Win: Sprint iPhone Unlock In London

I flew to London yesterday to attend the Le Web Conference this week.

London in June is wonderful, and the Olympic crowds are still weeks away. The only downer is the mugging I knew I’d take when trying to use my iPhone here. I’ve been brought to my knees with bills from trips to Canada and Mexico on this phone. It’s not pretty.

$1.29 per minute. $.50 per text. And, seriously, $19 per mb of data. That’s what Sprint charges for iPhone usage in the UK.

I asked them if they’d just unlock the phone, per the rumors. The answer was yes. No problem. They weren’t going to offer it, but once I asked they did it right away.

This required me to back up the phone on iTunes and then restore it. But after that I slipped in a £15 micro sim from these guys (thanks, Le Web). It gives me 300 minutes, 3,000 texts and “all you can eat data” for “up to 30 days.” And the phone seems to be working just fine.

More than just fine, actually. Speedtest shows a 7.42 Mbps download speed from my hotel room. I’d kill for something like that in the U.S.

A few clicks over at Google Voice to set up the new number let’s me have all my normal calls from the U.S. forwarded here as well. If I want to make outbound calls from this phone using the Google Voice number I need to initiate it through the Google Voice app or website.

If you’re wondering why I went with Sprint in the first place, it’s because it’s the only service that lets me use Google Voice natively with the phone.

ps – I’ve also set up my hotspot and am using this for my laptop. totally awesome.

17 thoughts on “Win: Sprint iPhone Unlock In London

  1. 2.4Mbps upload is very impressive if you are a heavy user of Path, Instagram, etc…

  2. Morgan says:

    I’ve tried to explain the Sprint integration to iPhone friends (I’m on a Pixi, yes) they just say “oh I have Google Voice” and I say but this is really integrated properly with the phone service– “yeah I have that.” So it’s refreshing to see it get put to proper use. Plus those speeds, lordy. Nice.

  3. Karthik Reddy says:

    “A few clicks over at Google Voice to set up the new number let’s me have all my normal calls from the U.S. forwarded here as well.”

    How is that possible; AFAIK Google voice does not allow forwarding to international numbers:

    http://support.google.com/voice/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=115072

  4. David Laster says:

    How do you get google voice to forward to an international number? AFAIK, Google voice does not allow this yet for US-based Google accounts. My only luck has been to use talkatone VOIP which does not perform as well as GSM for calls.

  5. Peter Urban says:

    Roaming is such a rip-off. That’s great that you were able to unlock your phone – I wish I could do the same when traveling to the States from Canada

  6. Henri Cook says:

    This is very cool, unfortunately rather than our UK model of pricing reflecting into the US it seems that the US model of pricing is starting to creep into the UK! What can we do to stop it?

  7. I got out of my AT&T contract last year, and picked up an iPhone, world phone.

    I’m living in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam at the moment. When I arrived I picked up a local sim, and of course a local number. That process took about 5 minutes, and cost $5 bucks US.

    It’s prepaid here for voice, data, and text, but it comes out to about $5 bucks a week. I’m a heavy data user. If you run out of time there are people everywhere selling prepaid credits.

    Ohh, and I’m getting about 5 megs down and 2.5 megs up.

    So much for the third world.

    US cell plans are a joke, and ripe for a revolt.

  8. kiran says:

    Next time you’re in UK, you should use http://giffgaff.com/ as your sim card and noooo I don’t work for them. They

  9. JP says:

    Happiness comes in small doses. Small victories like these come at a price though – the realization that that’s how things should work in the first place, and that we’re still getting ripped off by the living ghost of The Telephone Company.

  10. Three leads with data, perhaps because they are an also-ran network. Happily prepay is a big chunk of the market here so you get decent deals (also from O2), not the no-data expiring-minutes ripoffs you get with prepaid US SIMs.

  11. I had the same experience in Iceland last week. Verizon had no issues unlocking the phone (and didn’t require a backup/restore). I bought a $25 sim from the Reykjavik visitor center, with enough credit to cover moderate data/voice usage for the whole 9-day trip. They didn’t offer a micro sim but the local Mac store had a tool to cut a normal sim down.

    I didn’t run speed tests but anecdotally it was better than what I’ve seen in the US, and coverage was superb.

    Like other commenters, I’m surprised GVoice let you forward to the new number — it didn’t work for me in Iceland. But between the GVoice app for SMS and the fact that incoming calls are free in Europe, it wasn’t a big deal.

    Definitely one of those technology-is-amazing moments. Although it also puts even more responsibility on the traveler to decide just how connected he wants to be…

  12. John says:

    Thanks Mike, I was just going to post asking to hear about your experiences thus far with GoogleVoice/iPhone/Sprint as I am considering moving to that myself (though still a little concerned about coverage of Sprint vs. AT&T and Verizon).

  13. gagan says:

    Where did you get it unlocked from?

  14. JSmith1224 says:

    When you use the local SIM card from 3, are you given a local number as well? Essentially, does your number temporarily change while you are on the local SIM card?

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