Is the Verizon iPhone Good for Travelers?

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As a New Yorker, I was elated to get rid of my AT&T iPhone. I had suffered from pitiful service: constant dropped calls, erratic data, no reception in elevators or underground, and the list goes on. The major drawback to the Verizon iPhone seems to be its inability to support data and voice usage at the same time. However, since this is something I almost never do, I was more than happy to pay the $110 cancellation fee on my AT&T contract and get a phone that actually works – well, at least in the US.

The fact is the Verizon iPhone works spectacularly – on my first day, I actually carried on a conversation in a high speed elevator going up 40 floors in a midtown Skyscraper (I was alone in the elevator, I promise). Later that day I was on the 1 train underground at Times Square and my phone actually rang and I had a quick conversation. Then leaving Penn Station on the Long Island Railroad en route to the Airtrain at Jamaica, my data usage was uninterrupted while exiting the city underground! All of these things would have never been possible with AT&T service.

The honeymoon phase with the iPhone came to a quick end however, when I realized it wouldn’t work abroad in a lot of countries. In fact, I’m actually still confused where it actually will work, because I’m being confronted with a ton of conflicting information on the internet. From what I’ve gathered, it should work in Canada, Mexico,  China, and a bunch of developing countries, but almost nowhere in Europe. While disappointing,  I’m not completely crestfallen about this issue for a couple reasons:

1) Wifi is more prevalent than ever – this will force me to seek out free hotspots and spend less on roaming data,
2) I should use the Skype app and wifi instead of making expensive voice calls,
3)  I need to be using my phone less when traveling, anyway. Being plugged in 24/7 is a blessing and a curse. I’m pre-programmed to constantly check my email/ blog comments/ Flyertalk, etc, so being forced to limit my access when abroad might be a good thing, albeit painful at first I’m sure.
4) I still have my AT&T iPhone, so I can bring it when traveling and buy a local SIM card, which is probably cheaper than buying roaming voice and data through Verizon. Anyone know a reputable jailbreaking service? (That sounds like an oxymoron)

Overall, the phone itself is absolutely fantastic, so I don’t regret the switch. However, I was a little annoyed last night when I was on the phone with Continental and after spending nearly 30 minutes on hold waiting for the international award desk, the agent finally answered and at the exact second the call dropped. I haven’t experienced any other issues, but for the sake of fair reporting, I wanted to relay the good and the bad.

Has anyone else switched to the Verizon iPhone? Do you have a definitive list of countries where the phone will work?

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