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.