A Foreign iPhone on AT&T

This was one of those things that I had to work out on my own in situ, which wasn’t a whole heap of fun.  If you’re going to be away for less than a week – it’s not worth your while – just deal with the roaming charges and only use Wi-Fi for your data. If however you are going to be away for a while or do require data then it’s recommended you connect to AT&T. So here is a definitive guide of getting your iPhone4 up and running in the USA.

What you’ll need:

  • an unlocked iPhone4
  • a pre-paid Visa card (step 2)
  • WiFi Access
The Process:
  1. Unlock your phone at home first. Your phone needs to be unlocked by your provider BEFORE you travel overseas. This will require a restore in iTunes so be aware. I would recommend doing this at least a week if not two before you head off.
  2. Find a Walgreens or any department store. Find the pre-paid Visa cards and get one. The amount of credit you require will depend on how long you will be away but I’d recommend getting $50 or so.
  3. Setting the prepaid Visa up is a little more difficult than first thought. You’ll need WiFi to access the website and initialise the card. Starbucks is a good place and you can also use Google Maps to find your next stop – the AT&T store.
  4. At the AT&T store tell your service person you need a new micro sim for your iPhone4. You want to get the $2 a day pay-as-you-go (prepaid) plan – do not get the $60 /month flat rate. You will need to give them an address – use your hotel. Put some credit on your phone and pay with your prepaid Visa card.
  5. Now you need to get them to add data to your plan. They will say that this is not possible – don’t worry just get them to do it.
  6. OK – your phone should be working now and you’ll be able to make calls.
  7. To setup data you’ll need to visit http://www.unlockit.co.nz/unlockit/ and change the APN settings. If you can get on WiFi again and navigate there via your iPhone a mobile version of the site will load. Set your carrier to AT&T.
  8. That should be it. You should now have access to the 3G data network and a fully functioning iPhone.
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