When I bought my Galaxy S4 I exchanged it for an iPhone 5 that I had
used in Europe with a just purchased SIM (20 pounds one month unlimited
data and 300 minutes). I was correctly told that the iPhone was
unlocked. But when I got back I exchanged it for Android again and got
an S4 which I was also told was unlocked. the same SIM did NOT work
when I got to the UK - just kept telling me that it was not a VZ
recognized SIM! So I could not use it in spite of being told at the VZ
store that I could use it as it was unlocked.
Does any know what is really going on since VZ don't seem to know?
What reps at the store tell you is usually **. The only phone on VZW that is completely unlocked out of the box is the iphone as far as I know. Android phones tend to be both CARRIER-locked and SIM-locked. You need to obtain an unlock code to SIM-unlock your S4, but because of the CARRIER lock that still does not guarantee that a foreign SIM will work unless the carrier has a roaming arrangement with Verizon so that the SIM is recognized. Carrier locking is done so you can't put an AT&T SIM in a verizon phone here in the States even if the phone is SIM-unlocked. Carrier-unlocking in the US without carrier permission is now illegal.
This is a total non-issue in Europe as far as I understand things. They have network-sharing over there and are cutting back on roaming fees, phones are totally unlocked and network inter-operable, tethering is included at no additional charge, and 20 pounds for 300 mins and unlimited data on a caller-pays basis (received texts & calls free) is a fantastic deal compared to the ripoff plans we have here. Ugghh.