Whether you’re headed abroad for business or pleasure, chances are you'll need to constantly rely on your phone to keep you from getting lost or to post your latest snaps. Rest assured, your refurbished phone will work perfectly, but there are some things to remember when using all phones overseas.
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Your carrier matters
Major US carriers all offer international roaming, but their coverage location will depend on your network carrier. Historically, US carriers have used two wireless standards, GSM and CDMI. AT&T and T-Mobile have always used GSM, which is also the main standard used by most countries outside of the United States. Very few countries use CDMI, which was previously used by Verizon and Sprint.
Fortunately, as phones and carriers have evolved to use 4G and 5G, this issue has become less relevant except in moments where 4G and 5G coverage is unavailable during your travels. That said, if your smartphone has 4G or GSM, your phone is very likely to work in just about any country.
At Back Market, this information is displayed under the specs of each device.
Beware of international roaming charges
While it's become second nature for us to scroll through our Instagram feeds, keep in mind that using your data overseas can be a lot more expensive than back at home if you aren’t using a local SIM card. If you do plan to use your data when roaming — especially useful as you track down that restaurant your friend recommended — it’s best to get in touch with your carrier before you leave. Find out about roaming charges and temporary international plans that you can use wherever you're going.
Can I just buy a local SIM card?
That depends — if you bought a refurbished phone that is fully unlocked, then it’ll probably work. Before purchasing a prepaid SIM card, it's best practice to check with the carrier you plan to purchase the SIM card from to ensure its compatibility with your device. Often, if you buy from an official store of a local carrier, they can test a SIM card on your phone prior to you buying one to make sure that it works.
Got any more tips?
You might want to turn your data off when you land (we usually have this turned on by default) — and instead, use the Wi-Fi at the cafe down the street or your hotel.
Depending on where you're going, data speeds will vary, along with the availability of certain data features.
Remember to use the correct country code when making a call or sending a text. For the US, that would be +1 (for example: +1 (XXX) XXX-XXXX)
You should check with your carrier about international charges and coverage.
Don't forget to pack your phone charger, but also make sure to check if you'll need an adapter to plug your device into the socket at your destination!
Links to major US carriers' international plans: