I'd like to know if it's possible to activate an AT&T iPhone 3GS outside of USA.

I live in Brazil and I've bought this iPhone from eBay. As it came with iOS 4.x (I don't remember the exact version), the first time I connected it to my computer (Mac), iTunes offered to upgrade it to iOS 6.1.3.

This is the problem: it was jailbroken before the upgrade and it was working fine with my carrier (TIM). But after the upgrade, I'm not able to activate it.

Even if I try to "hacktivate" and install ultrasn0w, it still doesn't recognise my SIM card.

I've read somewhere that I should use an AT&T SIM card to activate it and then I should jailbreak and install ultrasn0w.

And this is my question: Will this process work if I do it in Brazil? I mean: I'm planning to ask a friend to bring me an AT&T SIM card from USA. Would this work as expected? Or does the iPhone must be in USA for the activation?

  • What's your baseband version? Settings > General > About > Modem Firmware Jan 13, 2014 at 17:38
  • I'm not with my device right now (I'm at work and while it's not working there's no point in carrying it with me...). As soon as I get home, I'll take a look at this. Thanks
    – CrisVM
    Jan 14, 2014 at 11:50
  • @AndrewLarsson: The baseband version is 06.15.00. Does it change anything bmike said in his answer? Tks
    – CrisVM
    Jan 15, 2014 at 12:06
  • It means that you should be able to hacktivate and then install ultrasn0w. I wonder what could be wrong. I'll ask around and find out what could be going on. Jan 16, 2014 at 1:54
  • Okay, I asked around. The iPad baseband (v06.15.00) doesn't always work on iOS 6+. You'll have to downgrade your baseband again. The thing is that only the old bootrom 3GS can downgrade its baseband. What are the first 5 characters of your serial number? That's how we can find out if you have a new or old bootrom. Settings > General > About > Serial Number Jan 16, 2014 at 2:10

1 Answer 1


Yes - you just need any new or secondhand AT&T SIM to get the device activated. If you can keep that SIM to do the activation so much the better, so having a friend bring one would be easy if you can wait.

The process won't care where in the world you are, just that when the device connects to Apple's activation servers, the SIM number from the card is in an AT&T range. At that point, you'll need to do the jailbreak work appropriate for the device and the OS level but it will work as a WiFi based device with just the correct SIM and no AT&T contract required.

  • Thank you for taking the time to explain all this. My friend might be back home (Brazil) in a couple of days... When she's here I'll try and then I'll let you know if it worked. Thanks again.
    – CrisVM
    Jan 14, 2014 at 11:54

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