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All phones in South Africa are sold unlocked, and I can use my iPhone 4S with any carrier's SIM cards in South Africa. However, when I visited Australia, I found that SIM activation failed after I inserted the SIM cards for Australian networks. The person at the cellphone shop in Australia said that this was a common problem with South African phones. My wife's iPhone 5S worked fine with an Australian SIM card though.

The phone is fine. I returned to South Africa, and the local SIMs have no issues.

The South African carrier that sold me the phone has no idea how to solve the problem, as they say that the phone is unlocked. Is there a region lock that affects the iPhone 4s?

  • If you only tried one Australian SIM card, the activation may have failed for a reason that has nothing to do with region. There's a ton of different factors at play there. – Wowfunhappy Sep 19 '18 at 21:03
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Strange. That South African iPhone 4S should definitely work in Australia. I believe that the only region lock is on Chinese iPhones (typically, they have a whole different model number), was the Australian carrier using the same cellular technology as your carrier in South Africa (GSM vs CDMA)?

  • Yes, it was GSM in both countries – NMrt Aug 15 '15 at 16:55
  • Try a different carrier next time, then. Even on a phone call with a carrier when I had my own 4S, they specifically told me that the 4S was a "World Phone". – RedEagle2000 Aug 15 '15 at 16:58
  • I tried with Vodafone and Amaysim in AU and both SIMs gave the same issue. I'll try another next time. – NMrt Aug 15 '15 at 17:03

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