Transferring iphone from Taiwan to US

I am moving back to the US and am wondering if I can use the iphone I acquired in Taiwan in the US with a new carrier.

Does anyone know if it is possible? Will I have to have the phone unlocked in Taiwan first?

Thank you!

If you purchased the iPhone in Taiwan, it is already unlocked. All iPhones purchased through legitimate channels in Taiwan are factory unlocked. You can use it on any US carrier that uses GSM. In the US, that is AT&T and T-Mobile.

AT&T is the only GSM carrier in the US that will give you 3G on an iPhone. T-Mobile will give you data connectivity, but only at EDGE speeds in nearly all places with few exceptions being 3G.

When you go into the AT&T store to set up an account, let them know that you have an unlocked iPhone you purchased overseas and see what they offer for “SIM Only” plans. Also, do a total cost of ownership analysis because it may in rare cases actually make sense that signing a new contract and getting another (locked to US carrier) iPhone or other phone out of deal actually works out better than going with a “SIM Only” plan.

What is the cheapest way to purchase an iphone 4s? Should I grab it here in the US before I go to Taiwan or buy it there? Would it be cheaper to sign a contract in the States and just swap the SIM card when I go to Taiwan?

achangey, do you / will you have an ARC in Taiwan? If so, the cheapest route is to get one on contract here so it is subsidized with your Taiwan phone plan. All iPhones sold in Taiwan are factory unlocked, and will work with any SIM card worldwide.

If you do not / will not have an ARC, it will be easier and cheaper to get the iPhone in the States as unsubsidized iPhones sell for more than the states. Do note you need to get a specific “factory unlocked” iPhone. Nearly all GSM iPhones sold in the US are locked to the AT&T and will not work with another SIM card unless you go through some fairly inconvenient and limiting steps of “jailbreaking” and unlocking the phone, which AT&T will not do for you.

For this route simply go to your local US Apple Store and tell them you will be going overseas an want to buy an iPhone that is factory unlocked at full price so you can use it overseas.

When you get here, see the sticky on how to get a SIM card in this forum.

I will be getting a student visa when I arrive (is that basically the same as an ARC?). I’m not sure how the contracts work in Taiwan, but hopefully I can get some help with that there. Do you think I should get a data plan? I’ll be in Hsinchu area (NCTU) so there may be an abundance of wifi connections. Any ballpark on costs?

A student visa is not an ARC. Check the sticky in this forum for your best options. An iPhone is not an iPhone without a data plan.