AT&T Go Phone with H2O SIM Card - Will it work in London?
Happy New Year!
I'm sorry if this is off-topic for an Android forum, but I'm in a time crunch since I'm leaving in London in 2 days. I'd appreciate your indulgence.
I am going to London for 6 months. A friend who is going with me went to Best Buy and bought this set up:
A $20 AT&T GoPhone (U2800A)
An H20 SIM Starter Kit with free international calling.
A $50 H20 calling card with free International calling.
He activated the phone by following the instructions at the H20 Website and placed a call to London from the US.
My bottom line question is this: Will this setup work once we get to London? Will we be able to call within the UK and also back to the states?
Some more details:
When I went to Best Buy and asked about the set up, I was told that not only won't it work in London, the phone will not even activate once the H2O SIM card is put in. They said the phone is locked to AT&T and will display "Inoperable" if any other SIM card is installed.
OK, we know that Best Buy is wrong because my friend has used the phone to call London and he did not go through any unlocking process. He simply followed the instructions at the H2O website.
I decided to go to an AT&T store, explain the situation and ask for their honest opinion. In fact, I went to 2 different AT&T stores and basically got the same answer:
While neither of the people I talked to were familiar with the H20 SIM card, this is what they said:
Best Buy probably gave me the "corporate answer" that they are all trained to give. "It won't work." However, since we know that it does work, because your friend got it to work, then it's very possible that it works for calling from the US since the phone will connect with the AT&T GSM network in the states. Once you go overseas, the phone itself - regardless of what SIM card is in it - won't connect to the network and therefore will not work outside of the US. They both said that they can't say for sure that it won't work because they are unfamiliar with the H2O SIM card, but they suspect that it will not.
Can anyone tell me definitively whether or not it will work in London?
Those are pretty much the same frequency bands supported by my Nexus One, which worked just fine in London last year. The sim will determine the network the phone connects to, so since the H2O sim already works, I see no reason why it wouldn't in the UK.
I was told that not only won't it work in London, the phone will not even activate once the H2O SIM card is put in. They said the phone is locked to AT&T and will display "Inoperable" if any other SIM card is installed.
Once you go overseas, the phone itself - regardless of what SIM card is in it - won't connect to the network and therefore will not work outside of the US.
AT&T and Best Buy really need to work on their training.
The sim will determine the network the phone connects to, so since the H2O sim already works, I see no reason why it wouldn't in the UK.
Thanks for the prompt response.
How do we know what network the phone is connecting to here in the US?
H2O doesn't have their own network, do they?
I'll admit that I'm ignorant in the "SIM / cell phone network" arena and how they relate.
At least according to the AT&T reps, they feel that the reason the phone works in the US is because the phone (not the SIM) found the AT&T network, the one it is locked to. Since AT&T does not have their own network in the UK, the phone won't connect to it. At least that's how 2 different stores explained it to me.
Actually AT&T and Best Buy were correct. Unless you get the phone unlocked you won't be able to use it with any other SIM except for AT&T.
Then how was my friend was able to use his Go Phone in the US to call London after going through the H2O activation process? He did not do anything special to unlock the phone. He told me that all he did was activate it by following the instructions on the H20 website.
He said that he never dealt with AT&T at any time throughout the entire process.
Is it possible that the H20 activation process unlocks the phone?
Not sure what the H20 activation process is. (shrug) All I know is that in order to use any AT&T phone I have had in other countries with a foreign SIM, I had to get them unlocked by AT&T or by another means.
One last question, just for clarification on my part.
You said: "If you don't, all you will get is 'Invalid SIM'."
How does that relate to the fact that the phone works in the US? Are you saying that the odds are that the Invalid SIM message will appear when the phone gets to London or would you have expected the Invalid SIM message even here in the states?
(BTW..this is just curiosity at this point. I am going to buy a phone when I get to London. If my friend's Go Phone works, good for him. At least I know mine will.)
Let me make it simple. When you buy an AT&T phone or a T-Mobile phone FROM the carrier itself, they are SIM locked to that carrier. If you try to put another network's SIM card in your phone you will get an 'Invalid SIM' message.
So, again. If I have an AT&T branded Galaxy S II and I stick a T-Mobile SIM in it, it won't work. All you will get is an Invalid SIM message. The same will happen if you use a SIM from another country. You have to either ask the carriers for the unlock code OR use a SIM unlocking service online somewhere.
Since H20 uses the AT&T network, there is no need to unlock the phone to use the H20 sim in it. The same will apply to any MVNO that uses the AT&T network. Another example, a tuyo mobile sim card will work in a locked Tmobile USA phone, because they use the tmobile network.
While that phone has all the GSM bands and will work fine anywhere in the world that has GSM. However, since H20 does not roam outside the USA, you will not get any service with an H20 sim card outside the US. You can certainly put a UK provider's sim in it, but you have to get it unlocked first.