My US iPhone moves to the UK…and seems homesick

Last week, the most infamous of hackers, George Hotz (aka geohot), who had successfully hacked the iPhone for unlocking onto any carrier back in 2007, released blacksn0w, “a free unlock for the latest iPhone 3G and 3GS.” The countdown to its release , kept us all on the edge of our seats – and he’d even released it a day earlier than planned, as testing went so smoothly. I was one of his more than 31,000 Twitter followers anxiously awaiting with bated breath, as it would mean freedom from AT&T and the ability to get Twitterific back into my life again whilst here in the UK.

Since moving to London, my iPhone has served just one purpose: as an iPod to listen to podcasts (like Today in Social Media) and music during long tube rides. (O.k., admittedly, two purposes: I still can use some of my offline game apps like air hockey.) However, the pay-as-you-go mobile phone that I’d picked up on my second day has been rather expensive (40 pence per minute on calls – yikes!) and incredibly non-user-friendly (the buttons are ridiculously small and the T9 predictive text doesn’t remember new words, even though I save them myriad times). So I, for one, was really excited for the unlock.

Thus, after unlocking with blacksn0w, I swapped out my SIM card and giggled uncontrollably at the thought that I might again have my beloved iPhone in use. No dice. I brought it to my local tech guy, who suggested that although I may be able to get the phone part to work – and may then save some quid on calls – I’d likely not be able to access the Web. He said he believed that the Web access used in the US would not be compatible with that in the UK. Argh. I was dismayed.

One never ought to give up hope, however.

In writing this post even now, I explored the settings to identify the version and stats for my iPhone to post herein. Incredibly, when checking for wi-fi networks (which I did at a friend’s house just two evenings ago with no luck), it recognized my home network, Starlow. Wait just a tick! How exciting; my iPhone may just be back. Next up: re-swap out the SIM and see if I have any luck.

Seems Web access works with wi-fi, but using the T-Mobile UK SIM I have, I still cannot make calls. It shows a few tiny, tiny bars, akin to when roaming in rural West Virginia with no coverage, rather than the No service it typically shows. After seeing that a Twitter connection, EmilyFralick, was using a US iPhone in the UK, I asked her what service she was using. Her response? “02 pay and go with 3G. Trust me it works!!! I’d pay for the web bolt-on though.” May be worth a shot.

If anyone has ideas, feel free to comment and let me know what route to try next.


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