Using a US iPhone in Chile - my experience

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JHRandolph
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Joined: Fri Mar 14, 2014 2:53 pm
Location: California, USA

Using a US iPhone in Chile - my experience

Post by JHRandolph » Thu Aug 28, 2014 5:12 pm

In an effort to give back to the forum, here's how I got my U.S. iPhone (formerly locked with AT&T) up and running in Chile. I spent many hours feeling my way through this, so hopefully someone can benefit from my experience.

Step 1: make sure the iPhone is unlocked (not bound to a particular carrier (phone company)). There's a lot of conflicting information about how to do this; I wasted quite a bit of time on YouTube and on the Web. In the end, I was able to get my AT&T iPhone 4 unlocked, free of charge, by AT&T directly (be advised that there are middlemen who appear to prey on the uninformed on YouTube, and charge a fee....) The process was fairly simple, via AT&T's Website:
https://www.att.com/deviceunlock/client/en_US/ Again, there is no charge; I filled out a form, and they got back to me about 12 hours later. One of the keys is to understand whether you qualify for the unlock-- basically I qualified because I had satisfied my 2 year contractual obligation to AT&T some time ago, so the phone was "paid for" in AT&T's eyes.

Step 2: Decide upon a pre-paid plan from a Chilean telcom. Based on advice from several sources, I selected Virgin's Anti-plan. My "plan" (no contract) is $15,000 pesos per month for 1GB data, and I believe 150 minutes. No bank account required. No further obligation to Virgin.

Step 3: Get a Virgin sim card. There are a bunch of little Virgin stands set up in Santiago metro stations (and other places) that sell these; if there is an actual dedicated storefront for Virgin, I have never seen it. You pay $2,000 pesos, and you receive a sim card with a bit of "talk time" credit on it. Install the sim card. Go to www.virginmobile.cl to register the phone number associated with your sim and set up a Virgin account.

Step 4: Next you will need to add pesos to the account. In my case, my American bank cards (I tried 4 ! ) were not accepted by Virgin's online payment system. Bear in mind that for whatever reason, many of the guys that sell sim cards in the metro stations cannot accept payment to add minutes ("recarga") to your phone. There are numerous businesses that can do this (grocery stores, convenience stores, separate recarga vendors in some metro stations). In my case, the easiest way -- again, after you have installed your new sim card and set up the account at the Virgin website-- is to go to any Jumbo grocery store or Lider (owned by Walmart). You give your phone number to the normal store cashier, tell them that you want to "recarga," and they'll add the money to your account. Again, this is through the normal check-out cashier for the business.

This caused me a lot of grief... I hope it helps someone!

Filbert
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Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2016 5:54 am

Re: Using a US iPhone in Chile - my experience

Post by Filbert » Thu Nov 24, 2016 4:00 am

Spacre Cat wrote:I bought my iPhone in the US and they were out of international version of dbal for LTE chips. I got the US version because we don't have good 4G coverage anyway. xP
Hi Mr Randolph, thanks very much for your guide. I hope it still works as I am going to Chile soon and would like to be able to use my mobile. If not I will try to buy a new phone.

Britkid
Rank: Chile Forum Citizen
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Re: Using a US iPhone in Chile - my experience

Post by Britkid » Thu Nov 24, 2016 10:44 am

Thanks for sharing.

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seawolf180
Rank: Chile Forum Citizen
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Re: Using a US iPhone in Chile - my experience

Post by seawolf180 » Thu Nov 24, 2016 11:34 am

I can vouch for that experience. And maybe add something.
I recently had the same experience on a trip to Cali. My sister gifted me her iPhone 6 having fixed the screen. AT&T phone also. I still had my doubts that I could get her phone to work for me in Chile. But, AT&T employees even grudgingly assisted me with the unlock at one of their offices, and I wanted all the certainty I could get. Same process as the OP. I still expected snags on this end, but the phone fired up right away, all good, on my ENTEL chip. Plan: 1216 Plan Smartphone Red 770. Unlimited internet.
And it was fast, plenty fast, for only a couple days, and then damn, it started to crawl, just like the previous phone I had. :x Tried everything, couldnt get it to speed up at all really. And of course ENTEL "executives" have nothing but non answers.

ENTEL is not on my Thanks Giving list for their crappy "unlimited" internet service plan they purposely deliver, as I understand it, so slowly it is nearly useless. Might as well have a 6G plan like I use for my iPad. But, forget about much of any video or streaming with that.
Or am I missing something?
Don't Tread On Me Either.

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Space Cat
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Re: Using a US iPhone in Chile - my experience

Post by Space Cat » Thu Nov 24, 2016 2:26 pm

I bought my iPhone in the US and they were out of international version for LTE chips. I got the US version because we don't have good 4G coverage anyway. xP

You can check the supported bands here:
http://www.apple.com/iphone/LTE/

And compare them to the bands supported by Chilean mobile operators here:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_L ... s#Americas

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