A blogger confirmed that Verizon's iPhone 5 is sold unlocked even if customers buy them with a contract. He also noted the Apple smartphones are GSM compatible, meaning they will also work on U.K. mobile networks as well as in the U.S.
Jeff Benjamin from the iDownloadBlog, purchased an iPhone 5 from Verizon under contract, but it was still unlocked.
He then removed the Verizon SIM card and cut down his old AT&T Micro SIM to get a signal from AT&T's network. Though he was successful, cutting down one's own SIM card isn't a recommended procedure.
Most iPhones are tied to the carriers customers bought them from. So if someone buys an iPhone from AT&T, it won't work on T-Mobile's network.
When the iPhone 4S came out last year, Apple started selling "unlocked" versions at full price without carrier contracts. That meant the iPhone's SIM card wasn't locked into the smartphone and could be used with any network provider if their respective SIMs were installed.
Roam if you want to...
We got the first hint that the iPhone 5 would be able to cross the pond during a Verizon conference call in April, when a Verizon representative let it slip that the iPhone 5 would be a "global device." But after that, news about the iPhone 5's global potential was sparse.
In the past, Americans abroad would have to travel with another device to use a mobile phone while in Europe. The difference comes down to the type of technology wireless providers use to connect phones in their network.
Most U.S. carriers use CDMA radio communication technology, where the European standard is GSM.
Then, the iPhone 4S released and was the first of Apple's smartphones to have dual antennas to communicate with both types of networks.
Now the cheapest way for travelers to use their iPhone 5s in Europe is to purchase an unlocked phone and slip in a prepaid SIM card from a U.K. provider. Of course, Verizon and other companies also offer international plans for travelers. But that won't be as cheap.