JUMP TO SOLUTION Solved

Original topic:

Traveling with a US-purchased phone

(Topic created: 11-27-2023 09:29 PM)
2714 Views
userGPvFu4n2Gt
Constellation
Options
Galaxy S23

I've ordered an unlocked S23 ultra but am being warned on various Google fora that it's "tuned" to US bands and won't work with a foreign sim in a foreign country when I travel (which I do regularly for work). The connection is much better with a local sim. I checked with Samsung tech support and they told me not to worry, but some people are adamant that my new phone won't work abroad. Does anyone have relevant experience or knowledge? Thanks

1 Solution


Accepted Solutions
Solution
userGPvFu4n2Gt
Constellation
Options
Galaxy S23

Thanks to all. I'm the person who originally asked the question. I've had my new S23 Ultra for 3 months and been to about 6 countries since then. The phone worked perfectly in each, with the exception of Japan where I'm pretty sure it was a local service provider issue with my T-mobile roaming service - just could not get internet. I conclude that, notwithstanding the long post from KiwiBird above (note, I'm using a phone purchased from Samsung in the USA, and a T-Mobile sim), this issue with incompatibility was just fake news. 

Thanks again. 

View solution in context

0 Likes
11 Replies
Technotakusai
Astronaut
Options
Galaxy S23
If it's unlocked then it will work with a sim from abroad
KiwiBird97
Red Giant
Options
Galaxy S23
Even though the S23 is a world phone like all other models, the SIM card support has changed in terms of regional compatibility. Up until the launch of the Galaxy S23, foreign SIMs could work with limited support after five-minute voice calls with SIMs from the US and Puerto Rico. Now, it seems like Samsung is cracking down on foreign SIM usage on newer Galaxy devices sold in the US and Puerto Rico despite having the bands to work on foreign networks. Only SIM cards from carriers in the US, Puerto Rico, and parts of Europe will work on newer devices sold in the US and Puerto Rico. Except for a few European countries, other foreign SIMs are no longer compatible, not even those from Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Korea, or China (despite having those display languages available).

There was no official announcement on those regional restrictions, but this was quietly implemented to deter bad actors from circumventing the region locking system. To clarify this, the region locking mechanism only applies to the SIM cards and eSIMs being used, NOT roaming.

What do those bad actors do when they import those devices? They use tools like Samkey to remove the region locking. It isn't fair that those people have access to those tools and many others like us do not.
(Those SIM restrictions only apply to US variants. International variants will still be able to use foreign SIM cards as usual, including those from Canada and Mexico, except 5G support may be limited in unsupported countries.)

Here's what's changed for One UI 6 for US Galaxy S23 and newer devices.
1. A new carrier called Open is added. We don't know what this means. We thought it may refer to Open Mobile in Puerto Rico, but this carrier was defunct a long time ago. Others may think Open is a subset for all other US carriers and MVNOs not on this list (excluding those outside the US and Puerto Rico).
2. Cross-platform eSIM transfers, as well as the legacy eSIM transfer feature (US, Germany, and Sweden) are no longer supported on US variants. Only wireless eSIM transfers are supported.
3. The ability to manually enter an eSIM activation code is no longer available on US variants. In the past, when a QR code was scanned, the phone might have asked you to enter the activation code manually (depending on the carrier). Going forward, eSIM QR codes that ask for an activation code will result in an error.
Those restrictions apply to both physical SIM cards and eSIMs. Roaming is unaffected and will continue to work as usual with no regional restrictions. Hope this helps.Screenshot_20231127_235923_Call settings_1000016109_1701158363.pngScreenshot_20231127_235943_Call settings_1000016111_1701158383.pngScreenshot_20231127_235953_Call settings_1000016112_1701158393.png
Options
Galaxy S23
Thank you, I truly appreciate your input.
0 Likes
Options
Galaxy S23
I am sharing your post, THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!
0 Likes
Options
Galaxy S23
I tried to bookmark your post, but it doesn't show up, and another member needs assistance.
0 Likes
420bunny
Comet
Options
Galaxy S23
Sorry wrong comment diff thread ....clearly it's nap time
0 Likes
420bunny
Comet
Options
Galaxy S23
I quit haha
0 Likes
LongHiker
Legendary Samsung Care Ambassador
Options
Galaxy S23

@userGPvFu4n2Gt It should work but the different bands may mean that coverage is limited in some areas. 

Before you purchase a foreign SIM, have you checked with your US carrier? Many offer service in other countries for a reasonable rate. When I traveled to South Korea earlier this year, I just enabled international on my AT&T service. It is a flat $10/day for all the calls and SMS that you use. I used my unlocked Fold 4 anywhere that I needed it.

Anonymous
Not applicable
Options
Galaxy S23
Absolutely correct Verizon and T-Mobile both have plans like that. But the best global provider is Google Fi they just don't like it when you stay abroad too long
0 Likes