When Verizon released the Samsung Galaxy S3 last year, a much-touted “feature” was the fact that the device would work as a global phone, i.e. you could use the smartphone with a local SIM outside the U.S., without having to depend on international roaming services from Verizon and incur the incredibly high charges associated with it. But is the Samsung Galaxy S3 from Verizon the global phone we all believe it is? Not exactly.

First of all, it is important to note that while this feature was talked about at launch, it was available to users only around 6 months after, in January 2013. This feature was “unlocked” when the Galaxy S3 received the official update to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, which gave owners the ability to use local SIM cards in other countries. The good news is that the feature definitely works, at least as far as voice-calling and text messaging are concerned. It’s when you try to set up a data connection on your device that issues appear.

Verizon seems to have blocked the ability to edit or add the APN (Access Point Name) which is required to connect to a data network. Basically, if you’re unable to change the APN, there’s no way you’ll have data access in another country. I’m not sure if this is just an oversight on the part of Verizon, which means that a future update could fix this problem easily, or if there is something else at play.

Without data access on your device, the Samsung Galaxy S3 is no better than a feature phone, and that’s what happens when you use Verizon’s “global phone” in another country. So far, there’s been no word from the company as to whether a change will be implemented soon, or what the reason for this oversight is.

What are your thoughts? Have used your Verizon Samsung Galaxy S3 outside the U.S.? Have you faced the same issue?

Ankit Banerjee
My primary profession lies in the Network Design Engineering field. I have always been passionate about the latest trends in mobile communication advances around the world.
  • Sacky

    I have used one of Verizon’s GS3 here in the caribbean and I can state for a fact that the data service does not work at all. I updated the phone and got it to work here but that is it

  • I’m living in India for half a year and I get 3g on my VZW GS3. I am root and I use an app called HiAPN to set my APN automatically

  • Giovonni Fareed

    Well I’ll be damn.. Isn’t there some sort of hack for rooted phones that’ll take care of this, also does this effect Verizon note 2?

  • Verizon wireless is just greedy, after my current phone I’m buying unlocked phones .

  • Joshua G

    I had this issue when I went Thailand.I called Verizon on Skype from overseas and they blamed the local Thai Company D-Tac which I knew was a Lie. Verizon always try to nickle and dime their customers.

  • Andy

    I’m in China right now using the stock SIM card and the data coverage is spotty. It was much better with my Windows phone that I upgraded away from. I pretty much used to have a data connection everywhere. Now I have it sporadically, even in the same places where my Windows phone always has a connection.

  • avanthomme

    Grrr! This happened to me when I was traveling abroad to Thailand. Unfortunately, not only did it not allow me to access data on a Thai sim card, but for some reason it wouldn’t allow me to use my Verizon sim card to access data, despite authorizing it prior to my travel abroad. For simplicity sake, I decided to use my Verizon global roaming plan during my short trip abroad, despite the high costs. I needed voice/msg/ data as soon as I landed. My phone failed to pick up any GSM towers at all, so couldn’t use voice/msg/data! When I contacted global support, they informed me that my sim card is possibly defective, since it couldn’t find a tower, even after manually selecting a network. So, I tried a local sim, and much to my dismay, as indicated here, I couldn’t access data – only basic feature phone features. Grrr!

    I’m traveling to 9 countries in Africa in a month. I hope I don’t run into the same issues while traveling.

    • your wife

      Hani ??!!