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I have an unlocked "T-mobile" iPhone 6, model A1549. Next month I'm visiting Japan and the Philippines, and I'm trying to figure out if I'll be able to get away with pre-paid SIM cards or if I'm going to have to lug around rented Wi-Fi hotspots.

According to Apple, it won't work in either places.

https://www.apple.com/iphone/LTE/

But according to this list:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_LTE_networks#Asia

It seems that at least some bands are supported, like au does bands 1 and 18, Docomo does 1 and 19, and Softbank does 1 as well. In the Phillipines things look a little better with all three of Smart's bands (5,3,1) showing up as supported.

If that's the case then I'm confused why Apple only lists the A1586 as being compatible with the Philippines. Can anyone with more experience chime in?

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Even if LTE doesn't work where you are traveling, the iPhone 6 model A1549 will work on the following 2G/3G/4G network frequencies.

  • UMTS/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA (850, 900, 1700/2100, 1900, 2100 MHz)
  • GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)
  • LTE (Bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 28, 29)

Your phone is unlocked, so any carrier's SIM card will work and you can connect to WiFi to download the latest carrier settings that will properly configure the radio for all deployed cell towers and frequencies that the handset can communicate with.

So, your question basically boils down to picking a price point and picking a specific carrier with coverage where you actually will be traveling. The good news is you can get a cheap SIM or two and then pick the one that works best to reload data and minutes once you know more about the conditions on the ground when you arrive.

My experience is the specifications are very conservative and you end up getting better/faster/more LTE coverage than is advertised as every carrier that can support iPhones gets more revenue from travelers even if the handsets in that country are sold primarily the device that speaks all the frequencies of the A1549 as well as it's own. I would love to be in on the marketing and engineering talks that led up to choosing models, but can only guess being on the outside of Apple.

  • Basically all of them :) – Ruskes Mar 15 '15 at 16:13
  • Just a followup from my trip. In Japan it worked everywhere using my T-mobile sim card and taking advantage of their free (but slow) international roaming. It bounced back and forth between Docomo and Softbank but I can't think of a single time I didn't have 5 bars of service. The Philippines was a different story, but I attribute that to the lack of towers there. The city areas worked well enough but some of the rural areas had no coverage at all. – Joseph Toronto Jul 15 '15 at 20:32
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You won't get 2G coverage in Japan, as it never used GSM, but 3G should work fine. That means you may lose signal in rural areas where there's no 3G coverage.

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