Buy used iphone and use in another country.

Tiras25
Tiras25 used Ask the Experts™
on
Can I buy used iphone in US and use in different country?  Or does it have to be unlocked because there could be a different service in other countries.  GSM vs. CDMA for example.
Please advice.
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Director of Member Experience  
Commented:
Hello Tiras25,

The used iPhone would need to be unlocked in order to use it out of the country.   Depending on the carrier each one is different to get an unlocked iPhone.

Author

Commented:
Thanks Stacy!  And once its unlocked, can it be used for either network like GSM, CDMA, etc.?
Jackie Man IT Manager
Top Expert 2010
Commented:
You need to check the model number first.

Also, Apple makes specific model for each carrier and you need to know which 4G bands are supported and check whether the 4G bands will match the 4G bands available in the country which the iPhone will be used.
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Martin NguyenHelpDesk Technician
Distinguished Expert 2018
Commented:
Hi Tiras25,
To follow up with what Stacy mentioned, once you have carrier unlocked your phone you should be able to use it with a carrier overseas as long as the phone supports the wireless bands the carrier uses. This site has some more information on GSM vs CDMA, and what US carriers support which wireless bands and frequencies.
Did you have a specific model iPhone in mind? With older models, you may have more luck with AT&T/T-Mobile models for global use since they use GSM in the US. With newer models I think all the iPhones have broader support, but I can look into that more if you'd like.

Regards,
Martin

Author

Commented:
Good to know.  Thanks Jackie!
 I guess its specific to the country and to the model of the iphone.

Author

Commented:
Thanks Martin.   I have iphone 7 model in mind.
Martin NguyenHelpDesk Technician
Distinguished Expert 2018
Commented:
There's 2 models available in the US of the iPhone 7, one that is sold by Sprint/Verizon and one by AT&T/T-Mobile. Sprint/VZW is A1660 and this has support for GSM/CDMA data and voice. The AT&T/T-mo model is A1778 and supports GSM, which means you won't be able to get data on Sprint and VZW in the US.
Commented:
So the real question is how you are going to use it. Do you want to use it here and in a foreign country?

Martin's last comment is exactly what I would say.

But, is this going to be a US phone and you are just vacationing and will use it for a short time.  When traveling, with the proper phone model, you have several options:
1). Just use it. But note, depending on the US carrier, will be crazy expensive.
2). Verizon and AT&T offer a per day charge (ATT is $10/day) of usage in a large number of countries.
3). If you do not care if you can be reached in the foreign country with your US number, you will need an unlocked phone so you can swap out SIMS. In the foreign country you can buy a SIM card that will make your phone look like a "local" phone in that country. (Companies like Orange for example._ Usually for a very good price you get data, texting and calling. (but calls back to the US may be expensive.) You swap out the SIMs, and can make calls, get data, and texts. Just go to a provider store in the country you are going in and see what deals that have. You can look up providers on the internet and see who offers the best sim for your use.
4). The option I use was to get an ATT/T-Mobile phone, and get US service from T-Mobile. T-Mobile One plans include international low-cost calling, unlimited text, and a BIG block of data when traveling. The "free" data is at slower speeds. But for $10/month (you can start and stop that option) you get computer tethering and higher speed data while traveling. You can see the list of 170 countries where their deal applies. In this option, I also use a VoiP phone service (like Ooma) and I can make VoiP calls over Wifi just like a regular phone for little to no charge. Worth considering if you need to make a lot of calls back to the US.

Author

Commented:
Thanks guys.  My buddy is stationed in some small country eastern europe.  He and his family will be living there indefinitely.  His daughter wants iphone.  Hence he's thinking of used iphone7.  
He's coming to US frequently and thinking of getting iphone that would work where he's at.
Commented:
Ok, just kind of reverse what I said there.

Most phones in Europe use GSM, so I would get the GSM model of the iPhone 7 (if that is the iPhone you want) because it works best in Europe and the US, but only on AT&T or T-Mobile. (Note T-Mobile is actually the American arm of Deutsche Telekom in Germany, so a plan on them will work well in the US when here.)

Note that there is a lot of confusions on the part number, as each phone has two to three numbers. There is the A number (listed above) , and then the MN number, which is Apple's model number which takes into consideration all the other things on the phone like memory size and color. And there are a lot of different variations of iPhone 7: A1660, A1778, A1779, and iPhone 7 Plus: A1661, A1784, A1785.

As Apple uses modem chips from the 2 different manufacturers, which are Intel and Qualcomm, some of the models can’t perform well on a specific carrier network.

Have a look at this website for all the different variations of the iPhone 7 and which model numbers you really want to find when searching for a used phone. This page is an excellent resource.  I thought about copying it here, but it is quite long: https://www.techwalls.com/iphone-7-plus-model-differences.

I hope this is more helpful than confusing. So please ask more questions. And once you decide on memory size (32, 128 and 256 GB) and then the color (Jet Black, Gold, Rose Gold, Silver, and Black) you can find the right model number.

And to give just one example  at how confusing it can be, for JUST the A1660, Apple has the following model numbers:

Verizon

iPhone 7 128GB Jet Black MN8Q2LL/A or MNAP2LL/A
iPhone 7 256GB Jet Black MN8W2LL/A or MNAX2LL/A
iPhone 7 32GB Gold MN8J2LL/A or MNAE2LL/A
iPhone 7 128GB Gold MN8N2LL/A or MNAL2LL/A
iPhone 7 256GB Gold MN8U2LL/A or MNAV2LL/A
iPhone 7 32GB Rose Gold MN8K2LL/A or MNAF2LL/A
iPhone 7 128GB Rose Gold MN8P2LL/A or MNAM2LL/A
iPhone 7 256GB Rose Gold MN8V2LL/A or MNAW2LL/A
iPhone 7 32GB Silver MN8H2LL/A or MNAD2LL/A
iPhone 7 128GB Silver MN8M2LL/A or MNAK2LL/A
iPhone 7 256GB Silver MN8T2LL/A or MNAU2LL/A
iPhone 7 32GB Black MN8G2LL/A or MNAC2LL/A
iPhone 7 128GB Black MN8L2LL/A or MNAJ2LL/A
iPhone 7 256GB Black MN8R2LL/A or MNAQ2LL/A

Sprint

iPhone 7 128GB Jet Black MN8Q2LL/A or MNC72LL/A
iPhone 7 256GB Jet Black MN8W2LL/A or MNCD2LL/A
iPhone 7 32GB Gold MN8J2LL/A or MNC12LL/A
iPhone 7 128GB Gold MN8N2LL/A or MNC52LL/A
iPhone 7 256GB Gold MN8U2LL/A or MNCA2LL/A
iPhone 7 32GB Rose Gold MN8K2LL/A or MNC22LL/A
iPhone 7 128GB Rose Gold MN8P2LL/A or MNC62LL/A
iPhone 7 256GB Rose Gold MN8V2LL/A or MNCC2LL/A
iPhone 7 32GB Silver MN8H2LL/A or MNC02LL/A
iPhone 7 128GB Silver MN8M2LL/A or MNC42LL/A
iPhone 7 256GB Silver MN8T2LL/A or MNC92LL/A
iPhone 7 32GB Black MN8G2LL/A or MNAY2LL/A
iPhone 7 128GB Black MN8L2LL/A or MNC32LL/A
iPhone 7 256GB Black MN8R2LL/A or MNC82LL/A

AT&T

iPhone 7 128GB Jet Black MN8Q2LL/A
iPhone 7 256GB Jet Black MN8W2LL/A
iPhone 7 32GB Silver MN8H2LL/A
iPhone 7 128GB Silver MN8M2LL/A
iPhone 7 256GB Silver MN8T2LL/A
iPhone 7 32GB Gold MN8J2LL/A
iPhone 7 128GB Gold MN8N2LL/A
iPhone 7 256GB Gold MN8U2LL/A
iPhone 7 32GB Rose Gold MN8K2LL/A
iPhone 7 128GB Rose Gold MN8P2LL/A
iPhone 7 256GB Rose Gold MN8V2LL/A
iPhone 7 32GB Black MN8G2LL/A
iPhone 7 128GB Black MN8L2LL/A
iPhone 7 256GB Black MN8R2LL/A

Author

Commented:
Wow!  That is confusing. Thank you!

Commented:
If you can tell me the memory size and color, and if you want ATT/T-Mobile or Verizon/Sprint, we can narrow it down quickly.

And if you search on eBay, you will want to know the model number and the A number, because all phones are not listed properly, and there are thousands of them.
Jackie Man IT Manager
Top Expert 2010

Commented:
Ask your buddy to visit the link below and you will have the specific model of iPhone which will work there.

https://willmyphonework.net/
Commented:
So if I understand what you are looking for, your friend is coming soon but is stationed in Europe,  wants a used phone for his daughter, and only has a few days here in which to buy.

That means you need a store rather than eBay. The fastest is going to probably be BestBuy, as they sell a lot of used phones, and looking at the local stores, expect to pay close to $370 to $500 or more for a used iPhone 7 on GSM unlocked.  Maybe they can buy it the next time they arrive and it will give you more time to find something.

I sent you a BestBuy link in a PM to give you an idea of what is available.

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