Mostly Everything

Can I Use the iPhone in the Philippines?


Our first legitimate reviews of the iPhone are out in the open. But what all of us here in the Philippines want to know is whether we can use this phone here in the Philippines.

Walt Mossberg answers this question for us.

But the iPhone has a major drawback: the cellphone network it uses. It only works with AT&T (formerly Cingular), won’t come in models that use Verizon or Sprint and can’t use the digital cards (called SIM cards) that would allow it to run on T-Mobile’s network. So, the phone can be a poor choice unless you are in areas where AT&T’s coverage is good. It does work overseas, but only via an AT&T roaming plan. [source]

Here is another obstacle for potential subscribers:

For example, once the phone goes on sale this Friday, you won’t sign up for service in a phone store, under pressure from the sales staff. You will be able to peruse and choose a plan at your leisure, in the iTunes software on your computer. [source]

As you can see, activating your phone plan is done via iTunes, which may require you to have an iTunes account. Application is not done through your telco outlet.

If you had an iPhone shipped here, it will turn heads, it will make you the center of attention, but at the end of the day, it will make you look like a jackass, having spent $499 for a phone that doesn’t work. You can use it as an iPod and Skype phone though. It was not however clear if Walt was saying that the phone comes with a locked SIM card slot (hackable) or an integrated SIM card slot (hardware hackable most likely). You will need to sign up for AT&T services to get the iPod features working.

Trivia: GSM phones that use SIM cards produce those weird static noises you hear when your phone is receiving data close to a microphone or radio. CDMA phones are silent.

By Jayvee Fernandez

Jayvee Fernandez is a tech enthusiast and sitting Techbology Editor for The Philippine STAR.

He is also an EAN certified SCUBA Diver and underwater photographer based in Metro Manila, Philippines. His photos and videos have appeared in various international and local publications including Random House Germany, Discovery Channel Canada, and CNN.

27 replies on “Can I Use the iPhone in the Philippines?”

I’m guessing by the time it hits the shores of our country in January 2007, some phones will be available with open sim slots already. Just my guess, though.

Actually, it will.

If you read the entire review, it says there you can still sign up for the AT&T wireless international roaming service.

On another thoguht, when the iPhone Asian version will ship here on 2008, it will be non-AT&T. The question is which telso will carry it.

it will work here but your bill will be through the roof.

obviously SUN Cellular will carry it when it comes here. Apple did choose AT&T, DOH. stupid decision imo.

The question wasn’t fully answered… can you use it overseas as a WiFi device, in “offline mode” with no SIM card?

And can Pinoys text with it? Without looking at the screen? Abangan…

you know what, i feel that by the time it becomes available on local telcos, the slider /clamshell / Ferrari version will be available na rin. HYUK.

well, guys… heres the thing.. my cuz.. shes from the usa… she came here.. well, arrived last night and she has the iphone… we searched everwhere, and no luck with the open-line thing. they kept saying “sorry po, hindi namin po kaya iopen line yun.” i said. bkit nmn? they said “well, kasi po, wala po kaming “software” para ma open line, at hindi namin po alam kung paano i bukas ung cellphone.”.. sounds reasonable, but we went to apple.. they said, yeah. its possible, BUT .. the web browsing may not work..

and my friend in the usa, he “hackeD” the iphone, he bought like 3.. :P.. one of them, he opened.. and he wont tell me if there is a sim or not..(but i think there is). and its possible to be open-lined, but he said it may need some hardware mods.

just to verify, uhm. im not really sure if there is a sim. but im sure there is a way.. theres always a way to everything :D//

there’s a hack that enables you to bypass or rather spoof the iTunes activation but you can only use it as an iPod and web browsing and the other functions except as a phone .. hackers still trying to unlock one .. in one week they said.. and sure you can use the wifi function abroad .. another way to have it is that you can buy it on a pay as you go option.. get it activated and there you go .. release in asia is 2008 and that’s ..gonna be the second gen.. so y even bother about the first gen .. but for a first gen it is awesome already.. then there’s a sim.. the slot is on top.. then the software is mac os x.. it’s not symbian or something .. and the interface is just simply elegant .. the functions are nothing new it’s just how apple does it.. and that’s the revolutionary thing about it.. and i could not hold myself anymore.. i got one and am still drooling over it.. go to new york times for david pogues review.. then read also walt mossbergs review and there’s also but hell, just go to the horse’s mouth .. they have iphone videos on their site …

The thing is… There is NO sim card or anything similar to what we use now. It has some silly high tech system which is registered via the internet and then to the phones hardware. So what will happen before the iPhone comes to Manila is… Globe, Smart, and Sun will have to bid for the rights of the iPhone. Whoever wins will be able to give their clients an iPhone


I have Brand new and Unlocked ready to use Apple iPhone 8GB Phones.

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I am still waiting for it though, if it is worth it to spend at or I’ll just settle for a newer n-series, I’ve been using one for almost 2 years and nothing seems to be a problem.

I love 3G iPhone. I bought my 3G iPhone from Greece last month. It has really wonderful features, I enjoy it. You can contact to good person who can help you out. Here is his email ID [email protected]

it is damn irritating when using iphone in philippines, my phone was purchased in singapore, its 8gb iphone, i was surprised when i insert my smart sim card with load and in just few hours its gone.. the network itself charging my balance even im not browsing internet.. its is really ridiculous that the phone cannot deactivate the internet access when you using smart, but in globe its possible.. i called smart customer service and they keep on saying that my iphone got virus.. SMART TELECOM really very dam lousy.. they charge me 10 pesos per 30 minutes. as of now im already 52 hours in philippines and and i think till i go back to singapore im already broke! any same problem with this?

i updated my iphone, now it won’t read my sim card… what will i do? help!!! i didn’t know about iphones being locked to AT&T…

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