Roaming abroad with an unlocked Hero


  1. prepbgg

    prepbgg Well-Known Member

    I'm wondering about buying an unlocked Hero with a view to picking up local PAYG SIMs in each country that I want to use it in. With this in mind I thought I'd test out the process by going into local phone shops and asking them whether they would be able to sell me a PAYG SIM if I walked in with an unlocked Hero. I was rather perturbed when a couple of shops said it would not be possible:


    Carphone Warehouse said that the "WAP" settings were so complicated (in particular, they were too complex to be carried within the SIM) that it would not be practical to expect to buy PAYG SIMs in each country. They said that I would have to be happy with a roaming data deal from a UK provider.

    Since then I've read on the internet about APN settings. Would these be what Carphone Warehouse were referring to? If so, they don't seem too fearsome. Also, the Hero manual has a very short section about "creating a new access point" which makes it sound very simple. In practice, how easy is it to get hold of the necessary settings and set up a phone for GPRS and 3G data access to a new carrier? Is there an idiot's guide to this anywhere on the internet?


    I then went to T-Mobile who said that they were unable to supply a PAYG SIM for use with a Hero. Apparently there is something about its "always-on" characteristic that would make this impossible.

    Is this correct? If so, what exactly is it that would prevent a Hero from being used with a normal 3G SIM? Or is it perhaps the case that I could use a T-Mobile SIM but they won't help me do that because they would prefer me to buy one of their customised "G2" phones?

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  2. DrDeath

    DrDeath Member

    Setting an access point is very easy. However if you go somewhere abroad I would recommend to do some research in advance and find out which operator SIM card you want and what are the internet settings . Many PAYG SIM cards often come with the manual that has internet/wap settings.
    Sales people most often have no idea in the technical details
  3. prepbgg

    prepbgg Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the reassurance.
  4. MartinS

    MartinS Well-Known Member

    I bought an unlocked SIM and had to set up the APN's for O2. It took only a couple of minutes. Settings for PAYG SIMS are also in various places on the net, so ar the DR says research which ones you will use and save all the APN's before you go and select the correct ones as you need them.
  5. prepbgg

    prepbgg Well-Known Member

    This discussion seems to say that some of the required settings are entered through the handset and some are downloaded when the phone first connects to the new carrier. Is that correct?
  6. MartinS

    MartinS Well-Known Member

    It depends if the phone is supported by the carrier.

    I had to enter them manually as O2 do not have this phone in the UK.

    The settings are standard for the carrier though and not specific to the Hero.
  7. prepbgg

    prepbgg Well-Known Member

    Thanks again for the reassurance.
  8. prepbgg

    prepbgg Well-Known Member

    Reporting back on my experience of connecting using a 3 PAYG SIM:

    I picked up a PAYG SIM from the local 3 Store.
    I bought a top-up voucher.
    I put the SIM in the brand new unlocked Hero.
    I switched it on and followed the setup instructions (connecting to WiFi, entering Google account details, etc).
    The phone automatically recognised the 3 network and was able to receive SMSs and phone calls.
    The APN settings for 3 were automatically picked up (see below).
    I phoned 333 and followed the instructions to enter my top-up PIN.
    This gave me a 'free' 150MB mobile data allowance,
    so I was now able to switch off the WiFi connection and switch on and use the Mobile Data connection.

    In summary, it was a completely straightforward procedure for me.

    I'm not sure what will happen when I try to use a SIM from a different network, for example when I travel abroad. Will the new network APN details automatically replace those for 3, or will I have to adjust them manually?

    For the record the APN Settings (accessed as described on page 104 of the manual) are as follows:

    Name: 3 Services
    APN: three.co.uk
    MMS protocol: WAP 2.0
    MCC: 234
    MNC: 20
    APN type: default
    Others: <Not set>

    Name: 3MMS
    APN: three.co.uk
    MMSC: http://mms.um.three.co.uk:10021/mmsc
    MMS proxy: 217.171.129.2
    MMS port: 8799
    MMS protocol: WAP 2.0
    MCC: 234
    MNC: 20
    APN type: mms
    Others: <Not set>
  9. andrewh

    andrewh New Member

    I had a similar experience with Ethiopia Telecom and an unlocked Hero. Bought a Pay as you go 3G card, set the APN to etc.com then all the settings were loaded and everything worked as advertised (Never tried MMS but will do).

    It is important here to buy a 3G enabled SIM card since normal phone cards do not support HSDPA.

    Only issue is that data costs are horrendous in this high tech country :mad:

    Andrew
  10. shannonr

    shannonr Member

    The only "hitch" I've encountered in doing exactly what you are proposing (I've used my unlocked Hero PAYG-style in Australia, Hong Kong, China, U.S.A, Singapore, France) is that different places have different "attitudes" to PAYG internet access (as compared to PAYG phone access).

    Phone access with your PAYG SIM is generally flawless and cheap.

    However, even when you can _get_ PAYG internet, it's generally expensive. Like, REALLY expensive.

    To provide any kind of bandwidth, phone companies generally want a relationship with you (i.e. a monthly hit).

    The other side of this "problem" is that many places around the world have far more "enlightened" policies about free public WiFi than you may be used to at home.

    In China, for example, where I spend a lot of time, every outhouse, henhouse, and whorehouse (read: hotel, restaurant, nightclub) has free and reasonably fast WiFi. They simply see it as a cost of attracting and keeping customers.

    Would that this were true in the "Western" nations where I spend the most time (i.e. Australia and the US)!
  11. sethbowman

    sethbowman Member

    Pardon my ignorance but did you require a data-enabled payg card to set up the device as per the G1?

    I'm looking for an Android device I can use a payg voice-only card on and wifi for internet (I am in the US).
  12. shannonr

    shannonr Member

    Nope. Can "set up" the Hero with "just" a regular "phone service" SIM.

    Having access to wireless while you did it wouldn't *hurt* but isn't required.
  13. sethbowman

    sethbowman Member

    Outstanding! Thanks much.
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