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Verizon iPhone 5 options for 3-week trip to SE Asua

Verizon iPhone 5 options for 3-week trip to SE Asua

Old Nov 14th, 2013, 07:42 AM
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Verizon iPhone 5 options for 3-week trip to SE Asua

Having just learned what it means to have an UNLOCKED phone with Verizon, I'm beginning to explore our options for our upcoming trip to Thailand (2 wks), Laos/Luang Prabang (3 days), and Cambodia/ Siem Reap (4 days). We will be traveling with a WiFi-enabled iPad, and staying at hotels , for the most part, where wi- fi is available.

Use of iPhone would primarily be for texting family back home or occasional searching out information while out and about, checking work emails, maybe an occasional local call, but I can't imagine doing that much.

What are the best options?
1) Using local nano SIM cards? If so, what do you recommend? Do we buy one for each country or is there one we can use throughout our trip?
2) verizon overseas plan? It doesn't look like it's really very good, but I'm only beginning to understand what the plans mean.
3) any other options?

Many thanks for your help! I'm still learning how to use the Smart phone, and it makes me feel anything but!

Paule
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Old Nov 14th, 2013, 07:54 AM
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Once you're in Thailand head to an "AIS" shop at any mall in the country. They are the biggest mobile phone company here with the best coverage.

Get a prepaid 3G nano sim and you're set. Ask for unlimited data or net access via 3G and you will be able to use all the functions or apps of the iPhone 24 hours a day. 3G coverage in all the major cities in Thailand with very fast internet access, around 10 mbps. Faster than in the US or UK!

I use Facetime to video chat with my daughter who is studying abroad all day and night and basically at no extra cost.

If you wish you can get an additional sim for your iPad or you can turn on the "hot spot" of the iPhone and run your iPad off of it.
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Old Nov 14th, 2013, 07:59 AM
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Also, see this thread for a very useful iPhone app: http://www.fodors.com/community/asia...-easy-taxi.cfm
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Old Nov 14th, 2013, 08:06 AM
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Many thanks, Hanuman. Will that include Laos & Cambodia, or do we get additional SIM cards when we arrive in those countries?

Not sure I understand the bit about running the iPad off the iPhone's hotspot, though. We have a WiFi only iPad, so we wouldn't be able to use it except where wifi is available. Are you saying that the SIM card provides WiFi in a hotspot?

Forgive me if this sounds naive, but the iPhone technology is still very new to me.
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Old Nov 14th, 2013, 08:07 AM
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Thanks for the link to the taxi app, too! I was wondering if I'd be able to use it!
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Old Nov 14th, 2013, 08:13 AM
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On an unlocked iPhone, if connected to a 3G or 4G phone network, can act as a wifi station sending out wifi signal and your iPad can log on to it and use the net. Go to "Settings" and turn on "Personal Hotspot" then input your password and you're set. Do note that by doing this your battery will drain quite quickly!

I just noticed that you're asking about Cambodia and Laos as well. I am afraid I don't have any recommendation for them but they should have 4G networks there. However, I have heard that the bandwidth is not that great which make net access not as fast as it should be.
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Old Nov 14th, 2013, 08:25 AM
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Thanks so much! Very helpful I didn't know that about the "personal hotspot"! Very neat!

I don't imagine I'll need the phone much in Laos (very short stay), but I'm sure there will be a way to find a card for Siem Reap.

Paule
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Old Nov 18th, 2013, 03:21 PM
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I, too, have a Verizon iPhone and iPad. The last time we traveled to Thailand, I checked with Verizon here(US) and this is the advice they gave me.

Settings/General/International allows you to use your phone in foreign countries without a SIM card to contact someone in the US, but it is very expensive ~~ about 2.00/minute. They advised that we buy a simple phone in Thailand instead. The rates in LOS are only cents/minute. Also, you can buy prepaid minutes on a SIM card for this phone at any 7-Eleven. It worked for us.

Any hotel that has a WIFI available allows you to use the iPad just like a computer without any adjustments. We were able to research and send/receive emails this way and with no additional charges ~~ time was simply deducted from our data plan.

My advice, for what it's worth, is to check in person with your Verizon rep. Tell them exactly what you want to do and they can share their best advice. You may find that you can get by with less!

BTW, I have used my iPhone for over a year and I might as well have a plain, simple cell for placing/answering calls. The only iPhone "treat" is texting ~~ the rest baffles me.

Enjoy your travels. Once we went to Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Singapore we haven't wanted to go anywhere else.

McBeanie
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Old Nov 18th, 2013, 03:52 PM
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Thanks, McBeanie,

I'm a little confused. I have an iPhone 5, which is unlocked and can accept a SIM card making it usable for travel. Is there a reason why I'd want to buy another phone -- or is it that you have an earlier phone, that is locked?

I do love the iPhone -- but don't use all the bells and whistles that it offers. Nice to have it, though.

Thanks for the good wishes -- we can't wait till our trip in January!
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Old Nov 18th, 2013, 03:56 PM
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My iPad is Wifi only, and it's been wonderful to travel with, as most hotels have WiFi available. Not always in the room, but even in small hotels and guest houses, WiFi is usually available in the public areas of the place. I don't have it on a data plan, so that's not an issue.

We will use the phone primarily to stay in touch with some family and any coordination that we need to do during our travels. Not heavy use.
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Old Nov 18th, 2013, 05:46 PM
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I'm really surprised to see that your Verizon phone is unlocked. My husband uses an older iphone when in Bangkok. He has a newer one for use at home in USA. I believe he uses DTAC in Bangkok. It cost him a bit to get the phone unlocked in Bangkok at MBK mall, 4th floor.

IF you have an unlocked phone then it should be easy to get a SIM card for it. MBK mall 4th floor has everything you need.
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Old Nov 18th, 2013, 05:53 PM
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MBK is the place to go to for jailbreaking or unlocking phones BUT once you've unlocked a contracted phone you will not be able to upgrade the iOS software or sync it properly with iTunes. If it's already unlocked then you can buy the SIM at any phone shop in Bangkok, or Thailand.

If you do make international phone calls from when using a local SIM then the rate is about 9 - 12 Baht per minute to the USA depending which company you use.
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Old Nov 18th, 2013, 05:56 PM
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I hit post too soon........

I have the hot spot feature on my Samsung Galaxy phone. I pay extra for it each month, so you may or may not have it included on your iphone. You might check your verizon contract to be sure. And it seriously drains the battery!!!! Hanuman is correct.

I use DTAC on my unlocked Google phone when I am in Bangkok and switch to a Swisscom SIM when in Europe. Love the Google phone! I really prefer it over my Galaxy. The best thing is keeping the same phone number(s) each time I arrive in Thailand and Switzerland.
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Old Nov 18th, 2013, 06:15 PM
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The iphone 5 is unlocked and takes a nano SIM card. Simpsonc, now you have me wondering about the Google phone! I'm new to the world of the smartphone, and am trying very hard to make sense of all the options. Only last week, I had no idea what a locked or unlocked phone was. Do I change my number every time I get a different service and SIM card?

I did check into the HotSpot feature, and while I'm not sure that I pay extra for the service, it doesn't seem worth it for me to have to drain the battery and potentially use up my data limit. Hotel wifi will be fine for my ipad.

Many thanks, everyone, for all the feedback and suggestions.

2 months to go!

Paule
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Old Nov 18th, 2013, 06:26 PM
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Regarding the number change - yes you will get a local Thai number when you buy a prepaid SIM in Thailand. At the AIS, or DTAC, shop you can ask the staff there to make all the settings you want, like opening up the "hotspot" feature etc.

Before you change the SIM sync your phone with iTunes on your computer and it will store all the telephone numbers, apps, photos etc . Then if you bring your computer along you can sync it again after you get a local SIM and all the apes and phone numbers etc will be on your phone.

I believe, not 100% sure, that the staffs at the AIS phone shop can do this for you as well so that you can have all your contact and apps on the phone after changing the SIM.
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Old Nov 18th, 2013, 10:51 PM
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Progol,
You're going to love having an unlocked phone and once you've mastered putting in a local sim you won't even consider going back to using Verizon when you travel. We've done this all over Europe and it works without problems.

Hanuman is right of course, the sim has the number so while you're in Thailand you'll have a local Thai number. We've used so many different sims when we've travelled and it seems to get cheaper year by year.

The only plan I'm considering is the new t-mobile plan which gives you texting plus (2G) slow data for free when you travel outside the US. I think there's a limit of 6 weeks.
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Old Nov 19th, 2013, 06:03 AM
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The google phone is available from google. $299? It is an LG nexus phone. You need to have a gmail account in order to get one. It's easy to get gmail. I love having my SIM cards to stick in the phone, whether it is Thailand or Switzerland. Having the same number each time makes it so much easier to stay in touch. I should say that I visit Thailand and Switzerland several times per year. The phone number is good for one year after the last time you use it.

Having an unlocked phone is fantastic when one travels internationally with any regularity.
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Old Nov 19th, 2013, 08:03 AM
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I have learned a lot from reading this thread. Seems the iPhone will do lots more than I ever imagined. May even look at the Google phone (I like the LG line) when my contract expires.

McBeanie
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Old Nov 19th, 2013, 08:25 AM
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But before you jump too high.... think about this. As far as I can tell, there is no unlocked SIM card available in the USA to put into the google phone, from my own bit of investigating. Maybe I'm getting this all wrong, but what I glean is that the US govt (NSA) wants to have information on everyone who has a US phone number, thus a CONTRACT, and since a random SIM card can be anonymous (NO contract) it is not possible to get one in the USA. Maybe I've got this wrong...

I have friends from Italy who would like to get a google phone and SIM card for use in the USA on their frequent trips here. They would like to maintain the SAME phone number each time they return. Discussions with phone "experts" at a Best Buy would seem to indicate that you cannot get such a SIM card in this country. Yes, you can get a trakfone (or similar) but that one is essentially a one-time use phone, as the number and any money you have on the SIM card will expire in 30 days.

If I've got this all wrong, and someone knows differently about this, I would LOVE to get more information. I really want to help my Italian friends get a phone that they can use, much as in the same way that I insert my (various) SIM card in my google phone when I arrive in Europe and Thailand.
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Old Nov 19th, 2013, 08:39 AM
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Carol I buy prepaid SIMs in the US every time I visit. Available at T-Moblie, AT&T etc. No need to register either.
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