2015 UPDATE HERE: iPhone 6 in India
iPhone 5 is here! It’s been nearly 16 months since I last wrote about whether the iPhone 4 would work in India, so what better time than now to break down whether or not to take a trip to India with an iPhone 5.
More than 200 new features in the iPhone 5 came with the introduction of iOS 6. Sadly, up to 24 of these will be unavailable in iPhone 5 units sold in India. These include Siri Twitter and Facebook integration, local search, restaurant information, reviews and reservations, film information, reviews and timings, and sports features. Apple Maps will be standard but won’t include the full range of features such as turn-by-turn navigation, 3D buildings and traffic usable in other countries. Whether an iPhone 5 purchased outside of India will be able to access these features is yet to be seen. Hopefully readers will comment below on that topic.
Cheers and jeers have come from users regarding the switch from a 30 pin connector to the all digital, compact Lighting connector. Fortunately it doesn’t affect day to day performance at home or abroad and there is a relatively inexpensive adapter available to continue running your favorite accessories. The biggest change that will affect the earliest adopters from iPhone 4 or 4S to iPhone 5 is the switch from a micro-SIM card to a nano-SIM card. More about that shortly.
What Network Does iPhone 5 Use
Three. Apple has finally developed a mobile device that is truly a world phone. iPhone 5 is packed with the guts capable of connecting to GSM, CDMA and LTE networks. India runs on both the GSM and CDMA networks.
How Do I Know If I Have a GSM, CDMA or LTE Phone
It doesn’t really matter. The iPhone 5 will be sold with hardware specific to each country’s network setup. Countries like Japan and the USA which run either exclusively or partially on a CDMA network will sell models enabled with GSM, CDMA and LTE hardware.
Can I Use My iPhone 5 In India
Yes. All iPhone 5 models sold worldwide will connect to India’s GSM or CDMA network. Users will want to purchase a nano-SIM card upon arrival in India to avoid hefty charges from their home carrier. Contact your mobile carrier for options on unlocking your iPhone 5 while traveling abroad and/or any charges or penalties associated.
A variety of 2G and 3G voice, data and text SMS packages are available through: Vodafone, Tata Docomo, Airtel, Aircel, Reliance Communications, and BSNL.
How Do I Buy a Nano-SIM Card in India
SIM cards may be purchased throughout India at authorized retailers or independent stores. New regulations regarding the purchase and use of SIM cards by foreigners, implemented in September 2012, now link the validity of a SIM card to the validity of a traveler’s India Visa or 3 months, whichever is shorter. Tourists may reapply and purchase a new SIM card every 3 months as needed.
To purchase a SIM card in India, foreigners must provide a copy of their passport and India visa plus complete a Consumer Application Form (CAF). This form requires the address of a local reference, a tour operator, or a local hotel.
As of October 2012, nano-SIM cards are on order but not yet available through India’s major mobile network providers.
Will My Micro-SIM Card Work in an iPhone 5
No…and yes. Apple states the iPhone 5 is not compatible with existing micro-SIM cards. Yet one scissor wielding user found that instilling the same trimming tactics many Indians used to create faux micro-SIM cards (before they were available in India) also works to create a nano-SIM card. It’s a gamble, expensive at that.
Do I Need An Adapter to Charge the iPhone 5
No…and yes. The standard white Apple logo power brick that came with older iPhone models and iPads has a built in dual voltage converter. There is no need to purchase an additional power converter. Travelers will however need a plug adapter or world adapter kit in order to use Indian outlets.