No it won't work at the MOMENT because VZW does not have any GLOBAL PHONES that support 4G. You need to get a 3G global phone and VZW will only support roaming on them with the Vodafone NL-VZW SIM card but it's only for occasional travel ($1.99/minute) and the authentication is going through Europe on the Vodafone-VZW partnership (Vodafone in Europe owns 45% of VZW in the US.)
1. You need to get a global VZW phone (BB 9650, a few others)
2. If you want to use a non VZW-Vodafone 3G roaming SIM card you need to get VZW to "unlock" the device so it will take any providers SIM card. You can do this through a 3rd party (pay for MEPD code on BB, similar on Moto's) or VZW will give it to you if you satisfyed your contract.
*Note that unlocking your phone VZW voids all support responsibility for the device as they can only support devices when roaming on the official VZW-Vodafone SIM card.
Data on the BB's requires setting a special APN on the device from the service provider.
Voice/SMS will automatically work when booted with whatever SIM.
The global VZW 3G devices (BB) support 3G (UMTS/HSPA) worldwide on the EU/Asia/Africa bands (2100MHz used in Europe, Asia and Africa, essentially non-Americas) and 2G/GSM/EDGE worldwide (quad-band). If you get the newer Droid 2 Global and/or Droid Pro those support 3G worldwide even in the Americas (850/1900/2100MHz 3G UMTS/HSPA).
If your using the VZW Vodafone SIM in Africa the authentication is probably going through a authentication roaming global GRX center in Europe where VZW has physical and virtual IT infrastructure. SImilarly in Asia. VZW outsources their global roaming to a company called Syniverse if your curious.
Thank you for the update Will. I had suspected that this would be the answer.
I was hoping that one of Verizon's upcoming 4G phones would have a radio antenna that not only worked on the LTE and CDMA network, but that was also quad band and could pick up the four GSM spectrums..... and had firmware/software that was backwards compatible, plus the ability to pop any local sim card in the back of it when abroad.
Thank you so much for the help, and of course if anyone else has extra input I'd love to hear it. In today's global world I am sure there are more people out there like me who just simply need their phones to work wherever they might end up.
VZW, AT&T and T-Mobile are the same and they both lock their phones but again call CSR and get the correct dept. they can give you the unlock code if you met your contract requirements.
Sprint is the ONLY carrier in the US I know of that has the GSM portion of their global phones (9650, etc.) unlocked out of the box.
I don't suppose you have any thoughts on whether the I-Phone 5 or the next Motorola Droid might be world phones, capable of operating on the LTE network as well as having the ability to put local sim cards in them for use abroad on older GSM networks?
From what I've read the battery life on the two world droid phones that Verizon offers is sub par, plus they come with those pop out keyboards that I personally find bulky and not worth the addition of having.
The reason I'm in a bit of bind is that I've had my old LG VX8700 flip phone for more than 4 years, I've loved it (for those wondering it worked great in both China and Japan) but the speaker has officially died so I need to act sooner than later in purchasing something new, and I know Verizon is discontinuing their "new every two" program, so I'd like to use my $100 credit for something worthwhile and not buy technology that's about to become obsolete.
As always, any advice is welcome, thank you all for taking the time to read this.
Jeffery, I sincerely doubt that the iPhone 5 for Verizon will be a world phone, as the iPhone 4 is not, but it's all purely speculation (same goes for the Droids).
Going from a basic flip phone to a smart phone will always bring battery woes, FYI. My fiancee loves how she can go two to five days on a single charge with her LG Chocolate 3, and can't understand how I can tolerate having to charge my Droid X at least once a day (I'm a medium to heavy user). You're thinking of upgrading to a mini-computer, so battery will be an issue until some new miracle tech comes out!!
If I were you, and I just had to get a phone to get me through a stint in another country, I'd just wait until I got there and picked up a cheap phone from a local carrier. Google Voice can give you a US number that forwards to whatever your new number is (if memory serves) so you can still have that US number that friends can dial, but you won't get charged for roaming or have to worry about connectivity.
You DON'T have to BUY a phone from a service provider, you can always pay full-price and get one unlocked out of the box from a manufacturer from a phone OEM like eBay and a few other online sellers in the US which sell such devices.
The global phones require more EXPENSIVE hardware due to the need for the GLOBAL QUALCOMM chipset in them which has the computer hardware to work in EVREY country in the world on earth. This is the reason they are in the $200 subsidized range and $500 unsubsidized (OEM cost) range for smart-phones.
Personally? I'd just pick up a VZW Droid Pro and tell VZW you are traveling and get the unlock code.
Yes in Asia where there is also a CDMA network VZW has roaming there. If you are doing CDMA roaming just make sure your PRL is updated (*228 option 2) and International Dialing is turned on your account from CSR.