How to make the iPhone work outside of the US July 3, 2007Posted by reverseengineer in iPhone.
Here’s a Mac-A-Doodle scoop:
A good friend of mine (whose identity will remain secret, but not for long by the way he’s flashing the thing around to everyone in sight), is a man who I’d like to throttle. In envy.
Because yesterday he got an iPhone, direct and hand-delivered from the US by a relative who came home with the phone as pasalubong. We should all be so blessed with such relatives.
What’s more, amazingly, he got it to work – well, after a fashion. Everything, except the telephone part, seems to work just fine. You’d think that with all the activation safeguards that Apple and AT&T put in, all you’d do is put through emergency calls. Well, if there’s a will…
Here’s how he managed it:
He wracked his brain the whole night trying to find a way to get past the activation screen. (He likens the situation to being given a Porsche without any keys.) In frustration he went through the iTunes routine just for the heck of it. At the identity check screen where they ask for the Social Security Number, he types in a series of 9s, which predictably gets him an error message.
But here’s the loophole: iTunes then asks if you wish to get a prepaid account. Ka-ching!
He promptly cajoles his US-based sister to let him use her US debit card to get the account and some pre-paid minutes (which cost him all of US$30), upon which the phone is, of course, activated.
Everything worked – internet surfing, email, photos and movies, ipod stuff – except the phone part (duh).
Great, but here is the complication: to maintain the account, the debit card will be charged a fixed amount every month – which is money down the drain because you can’t of course use an AT&T account in the Philippines. He tried to get the account canceled, but he finds out he’ll be charged US$175 as a penalty.
Sure. Since he got the phone for free, he’ll essentially be springing for a little over two hundred bucks for an iPhone. That’s about PHP9200. Good deal in any book. So he cancels it. But everything else still works, and now he has a fancy wifi-surfing multi-touch iPod with a great screen that I will kill him for. If you were a normal person not blessed by iPhone-bearing relatives, you can get the fanciest 4gb iPod in the world for about US$700. It’s possible. Hmm.
By the way, he says the hype didn’t even come close.