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Old 14.01.2013, 22:24
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US Verizon Wireless iPhone 5 on Swisscom Network

I'll be moving from the US to Zurich in a little over a month from now and I was wondering if anyone has experience using a US-bought iPhone 5 (especially if it's model A1429 CDMA) in Switzerland via Swisscom or any other wireless provider.

I currently have a family plan with a US carrier, Verizon Wireless, where I bought an iPhone 5 under a 2-year contract. This family plan will still be maintained since I'm the only one who will be moving to Zurich. I've got confirmation from Verizon that my iPhone 5 is indeed already unlocked and I should be able to use any network that provides a nano-sim and is compatible with the bands of my iPhone 5.

After a little research, the iPhone 5 provided by Verizon is CDMA model A1429. Apple states this model should work on the following bands:
  • CDMA EV-DO Rev. A and Rev. B (800, 1900, 2100 MHz)
  • UMTS/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA (850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz)
  • GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)
  • LTE (Bands 1, 3, 5, 13, 25)

I looked into the Swisscom bands and they seem to be the following (mostly from wikipedia, correct me if I'm wrong):
  • UMTS (2100 MHz)
  • LTE (Band 3/1800 MHz, ?/2600 MHz)
  • Probably more...

So it looks like in theory, if I purchase service from Swisscom and get a nano-sim from them, I should be able to use my US-bought iPhone 5 in Switzerland. I'll try to contact Swisscom but I was hoping if anyone here has first hand experience with this or could shed some light on this subject.
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Old 14.01.2013, 22:32
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Re: US Verizon Wireless iPhone 5 on Swisscom Network

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I'll be moving from the US to Zurich in a little over a month from now and I was wondering if anyone has experience using a US-bought iPhone 5 (especially if it's model A1429 CDMA) in Switzerland via Swisscom or any other wireless provider.

I currently have a family plan with a US carrier, Verizon Wireless, where I bought an iPhone 5 under a 2-year contract. This family plan will still be maintained since I'm the only one who will be moving to Zurich. I've got confirmation from Verizon that my iPhone 5 is indeed already unlocked and I should be able to use any network that provides a nano-sim and is compatible with the bands of my iPhone 5.

After a little research, the iPhone 5 provided by Verizon is CDMA model A1429. Apple states this model should work on the following bands:
  • CDMA EV-DO Rev. A and Rev. B (800, 1900, 2100 MHz)
  • UMTS/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA (850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz)
  • GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)
  • LTE (Bands 1, 3, 5, 13, 25)

I looked into the Swisscom bands and they seem to be the following (mostly from wikipedia, correct me if I'm wrong):
  • UMTS (2100 MHz)
  • LTE (Band 3/1800 MHz, ?/2600 MHz)
  • Probably more...

So it looks like in theory, if I purchase service from Swisscom and get a nano-sim from them, I should be able to use my US-bought iPhone 5 in Switzerland. I'll try to contact Swisscom but I was hoping if anyone here has first hand experience with this or could shed some light on this subject.
Seems like it would work - Switzerland is on GSM bands. http://www.cultofmac.com/192238/veri...iers-like-att/

When you come, you can get a pre-paid SIM card (For me, it works out cheaper and better than a contract anyways) and try it out.

Last edited by anowheels; 14.01.2013 at 22:34. Reason: added sentence
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Old 14.01.2013, 22:34
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Re: US Verizon Wireless iPhone 5 on Swisscom Network

Things might have changed but as far as I knew it, the US CDMA variant is always locked to the provider.

http://rentmysim.com/phoneReady.php?networkID=71
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Old 14.01.2013, 22:38
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Re: US Verizon Wireless iPhone 5 on Swisscom Network

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Things might have changed but as far as I knew it, the US CDMA variant is always locked to the provider.

http://rentmysim.com/phoneReady.php?networkID=71
With the iPhone, it seems Verizon just locked the CDMA band http://gigaom.com/2012/09/24/why-the...s-best-friend/
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Old 14.01.2013, 22:54
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Re: US Verizon Wireless iPhone 5 on Swisscom Network

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Seems like it would work - Switzerland is on GSM bands. http://www.cultofmac.com/192238/veri...iers-like-att/

When you come, you can get a pre-paid SIM card (For me, it works out cheaper and better than a contract anyways) and try it out.
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With the iPhone, it seems Verizon just locked the CDMA band http://gigaom.com/2012/09/24/why-the...s-best-friend/
I did find similar articles about the Verizon iPhone 5 and there's a lot of conflicting information in various forums including Verizon's. But I did get confirmation from them directly that my phone is indeed unlocked and I don't have to go through normal process of requesting an unlock like I did with my previous global phone. Looks like there's a high chance my phone should work but I won't know for sure until I try it myself.

Never used a pre-paid plan before but it's probably the best for me as well once I'm there. Which provider do you use for the pre-paid service? Is there such a service that includes data?


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Things might have changed but as far as I knew it, the US CDMA variant is always locked to the provider.

http://rentmysim.com/phoneReady.php?networkID=71
It's generally true still for phones that are CDMA only. As anonwheels mentioned, just the CDMA portion is locked for the Verizon iPhone 5 and any other Verizon phones that support CDMA in addition to GSM/UMTS/LTE etc. Didn't know about the RentMySim webpage. So at the very least I can get 3G which is fine for me. As I understand, LTE has only been recently deployed in Switzerland.
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Old 14.01.2013, 22:59
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Re: US Verizon Wireless iPhone 5 on Swisscom Network

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I did find similar articles about the Verizon iPhone 5 and there's a lot of conflicting information in various forums including Verizon's. But I did get confirmation from them directly that my phone is indeed unlocked and I don't have to go through normal process of requesting an unlock like I did with my previous global phone. Looks like there's a high chance my phone should work but I won't know for sure until I try it myself.

Never used a pre-paid plan before but it's probably the best for me as well once I'm there. Which provider do you use for the pre-paid service? Is there such a service that includes data?


It's generally true still for phones that are CDMA only. As anonwheels mentioned, just the CDMA portion is locked for the Verizon iPhone 5 and any other Verizon phones that support CDMA in addition to GSM/UMTS/LTE etc. Didn't know about the RentMySim webpage. So at the very least I can get 3G which is fine for me. As I understand, LTE has only been recently deployed in Switzerland.
I use Orange - http://shop.orange.ch/prepay/icat/or...orange-me-v3=1 - you can get a 10 CHF/month option for 300 MB of data or 20 CHF/month for 1000 MB (http://shop.orange.ch/en/internet-an...obile-internet). Depends on what you use the most There are other options out there
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Old 14.01.2013, 23:22
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Re: US Verizon Wireless iPhone 5 on Swisscom Network

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I use Orange - http://shop.orange.ch/prepay/icat/or...orange-me-v3=1 - you can get a 10 CHF/month option for 300 MB of data or 20 CHF/month for 1000 MB (http://shop.orange.ch/en/internet-an...obile-internet). Depends on what you use the most There are other options out there
Thank you! I'll definitely look into Orange, the rates seem reasonable.
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Old 14.01.2013, 23:38
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Re: US Verizon Wireless iPhone 5 on Swisscom Network

Try iCompare for rates:

https://icompare.ch/en

Which mobile phone provider? Swisscom, Sunrise, Orange....

You might wish to read up on user Dawiz's posts on Orange and 3G.

I have used Sunrise, great for major cities and towns, a little poor in the French speaking area ( where I am told Orange is excellent ). Swisscom has the greatest coverage, can't say the same about rates. Then there are also smaller providers who ride on the larger or main providers.
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Old 14.01.2013, 23:55
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Re: US Verizon Wireless iPhone 5 on Swisscom Network

Thank you for the resources and tidbits on Sunrise's service, should be very useful!
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Old 15.01.2013, 05:13
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Re: US Verizon Wireless iPhone 5 on Swisscom Network

I used an iPhone 4s from Verizon here. It works fine on the GSM networks here. I'm sure the iPhone 5 is the same.

If you want service advice, I have a global plan for work so the iPhone 4s just picks up whatever network is strongest. Swisscom is what the phone grabs >90% of the time. I also have a personal iPhone with an Orange pre-paid SIM, and I find that one stuggles at time to get a signal (especially indoors). However - Orange has a really fantastic pre-pay option for calling to the US. I think it's called Orange World? Anyway, the rates are super cheap to the US. Almost as cheap as a Skype call (to a phone number that is)
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Old 15.01.2013, 05:17
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Re: US Verizon Wireless iPhone 5 on Swisscom Network

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Thank you! I'll definitely look into Orange, the rates seem reasonable.
I've read that the Verizon iPhone 5 is indeed unlocked (and always has been).

As for the Swiss providers, here's a short summary:

1. Swisscom: (by far) most expensive, but by far the best network and by far the best customer service. Most subscriptions also include some data and voice roaming allowances for Europe.

2. Sunrise: Sucky network, absolutely abysmal customer service. Extremely unfriendly. Just look for Sunrise threads here - lots of people get cheated by them.

3. Orange: Sucky network (they don't even have EDGE yet, although they promised to have it deployed by 2012), sucky customer service. Coverage in rural areas in Switzerland is close to non-existant (e.g. I couldn't use their service even if I wanted to - they don't cover my area).
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Old 15.01.2013, 07:57
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Re: US Verizon Wireless iPhone 5 on Swisscom Network

Are you using a Swisscom station to write this or they write it for you? Why are your experiences the norm in costumer service? My experience with Swisscom was bad but I am not going to trash their network and just because people sign contracts before finding out they need to leave the country does not mean that a certain network is bad...Besides do you have actual proof of the cheating or just posts from EF? And because Orange does not cover your area they are "sucky"???
Anyway...if you guys want a professional overview of the three networks take a look at the Connect tests for 2012. I was surprised that for example Orange, without EDGE as members from EF say was doing pretty good and Sunrise is falling back...bad time to fall back I would say
It is in German but if you go to page 66 there is a pretty easy self-explanatory chart...


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I've read that the Verizon iPhone 5 is indeed unlocked (and always has been).

As for the Swiss providers, here's a short summary:

1. Swisscom: (by far) most expensive, but by far the best network and by far the best customer service. Most subscriptions also include some data and voice roaming allowances for Europe.

2. Sunrise: Sucky network, absolutely abysmal customer service. Extremely unfriendly. Just look for Sunrise threads here - lots of people get cheated by them.

3. Orange: Sucky network (they don't even have EDGE yet, although they promised to have it deployed by 2012), sucky customer service. Coverage in rural areas in Switzerland is close to non-existant (e.g. I couldn't use their service even if I wanted to - they don't cover my area).
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File Type: pdf Netztest.pdf (4.26 MB, 97 views)
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Old 15.01.2013, 21:14
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Re: US Verizon Wireless iPhone 5 on Swisscom Network

It can work.
There's no technical reason for it not to.

But you won't know for sure until you actually see it working in your hands.
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Old 15.01.2013, 21:26
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Re: US Verizon Wireless iPhone 5 on Swisscom Network

Yeah, I will definitely give it a try once I'm in Zurich and will follow up with my experience here.
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Old 15.01.2013, 21:38
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Re: US Verizon Wireless iPhone 5 on Swisscom Network

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Yeah, I will definitely give it a try once I'm in Zurich and will follow up with my experience here.
Yes please, update us on whether it works.
Would be cool to know for future reference.
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Old 16.01.2013, 16:43
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Re: US Verizon Wireless iPhone 5 on Swisscom Network

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I use Orange - http://shop.orange.ch/prepay/icat/or...orange-me-v3=1 - you can get a 10 CHF/month option for 300 MB of data or 20 CHF/month for 1000 MB (http://shop.orange.ch/en/internet-an...obile-internet). Depends on what you use the most There are other options out there
Other option is lebara (SUNRISE NETWORK):

5CHF - 120MB http://www.lebara.ch/lebara-surf
15CHF - 1GB


oder Lycamobile:
5CHF - 120MB
14CHF - 1GB http://www.lycamobile.ch/bundles/de
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Old 16.01.2013, 22:49
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Re: US Verizon Wireless iPhone 5 on Swisscom Network

I have an Verizon iPad 4 with Orange prepaid and At&t iPhone 5 with Swisscom subscription both work fine in CH
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Old 16.01.2013, 23:51
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Re: US Verizon Wireless iPhone 5 on Swisscom Network

The international roaming is a killer. Right now its $25/100MB or $.25/MB. Let's say you only use 500MB a month(I average around 7000MB/month... thankfully I have unlimited data), you're looking at at $125/month for data.

Using $125/month for 500MB as a baseline, I'm pretty sure you'll find a better deal on a Swiss prepaid.

BTW, which family plan are you on? Shared data or is this a grandfathered account?
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Old 17.01.2013, 18:22
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Re: US Verizon Wireless iPhone 5 on Swisscom Network

Yeah, using Verizon's international roaming plan is way too expensive and it's why I started looking into mobile plans in Switzerland with hopes that I do not have to replace my Verizon iPhone 5.

We previously had a grandfathered unlimited data plan 2 months ago but to get 4G LTE phones with the subsidy price, we had to switch to either individual tiered plans or a tiered shared data plan. We opted for the shared data plan basing on our usage during Sandy's aftermath (NYer here as well).
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Old 25.02.2013, 17:24
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Re: US Verizon Wireless iPhone 5 on Swisscom Network

I've finally arrived in Zurich and one of the first things I did was purchase mobile service and opened a PostFinance account all at the Zurich Airport Center.

Before leaving the US, I switched the device of my Verizon line from the iPhone 5 I'm using now to an old iPhone 4 that another family member will use. This was all done online via the Verizon website.

After arriving in Zurich, I went to the Zurich Aiport center and first went into the Swisscom shop to discuss their prepaid plan with one of the associates. Unfortunately, they did not have a nanosim that the iPhone 5 needs but they told me to go to the Post Office branch just opposite of the Swisscom shop where I should be able to purchase the prepaid plan and obtain a nanosim (this was a surprise to me as I didn't know the Swiss Post also deals with cellphones/mobile devices). Unfortunately, the Post Office also did not have any nanosims but I decided to open a PostFinance account while I was there (rather painlessly considering I'm a US citizen).

So I went into the shop for Orange (also in the Airport Center) and they did have a nanosim. I got Orange World PrePay as mentioned by EdIsidor. I inserted the nanosim, tapped on the unlock SIM prompt on my phone and entered the pin that appears after you scratch it off the nanosim holder. The Orange associate had to enter 'click' without the quotes as the APN for cellular data. Within moments, my iPhone 5 is working on the Orange network! The data network is at 3G speeds and I was told 4G should start launching this summer.

Aside from greetings, I did all of my talking with the employees in English (hopefully overtime I'll have a better handle of the language) and they seemed very friendly.

For the short time I've used the cell service so far, it seems fine outdoors in the city of Zurich. When going indoors in Migros or COOP, my service fluctuated between 2-bars to no service. It was sufficient for me to get some translations on some product descriptions I was reading. In my studio flat, the signal is a solid 5 bars.

So in summary:
I have a US Verizon Wireless iPhone 5 (Verizon sells the A1429 CDMA model) purchased under a 2-year contract that's still active. The phone is already unlocked as mentioned by several reports on the web but I've also confirmed this with Verizon as they did not have to go through the typical unlock process that I had to do with other global phones. I bought Orange World PrePay service and had a nanosim provided to me. With a little help from the shop associate, my iPhone 5 is now successfully on the Orange network.

Hope this helps some people out, especially those coming from Verizon with an iP5!
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