International iPhone 7 - time for a new phone

FYI - We returned from a one-week trip to Tokyo for family issues. The last time we were there, twice in a year, 3 years ago, just before the pandemic, my iPhone 7 worked OK. This time it would not connect to cellular service. :open_mouth:
It works fine now that we have returned.
My wife’s iPhone 13 Pro on the same carrier service as mine (Ting) worked fine in Tokyo.

I suspect the cellular services in Japan have closed down old standards (3G?) required by my old phone and SIM. Before we go to Japan again, I’ll get a new phone! :smirk: :slightly_smiling_face:

Oh, and researching a new phone, I see that a new iPhone 14 requires eSIM, which is not supported by Ting. Comments online indicate that Ting never will support eSIM, because the company has been folded into another company’s portfolio. The implication is that Ting services will fade away.
Oh, well. Time for a new service provider, too!

We have always used a pay-as-you-go provider because our usage is so low and because we are thrifty. (I was brought up to believe it is a sin to spend money, which is why I use an iPhone 7.) And Ting uses the former Sprint network, which is a requirement for us. I will have to check again, but until recently, Sprint was the only network that gave us as much as two bars of signal at our house.

So it is time to revisit cellular service providers for an inexpensive service plan with infrequent international use. Comments are welcome.
Thanks in advance!

The iPhone 7 supporst LTE and VoLTE, so that shouldn’t be the issue. I wonder what the problem might be.

According to this site, the iPhone 7 should be compatible, but there coverage may be spotty, depending on which carrier you’re connecting to. According to that page:

  • The iPhone 7 supports:
    • 4 2G bands
    • 5 3G bands
    • 24 4G LTE bands

When matched against the bands used by Japanese carriers:

  • KDDI supports 6 of the 4G LTE bands, and none of the 2G bands (they don’t seem to have any 3G support)
  • NTT DoCoMo supports 4 of the 3G LTE bands and 1 3G band. They have no 2G support.
  • Softbank supports 5 of the 4G LTE bands and 2 of the 3G bands. They have no 2G support.
  • Rakuten supports 2 of the 4G LTE bands. They have no 2G or 3G support.

Of course, the fact that a carrier supports a band that your phone supports doesn’t mean that they support that band in any specific location. So you may have gone to a location where nobody is using a compatible band.

Since your phone used to work, I assume that some of the carriers have been retiring older bands (2G/3G/4G) in order to provide 5G coverage in those bands, and your iPhone 7 has no 5G support. But your wife’s 13 Pro is a 5G phone. Looking at the KiMovil page for the 13 Pro, there are many different models made, but all seem to have a pretty robust selection of 4G and 5G bands, which is probably why your wife was able to connect.

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Thank you for looking up those details.
Possibly there is some issue with the ancient SIM in my iPhone 7. The SIM may be specific to the old Sprint network for which Ting is a reseller.
Softbank bought Sprint, as I recall, so there may be some network certificate that once worked, but is no longer in effect.
My wife’s phone has a SIM that is effective for 5G.

Ting and several other MVNOs are owned by Dish. It’s my understanding that, for whatever reason, Dish has decided Ting won’t support eSIM even though some of its other MVNOs, like Boost Mobile, do support it. It does seem like Dish intends to shut Ting down and fold its operations into one of its other MVNOs.

Ting uses the Verizon and T-Mobile networks. The Sprint network eventually ended up owned by T-Mobile, which shut it down for good last year.

It’s not clear yet how much longer the iPhone 7 will receive iOS security updates after iOS 17 is released which will drop the iPhones 8-10.

That would indicate we are using the T-Mobile cellular network when we are at home (where the iPhone 7 gets as many as 2 bars).

Many years ago in the early days of cellular, we had emergency phones from Verizon. Verizon was our land line provider, so it was the default choice.
Then our land line went out for a couple of weeks (!) and we found that our Verizon cellphones had no signal (!).

My neighbor’s extended family had various cellphone providers, and they visited frequently. My neighbor informed us that the only carrier that had a signal was Sprint.

So I will look at T-Mobile and its MNVO capacity resellers.
Thank you.

Yes, I have been hanging on to the iPhone 7 too long to feel it is safe to use it for anything but as a phone to talk and text and to take photos.
This is another push towards a new phone.

OK, this is embarrassing. I blame jet lag and fatigue. :slightly_frowning_face: :open_mouth:
The iPhone 7 had International Roaming disabled. I must have disabled it sometime after the prior trip in 2020.
My wife’s phone had International Roaming enabled.

I could have enabled it on my account via WiFi in the hotel if I had thought of checking. :neutral_face:

I’ll keep the phone another few months. Prices of a new iPhone 14 should be discounted when the new ones come out in September. :thinking:

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