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smart phone-- purchase in US or singapore?

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momofboys
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smart phone-- purchase in US or singapore?

Postby momofboys » Sat, 28 Feb 2015 1:49 am

moving to singpore soon. was planning to buy an smart phone. wondering if I buy one in the US if local companies will allow me to transfer it to their service or if it is better to wait until I get there to buy one.

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Strong Eagle
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Re: smart phone-- purchase in US or singapore?

Postby Strong Eagle » Sat, 28 Feb 2015 3:10 am

First, the only company you can buy the phone from is AT&T. Maybe T-Mobile. These are the only companies that are compatible with the GSM voice protocols used in Singapore. However, these phones are locked to the carrier and you will have to pay cash price, then wait about 30 days to get them unlocked.

But you still may not want to buy a US phone and that is because LTE and 3G data transmission differs all over the world. If you buy a model specific to US frequencies it probably won't work in Singapore.

Therefore, you would be better off buying an international model from Amazon... but most offer no warranty.

Summary: It will cost a bit more but buy your smartphone in Singapore. If you do, it will run on AT&T networks in the USA, probably work with USA LTE (check the model numbers on the internet), and Singapore phones must be sold unlocked by law.

UPDATE: I just checked LTE frequencies. It looks like Singapore and USA LTE frequencies are not compatible. All Singapore carriers operate at 1800/2600Mhz for LTE. AT&T in the USA operates at 700/1700/1900/2100Mhz. 3G is not compatible, either.

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Re: smart phone-- purchase in US or singapore?

Postby nakatago » Sat, 28 Feb 2015 2:15 pm

Like what SE said.

If in US:
* buy only unlocked; Amazon most likely
* cheaper
* LTE bands not compatible with most of rest of world though
* pain in the arse for warranty claims

If in Singapore:
* more expensive
* unlocked even if from carrier
* LTE bands will be compatible
* less pain in the arse for warranty claims.

Furthermore, the only other compelling argument to buy a smartphone in the US if it's something you can only get in the US.

For argument's sake, which phone do you want? That way we can show what questions need to be asked and how to answer them.

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zzm9980
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Re: smart phone-- purchase in US or singapore?

Postby zzm9980 » Sat, 28 Feb 2015 6:37 pm

Actually SE, that data is a bit old. Many modern smart phones have chipsets which will support multiple bands, and they'll all have SIM card slots.

For example, any iPhone 6 or 6+ from the US will work in Singapore. From any carrier. LTE will function also. The only time you'll have trouble is when you go to a country which uses TD-LTE (China, India, a few other obscure ones). And then 3G will still work.

T-Mobile in the US sells all of their phones unlocked (but also at full price). Verizon (at least iPhones) come unlocked, you can put any SIM in. The catch is they only sell it on contract, so if you break it they just go after you financially. AT&T is the only stickler now for keeping their phones locked.

That all said, there is no advantage of buying the phone now in the US and bringing it to Singapore. Just buy it here. Even better, buy it in the airport and get it without GST.

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Re: smart phone-- purchase in US or singapore?

Postby Strong Eagle » Sun, 01 Mar 2015 1:27 am

zzm9980 wrote:Actually SE, that data is a bit old. Many modern smart phones have chipsets which will support multiple bands, and they'll all have SIM card slots.

For example, any iPhone 6 or 6+ from the US will work in Singapore. From any carrier. LTE will function also. The only time you'll have trouble is when you go to a country which uses TD-LTE (China, India, a few other obscure ones). And then 3G will still work.

T-Mobile in the US sells all of their phones unlocked (but also at full price). Verizon (at least iPhones) come unlocked, you can put any SIM in. The catch is they only sell it on contract, so if you break it they just go after you financially. AT&T is the only stickler now for keeping their phones locked.

That all said, there is no advantage of buying the phone now in the US and bringing it to Singapore. Just buy it here. Even better, buy it in the airport and get it without GST.


I realize that many phones are multi-band and quite a few in the USA are not, including iPhone. If you look at this page: https://www.apple.com/iphone/LTE/, you'll see that Apple sells two models of iPhone 6... one will work in Singapore, one will not. But, the one that works in Singapore doesn't support AT&T or T-Mobile, the only GSM carriers. So maybe the OP can see if some of the listed USA phone companies are GSM and compatible with Singtel. But, I agree... just buy it in Singapore.

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Re: smart phone-- purchase in US or singapore?

Postby zzm9980 » Sun, 01 Mar 2015 12:26 pm

Strong Eagle wrote:
zzm9980 wrote:Actually SE, that data is a bit old. Many modern smart phones have chipsets which will support multiple bands, and they'll all have SIM card slots.

For example, any iPhone 6 or 6+ from the US will work in Singapore. From any carrier. LTE will function also. The only time you'll have trouble is when you go to a country which uses TD-LTE (China, India, a few other obscure ones). And then 3G will still work.

T-Mobile in the US sells all of their phones unlocked (but also at full price). Verizon (at least iPhones) come unlocked, you can put any SIM in. The catch is they only sell it on contract, so if you break it they just go after you financially. AT&T is the only stickler now for keeping their phones locked.

That all said, there is no advantage of buying the phone now in the US and bringing it to Singapore. Just buy it here. Even better, buy it in the airport and get it without GST.


I realize that many phones are multi-band and quite a few in the USA are not, including iPhone. If you look at this page: https://www.apple.com/iphone/LTE/, you'll see that Apple sells two models of iPhone 6... one will work in Singapore, one will not. But, the one that works in Singapore doesn't support AT&T or T-Mobile, the only GSM carriers. So maybe the OP can see if some of the listed USA phone companies are GSM and compatible with Singtel. But, I agree... just buy it in Singapore.


They both work in Singapore. I'm using a US-purchased iPhone 6+ right now. Both models come with GSM Chipsets that work in nearly all of the world. The difference between the two models is that there is a second chipset which either supports CDMA, or TD-LTE. So you get GSM+CDMA or GSM+TD-LTE. The difference only comes into play when you go to countries which *only* support CDMA or TD-LTE, and not GSM (of which there are very few). And *that* only applied to LTE/4G data speeds. Sprint is a CDMA-only carrier, while Chinese use TD-LTE. So if you bring the wrong phone to those places, expect very slow or no data. While we're talking about iPhone, the previous applies to most modern smart phones using these chipsets (pretty much all).

That said, anyone confused by what I just explained should just buy their phone in the place they primarily plan to use it. :)


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