would be handy for travel out of the US.
     
  6. kreniigh

    kreniigh New Member

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    Success, mostly

    OK, I am back from my trip and had a fairly successful experience. Upon arriving in Edinburgh, I found a Vodaphone shop near the train station and picked up a one-month micro SIM. I was expecting to get 2 GB of data for about £15, but they had a special -- unlimited data for just £10. You also got a certain number of calls/minutes and texts, but I wasn't planning on using those much.

    My phone had a persistent notification about a non-Verizon SIM in the pull-down, but otherwise it worked fine within the limitations of the Vodaphone network. We were traveling into some remote parts of Scotland and often were out of data range, but I had wireless at our cottage and used that to download offline maps in Google Maps for the places we were going*. For the most part, outside the metro areas, we were out of range more often than not, but that's rural Scotland for you. All my apps worked just fine as if nothing had changed. (One thing to watch out for is if you have 2-step verification on Google or other apps, and it sends a text message with a number, because that text won't show up until you put your own SIM back in.)

    We did have a problem making a phone call at one point when we had car trouble near one of the touristy castles. I couldn't make a phone call; automated help line said that I still had 100 minutes remaining but no 'credit'; the Vodaphone help line cost 26 p just to talk to someone for assistance, so I couldn't call them without credit; and when I tried adding credit, it wouldn't accept my Master Card. I thought maybe it was a roaming issue, but when I tried making a call in Edinburgh a week later, I got the same message. I meant to ask/complain to Vodaphone (we would have been in serious trouble if we hadn't been near a pay phone), but didn't have the time.

    So in short, I got unlimited data on my Galaxy S4 for a month in the UK for about $15 by swapping in a SIM that I picked up in a store. I had no trouble with Verizon, and nothing had to be unlocked or rooted. My fiance went to a mall kiosk before we left and got her HTC S unlocked for $25, and had the same experience (including the trouble with the Vodaphone calling plan -- if we had to do it over, she would have gone with a different company, like O2 or Orange).

    * On the day before out last big outing, a major update to the Google Maps app caused the menu button on my phone to stop working (and it still isn't), preventing me from getting to the download offline maps feature. Grr.
     
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