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PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2016 3:46 pm 
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This isn't really about a computer, but just need to get someone to look at some apple.com info, please.

I am an iPhone/mobile/cell phone virgin.

I want to buy an SE iPhone to use in Japan (data only with portable WiFi) and India (maybe) and at home in Vermont with Consumer Cellular service (inexpensive and if I bring my own phone, it requires an unlocked GSM phone - CC works on AT&T and T-Mobile networks)

I have read forums, reviews, questions, discussions online about the phone and about the options until I am blue in the face. I need to get the iPhone described as Global/Sprint model A1723 but I do not want a Sprint contract and have read that it can be purchased unlocked at an Apple store (but not online, or so all writers say) but I’ve also read it can’t be bought anywhere anyhow without a Sprint contract - I need to research this more since the rules seem to change. There is no Apple store in Vermont so it’ll involve a drive to Albany.

First a basic question about what I’m reading and seeing. Could someone please check this page for me and let me know if my understanding is correct.
Go here http://www.apple.com/iphone/LTE/#iphone-se
and scroll down a bit from Model A1662, to model A1723.
This names two items for model A1723:
Model A1723 (GSM)
Model A1723 (CDMA)
Is this the same one phone (A1723) that is dual mode? or are there 2 different A1723 phones? Is the A1723 both a GSM phone and a CDMA phone?
Specs here seem to show that?
https://support.apple.com/kb/SP738?view ... cale=en_US

I believe I found the answer on the forums.developer site, here: https://forums.developer.apple.com/thread/43933
But I just want to be sure I understand what I am reading since I have found different information elsewhere.

I’m very troubled that I can’t get it here without being locked into Sprint but that’s the next bridge to cross. Maybe we’ll have to go to Montréal to get it - but first I need to be sure I can get an A1723 that is an unlocked GSM phone.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2016 8:22 pm 
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http://www.pcmag.com/news/343091/the-ip ... r-agnostic

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In the US, you could only buy an unlocked A1723 through Official Apple Store or Apple Store online page. Choose Sprint and purchase in full price because if you choose Sprint, it comes out A1723. The Apple has declared that if an iPhone is purchased in full price, it is unlocked. But remember to do this ONLY through Apple Store.

http://www.apple.com/shop/question/answ ... 4UD99JXPKK


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 28, 2016 11:27 pm 
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Both A1723 and A1662 support both GSM and CDMA. You can see it on the spec page.

Which model you get really depends on which LTE bands you need, since they are different and non-overlapping. You don't really have to worry about CDMA, nobody except carriers in the Americas use it, and its use is growing less and less prevalent.

This thread is fairly useful:
https://discussions.apple.com/thread/75 ... 0&tstart=0

The lack of a SIM slot makes A1662 pretty much a no-go with most carriers unless they support reprogramming the handset. The ones listed on http://www.apple.com/iphone/LTE/#iphone-se are, I believe, official Apple partners. I don't know if I'd really support bringing it to a non-partner since they could, in theory, jailbreak and do whatever else they wanted to the phone too. Physical access to the device trumps all security, at least given enough time, and the SE isn't a new phone anymore.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 30, 2016 12:33 pm 
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Thanks BDA for answering.
I couldn't reply sooner - lightening storm and I shut everything off and I wanted to wait until I spoke to the Apple store to report what I learned.

What I first needed to know was if the 1723 is one phone that is dual mode. I think all new phones are both GSM and CDMA. As I said, the apple site writes the model A1723 this way:
Model A1723 (GSM)
Model A1723 (CDMA)

I wondered if that was only one model with 2 different versions - I specifically need a GSM phone that works on AT&T and T-Mobile bands to work with Consumer Cellular - inexpensive for us yet it should meet our needs when in Vermont.

The next thing I needed to know is if/where I can get it unlocked.

I’ve seen both of those links (and about 25 more)

The one about the Apple Store gave me encouragement when I read it, though the words on the website have changed in the last month or so and it no longer says “Apple has declared that if an iPhone is purchased in full price, it is unlocked.” It now says “Nearly all iPhone models sold on apple.com are “unlocked” — which means your iPhone isn’t tied to a single carrier.”

I’ve read every link I can find about this question. I need the so-called Global model 1723 phone (also identified as the Sprint phone) and its bands, not the “SIM-free” phone model 1662 which mostly has bands that work only in the US.

Another change on the Apple site, it used to say “When the Sprint model is purchased at full price, it is unlocked” in answer to “What does "SIM-free" mean? “ but it no longer says this.

I assume that if I can get the the 1723 unlocked, and that it is a GSM phone and can use the Consumer Cellular SIM card as I’ve read somewhere many times over, then it is what I need for travel.

That question seems resolved as explained below in my next reply to MonkeyBoy.

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 30, 2016 12:33 pm 
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Thanks, MonkeyBoy, for your help.
See first my reply to BDA above, please.

MonkeyBoy wrote:
Both A1723 and A1662 support both GSM and CDMA. You can see it on the spec page.

Thanks I thought so, but needed to be sure. That’s certainly what the developer site post in my link seems to say, but since it HAS to be an unlocked GSM for Consumer Cellular I wanted to be sure.

MonkeyBoy wrote:
Which model you get really depends on which LTE bands you need, since they are different and non-overlapping. You don't really have to worry about CDMA, nobody except carriers in the Americas use it, and its use is growing less and less prevalent.

Japan actually is CDMA only - not GSM. But the SIM card they rent (aka sell) in Japan is data only: they don’t allow for voice for tourists, only for those with residency and an annual contract with a service provider (or for those willing to pay a super hefty price!) - something about security they say.

I don’t exactly know what you are able to do with a personal wifi (mifi) hotspot device which you can rent (and for just about the same cost as a SIM card for the long period of time we are there) That’s probably the way we’ll go - but I don’t know what we get - I don’t know what you can/can’t do with only wifi on a cell. More studying necessary.

MonkeyBoy wrote:

Yes, I read it and it is where I got a lot of my info.

MonkeyBoy wrote:
The lack of a SIM slot makes A1662 pretty much a no-go with most carriers unless they support reprogramming the handset....


I don’t understand. I’m not interested in model 1662 because of the LTE bands it doesn’t include. It is the model that they offer as SIM-free in addition to the carrier contract options.
The Apple site describes SIM free thusly:
The SIM-free iPhone comes without a wireless contract commitment or carrier financing. It doesn’t come with a nano-SIM card for iPhone SE. And because it’s unlocked, it isn’t tied to one carrier, so you can get a nano-SIM from any supported carrier, such as AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon in the United States. The SIM-free iPhone SE is not compatible with Sprint’s network. To use iPhone SE with Sprint, you need to select Sprint as your carrier when you purchase your iPhone.
Even though they call it SIM-free, I don’t think they are saying that it has not SIM slot - but it’s moot, I can’t use that model.

MonkeyBoy wrote:
Physical access to the device trumps all security, at least given enough time, and the SE isn't a new phone anymore.

Huh? Are you talking about not having a SIM slot?

First off, I should say I’m waiting till after September 12 to make any purchase just on the off chance that when iPhone 7 comes out, the prices will go down - though the SE will only have been around 6 months when the new phones appear on the scene.

ANYWAY - I just got off the phone with Apple store in Albany.

Good News (I hope):
The Albany Apple Store will ship my order - we don’t have to drive 3 hours each way to get there (though that will cut short the 14 day return time)
They can provide a model 1723 (Global) SE 64GB UNLOCKED! I read online at several forums that the stores were the only places to get this, but then the wording changed so I wasn’t sure, but I kept seeing in forums that it can only be purchased this way from an bricks and mortar store.

So, assuming the mobile specialist I spoke to knows her stuff, it seems like the problem might be solved (as long as the 1723 is truly an unlocked GSM phone and works for AT&T and T-Mobile - to be able to work on consumer Cellular. The specs show that is has the bands necessary for those. So fingers crossed I’ve don’t as much research as I can and will just have to hope it’s all correct. Now I have to learn how to use the sucker so I can test it out on Consumer Cellular in the few days I'll have before I have to return it if need be. I know I can't use it for roaming with a CC account, which works only int the US, but that's just as well given the prohibitive costs for doing so)

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 30, 2016 2:04 pm 
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The lack of a SIM card means you need to hand the phone over to someone in the country you're visiting to reprogram the phone to work on their network. While the phone is in their hands and connected to their programmer they could, in theory, do anything to the handset.

With a WiFi hotspot you could do WiFi calling w/o changing the SIM, which means phone calls and texts go out over your internet connection. Of course then you pay for the data but in theory (barring firewall issues intentionally blocking the connection) your existing phone should work no matter where you are.

Didn't know Japan was CDMA only. They really adopted some of the quirkiest American technologies. They resisted transitioning over to TCP/IP for ages because they latched onto OSI protocols, which died out fast in the US.

I think the problem with relying on forums for information is that many times the individuals repeating the information don't keep current. Situations change and individuals may not be aware of the situation changing since it's not like they go out and buy a handset every day, month, or even year.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 30, 2016 3:01 pm 
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MonkeyBoy wrote:
The lack of a SIM card means you need to hand the phone over to someone in the country you're visiting to reprogram the phone to work on their network. While the phone is in their hands and connected to their programmer they could, in theory, do anything to the handset....


As I said, cell phone virgin here.
So if the phone I buy is unlocked will I be able to put the consumer cellular SIM in and use it in Vermont?

Then, in Japan, rent a wifi hotspot and use it for (say) online stuff (google maps, translator etc) whilst walking about - with the portable mifi in my pocket? I really don't understand these devices and need to read up on them.

But... what about if I chose to rent a SIM card in Japan instead. Why can't I put it in the phone and put in the appropriate APN (is that the acronym I'm looking for?) given out by the SIM rental place and use the SIM card there? (again, data only, no voice allowed in Japan for non-residents) In fact, though I'd never do it most likely, there are SIM card machines that dispense the cards - I've seen them at Narita airport on arrival.

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 30, 2016 3:34 pm 
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Whether it works in Vermont depends on whether you can find a cellular provider that uses the bands it supports. I'm sure you'll be able to find one but it'll take asking them and many times the customer service/sales people are less than knowledgeable - they just go off a list of phones that work and that's the end of it.

In theory you could rent a personal hotspot and then tie your phone to it and do everything over the data connection. The difference between buying a SIM and being tied to a data-only plan is that I don't know if the WiFi calling feature will work with a data-only plan. Of course the ISP could have blocked WiFi calling through their hotspot. There's some variables here that come down to their implementation.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 30, 2016 6:28 pm 
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Sorry to keep pestering you, but I'm learning and you are helping. As I said, I know just about nothing except from what I'm reading as I try to figure out what we need and what will work. I'm also trying to save money and consumer cellular is definitely a less expensive option for service - it only works for the US, but that's the only place we need it for this sort of thing. I'd never pay roaming fees whilst traveling.

MonkeyBoy wrote:
Whether it works in Vermont depends on whether you can find a cellular provider that uses the bands it supports. I'm sure you'll be able to find one but it'll take asking them and many times the customer service/sales people are less than knowledgeable - they just go off a list of phones that work and that's the end of it.

Their map for coverage is identical with - indeed IS - the AT&T map. And the bands it requires are the same as AT&T. The SE1723 has more bands that the US only phone and all the ones used by AT&T and T-Mobile, the other option that CC links to.
On CC's map, our home addy and our neck of the woods in VT are all in the strong signal locations. I really only want the phone at home for emergencies on the road - this is not going to become the phone that is never separated from my ear (I've seen too many folks walking around like that in Japan and I don't want to be that person.)

I don't know how it works, but I have a British cell phone... (OK so I'm not a total virgin - can you be a partial virgin? wait, don't answer that!]...a British cell phone that is also an MVNO and I simply had to turn the thing on and it found all the available networks and latched onto the strongest band. We used this years ago on the road in India with no issues.
I think from what I've read that this is what Consumer Cellular does.

MonkeyBoy wrote:
In theory you could rent a personal hotspot and then tie your phone to it and do everything over the data connection. The difference between buying a SIM and being tied to a data-only plan is that I don't know if the WiFi calling feature will work with a data-only plan. Of course the ISP could have blocked WiFi calling through their hotspot. There's some variables here that come down to their implementation.


I don't know if calling is an option anywhere in Japan with wifi or SIM. I think they really shut that option off. Here I'm using words I don't know exactly what they are or how they work but I think you have to use Voip or Skype or Facetime to talk - can you talk with those?

I have no real need to telephone anyone and talk - and I just need to find how to contact emergency services if we need them - but we never have and if we did, we couldn't talk to anyone anyway since we don't speak Japanese - so what we'd need is someone to call emergency for us on their phone - but I'm going to ask my Japanese friends how that would work.

This is all a plan/scheme to get us to have maps, translators, and some kind of contact (iMessage) on the road, which we have only had in the hotel itself with the MBP. When we are in the hotel, wifi is always available. I don't know, but I'm guessing, the phone could go through the hotel's wifi and not use any of the your daily data allowance amount.

This is the sort of thing I'm looking at - it's used by tourists to Japan all the time - even some residents use the wifi thingie.
for wifi and sim:
https://www.sakuramobile.jp/
OR
https://www.econnectjapan.com/products/wifi/3g

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 30, 2016 10:02 pm 
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Blocking WiFi calling is possible... but would likely block domestic users too. BTW, WiFi calling is VOIP. VOIP stands for Voice Over IP.

I wouldn't have your heart set on making phone calls, it just might be possible to do it. Of course you'll also have to follow Japanese customs when using the phone. I recall a couple Top Gear presents getting in trouble for talking on a phone on a bus. :lol:

My problem with international use is because I haven't supported anyone travelling internationally in nearly 10 years, and whatever was true then is probably not true now.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 31, 2016 7:01 am 
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Thanks again MonkeyBoy for helping me understand the confusing...

MonkeyBoy wrote:
Blocking WiFi calling is possible... but would likely block domestic users too...
I wouldn't have your heart set on making phone calls, it just might be possible to do it. Of course you'll also have to follow Japanese customs when using the phone. I recall a couple Top Gear presents getting in trouble for talking on a phone on a bus. :lol:


As I said calling is not of any interest, except in the dire emergency situation, in which case we'd have to ask for help from someone nearby anyway. iMessage ought to work for the one person we might want to contact by phone, otherwise all contact is via email.

Mrs H wrote:
...I have no real need to telephone anyone and talk - and I just need to find how to contact emergency services if we need them - but we never have and if we did, we couldn't talk to anyone anyway since we don't speak Japanese....


I still have to check if there's some VoIP way to contact emergency service in Japan using wifi and doing it in English to somewhere who can forward the message to the appropriate 911 type recipient. Some cities are wifi throughout, but I've heard the service is less than stellar. We'd prefer the "security" of renting our own hotspot.

You are correct about using the phone to speak in public. Hardly any one uses their phone to talk to anyone in Japan - they mostly seem to use it to play games, to which they seem to be addicted. On some trains there is a sign in front of your seat telling you where to go to use your phone and telling you to turn off the ringer - I think these signs are for the benefit of and mostly addressed to foreigners, since Japanese know the rules. We have some great photos of a row of bench seats on the local trains where everyone is hunched over tapping away on their phones.

What I don't understand yet is what a personal wifi hotspot can do for us. It looks to be more reliable & less expensive for the 42 day trips we take to rent one than to get a SIM card (data only) I don't know anything about them as I don't know anything about how to use the phone... especially how to use the phone, say, when I am home and want to download data - I think (know?) I can connect to my own internet wifi network and not use up data allowance on our yet to be signed up for account - but I'm not sure I understand that correctly, nor how to do it. I did find iPhone for Dummies online, my next reading project!

Here's some highlights on what works from one of the most reliable and uptodate info sites about Japan - japan-guide.com
"SIM cards allow travelers to use their own mobile phones in Japan, provided the phones are unlocked and work on a Japanese network (most modern phones do). Most SIM cards available to foreign tourists are data-only and do not allow for voice calls (except when using internet-based telephone services such as Skype). Your device must be unlocked to utilize SIM cards." http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2223.html
AND

"Skype WiFi
A special partnership between Skype and several of Japan's major Wi-Fi providers (including Wi2 listed above) allows you to use the Skype WiFi application to bypass the Japanese login and pay for internet access in your own currency via your Skype account. Usage is charged by the minute and relatively expensive."

"Personal Hotspots
Personal hotspots (also called mifi, portable hotspot, personal Wi-Fi, pocket Wi-Fi, etc.) are small, battery powered devices that use the cellular phone network to create a local wireless network. They are easy to set up, provide reasonably fast internet, work anywhere there is cell phone service, allow multiple devices to connect at once and are relatively inexpensive. Personal hotspots are available to rent on a daily basis at major Japanese airports or via the internet for delivery to your home or hotel." http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2279.html

Thanks again - do you know where I can look for info on how to do data and the like on wifi via a phone? Dummies? or iPhone, The Missing Manual, by David Pogue perhaps?

And, am I right - if the iPhone SE includes AT&T's bands (it does), connecting to consumer cellular (which runs off of AT&T and T-Mob) using the CC provided SIM should not be an issue?

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2016 12:10 am 
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The phone (via SIM) and the personal hotspot should connect to the same cellular network.

Both should get equivalent performance because the slowest link in the chain is the connection to the cellular network.

You can connect to someone else who's using Skype without paying anything beyond your network connection. You only have to pay money if you want to make phone calls or receive phone calls over Skype. If the person you want to talk to has the Skype appplication installed then you can connect to that application w/o making a phone call.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2016 12:30 pm 
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Thanks MB,

As always I learn by asking stupid questions.

Really messy post here, but please read it :?

To continue... I came upon this site about traveling on a budget with an iPhone:
http://thebudgetmindedtraveler.com/iphone-abroad/

Something here puzzles me. Am I missing or misunderstanding something?
I’m excerpting and quoting just the main points of one option described - in blue are the things that I don't think I understand (yet):

“Traveler A: Using Your iPhone Abroad for Wi-Fi Functions
…If you are not going to be needing your US cellular service at all for a month or longer, I suggest that you put your service on hold….
Note: You will not be able to receive texts or calls while your service is on hold.
After you arrive in your destination country:
Step 1:…turn Airplane Mode ON. This ensures you will not use any data or incur any unexpected charges....
Step 2: In your Settings, select Wi-Fi, and turn your Wi-Fi ON. Airplane Mode automatically turns Wi-Fi OFF...
Step 3: To connect to a Wi-Fi signal, go into your Settings, select Wi-Fi, and select a network. While connected to Wi-Fi, guess what you can do on an iPhone, even if you’re in a foreign country? (Sorry Droids, iPhones only on this one, also - these won’t work if you suspend your service) You can use:… Facetime…iMessage…”

..."these won’t work if you suspend your service"... I can understand why you can't receive calls if you suspend your service, but iMessage not working...? In the section below this on the blog, it seems to say otherwise in an ongoing discussion; is it possible this is a typo or am I clueless?

I'm asking specifically because with Consumer Cellular only works in the US - so is that the equivalent of suspended service when we are out of the country?
And why wouldn't iMessage work on WiFi even if service is suspended. :confused: :confused: :confused:

CC on their blog replies to a travel question in this way:
"we recommend you keep your phone in Airplane mode when you are outside of the U.S. If you have a smartphone and a Wi-Fi connection, you can still keep in touch. For iPhone users, iMessage will allow you to send messages with a Wi-Fi connection"
Elsewhere they say:
"If you are traveling abroad, you will not be able to use the Consumer Cellular service network for texting. Our service is designed to only work within the United States (including Alaska and Hawaii). Once you leave the US, your phone should not work. If by chance it does, the rates are completely unregulated and set by the country in which you are traveling."
I spoke to them on the phone and they said a personal WiFi hotspot should be fine (in fact they said while at home you can (should?) use WiFi and it won't eat up your data plan allowance.
I think when they say your phone should not work, I think they mean you won't be able to connect to their network, nor any other.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2016 2:27 pm 
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Suspended service means you contact your carrier and suspend your account. Traveling outside the country without suspending your account is not suspending your account. iMessage, etc. may not work properly if you suspend your service if people try to connect to you using your cell phone number. If they use your iCloud account email address then it will likely connect fine. In effect when you suspend your service your phone service is suspended in all its forms. That phone number will not work for anything while its suspended. A lot of things on an iPhone tie back to the phone number by default.

If you don't put the phone into airplane mode your phone is capable of roaming to the nearest compatible network. You then pay roaming rates. Since you're traveling internationally you would pay international roaming rates (to quote one of my more favorite movies: "It's like leather bucket seats, it's double the price.").

I would bet that texting will work fine in WiFi calling mode. It does on Android so I would assume it works on iOS.

I think part of the reason you're getting confused is because first they talk about suspending service and in the last part they're talking about not suspending your service and avoiding roaming charges by using airplane mode. Some of the instructions don't assume that you've follow the other instructions on the list.

Oh, if you pop the your carrier's SIM out and pop in a data-only SIM in its place, I don't think you can use WiFi calling because no phone number is associated to the data-only SIM.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2016 6:38 pm 
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MonkeyBoy wrote:
...
I would bet that texting will work fine in WiFi calling mode...

I think part of the reason you're getting confused is because first they talk about suspending service and in the last part they're talking about not suspending your service...

Oh, if you pop the your carrier's SIM out and pop in a data-only SIM in its place, I don't think you can use WiFi calling because no phone number is associated to the data-only SIM.


Thank you so much, MonkeyBoy, for your patient explanations and for looking at the link for me.

What you say makes things a lot clearer.

Your last little bit of info is the clincher for renting a portable Wi-Fi rather than a SIM - thanks for that. It is more expensive but if the SIM won't work... I have read on several Japan sites that WiFi tends to work better in the mountains and non-urban spots, even the companies say this, and we often go to rural areas away from big cities. I don't exactly understand why no one mentions purchasing one's own Wi-Fi hotspot - but I guess you have to get it along with a connection (?) and the only way they do the rental is for the device and the allowances. (It's about $75 [that includes discounts of about 65%] for early order and long term rental of 30 days - [I just put that in as a sample] for the Wi-Fi from one company and about $55 for the SIM for 30 days.)

Thanks again!

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2016 5:48 pm 
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If you dont mind a refurb phone. IPhone 6 unlocked for GSM Sim Card carriers for $369 (today only).

http://www.woot.com/offers/apple-16gb-iphone-6-unlocked-gsm-sd-5?ref=w_cnt_wp_0_3

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2016 7:00 pm 
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SandyG3 wrote:
If you dont mind a refurb phone. IPhone 6 unlocked for GSM Sim Card carriers for $369 (today only).

http://www.woot.com/offers/apple-16gb-iphone-6-unlocked-gsm-sd-5?ref=w_cnt_wp_0_3


Thanks for the link, SandyG3. But...

We have been looking at the 64GB SE, $500. We prefer it's smaller physical size 4.87 inches. And I don't think 16GB is going to work for us. After Sept 12 when the 7s come out the older models may come down in price, but I'm not counting on it since the SE was just introduced this March.
I don't think this 6 is what we want, but I really appreciate your finding this for us anyway! Thanks for trying.

You don't have to bother reading the rest of this, but I'm just going through some of the specs to explain why it's not the best choice for us; but I really do appreciate your looking for this and finding something.

There are a lot of things we have to have in the phone and there are several models of the 6 - some have, some haven't what we need.
We definitely need for Asia to have a phone that is Sprint compatible (with CDMA and those higher number bands), even though for the US we will be working off AT&T - the SE 1723 should work for both.
This 6 lists 4G-LTE: Bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 28 and 29
The 1723 SE Global has LTE (Bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 17, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 28) and TD‑LTE (Bands 38, 39, 40, 41) - those last ones are essential for Japan. Then there's the GSM/CDMA issue as discussed above. Though I suspect some of the 6s are dual mode, some say CDMA only - it's hard to tell which of the many models this is.
In reading reviews I've read that the 6 (but I don't know which 6) has poorer battery life than the SE. The SE has a newer (better?) camera though that's not a big concern for us.

Again, thanks for the find but we are not ready to purchase yet and I don't think this is the right one for us.

_________________
Mrs H


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