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[Q] Will a Korean S5 (GSM) work in the USA (AT&T GSM)?

2nd July 2014, 07:19 PM   |  #1  
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I'd like to purchase a Samsung Galaxy S-5 (32GB) from Korea and use it in the USA. I use Straight Talk with an AT&T SIM. Also, if I purchase a Korean S5, can anyone provide guidance on how to get around the region lock (if there is one this phone)? Thanks.
Last edited by frnorke; 2nd July 2014 at 07:22 PM. Reason: Mis-spelled word
2nd July 2014, 09:44 PM   |  #2  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frnorke

I'd like to purchase a Samsung Galaxy S-5 (32GB) from Korea and use it in the USA. I use Straight Talk with an AT&T SIM. Also, if I purchase a Korean S5, can anyone provide guidance on how to get around the region lock (if there is one this phone)? Thanks.

Just Google it and you`ll know the answer within 5 minutes
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3rd July 2014, 10:44 AM   |  #3  
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You also forgot to tell us which S5 model you have. There are six or more Korean variants. So don't forget to include your specific model in your search string.

e.g. http://bit.ly/1mnbUBk
3rd July 2014, 12:33 PM   |  #4  
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Thanks. I feel like an idiot for not "google-ing" it. That's a pretty niffty trick you did with the link.

My question should be more precise in that I'm looking to get a 32GB S5 (any model that's available) to use in the USA with Straight Talk. I mentioned the Korean versions only because I don't see reasonably priced 32GB S5's from US (GSM) carriers. My Straight Talk SIM is of the AT&T variety.

I guess as more and more phones role out and the mobile industry expands technology it becomes more confusing as to what will work if you don't want to be locked into a contract with a carrier (at least it is for me...).

Again, I appreciate your help and guidance on this. I obviously don't have the technical "chops" to decipher all this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fffft

You also forgot to tell us which S5 model you have. There are six or more Korean variants. So don't forget to include your specific model in your search string.

e.g. http://bit.ly/1mnbUBk

3rd July 2014, 04:40 PM   |  #5  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frnorke

My question should be more precise in that I'm looking to get a 32GB S5 (any model that's available) to use in the USA with Straight Talk. I mentioned the Korean versions only because I don't see reasonably priced 32GB S5's from US (GSM) carriers. My Straight Talk SIM is of the AT&T variety.


The additional information is appreciated. There are a lot of knowledgeable and helpful people in this forum. But it can get tiresome to be inundated with questions from people who clearly made little effort to search before posting. I don't have any interest in facilitating indolence. I'd rather spend my limited time helping someone who made an effort in the first place.

The information you are looking for is hard to come by. Samsung would prefer that you buy a new phone if you switch carriers. And carriers don't want to facilitate churn. So there are a lot of artificial barriers and restrictions between models to discourage grey market use.

To properly answer your question would take an hour of my time digging through six or ten sets of Samsung specs and doing several searches to see what ATT, Straight Talk and the FCC are doing with spectrum allocations. And if you think that I have that much spare time or interest.. you Sir, are an optimist.

I took a stab at it for you anyway and checked just one of the Korean models. The L variant is essentially compatible on 2G /3G (voice and low speed data). But LTE is another story. The Korean variant covers about two thirds of the data bands that ATT uses. But before we even begin to discuss the impact of that, looking at what Straight talk actually uses shows us that it's a non-starter.. it doesn't support any of the Straight Talk data allocations.

As for the other half dozen Korean models.. who knows? Esoteric information. Some members will understand the nuances of data sheets and spectrum usage. Precious few will have the information at hand though. It's an unusual situation that few will have researched in advance. So you have a barrier there, convincing an expert to spend an hour checking tedious facts for you. You should make an effort to bridge the gap. If you put in the legwork, narrow down the options and come back with informed questions, a lot more people will be inclined to volunteer their time to help you.

Yes, that does sound like work. But it is your question after all, isn't it?

.
4th July 2014, 04:55 PM   |  #6  
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Thanks!
Quote:
Originally Posted by fffft

The additional information is appreciated. There are a lot of knowledgeable and helpful people in this forum. But it can get tiresome to be inundated with questions from people who clearly made little effort to search before posting. I don't have any interest in facilitating indolence. I'd rather spend my limited time helping someone who made an effort in the first place.

The information you are looking for is hard to come by. Samsung would prefer that you buy a new phone if you switch carriers. And carriers don't want to facilitate churn. So there are a lot of artificial barriers and restrictions between models to discourage grey market use.

To properly answer your question would take an hour of my time digging through six or ten sets of Samsung specs and doing several searches to see what ATT, Straight Talk and the FCC are doing with spectrum allocations. And if you think that I have that much spare time or interest.. you Sir, are an optimist.



I took a stab at it for you anyway and checked just one of the Korean models. The L variant is essentially compatible on 2G /3G (voice and low speed data). But LTE is another story. The Korean variant covers about two thirds of the data bands that ATT uses. But before we even begin to discuss the impact of that, looking at what Straight talk actually uses shows us that it's a non-starter.. it doesn't support any of the Straight Talk data allocations.

As for the other half dozen Korean models.. who knows? Esoteric information. Some members will understand the nuances of data sheets and spectrum usage. Precious few will have the information at hand though. It's an unusual situation that few will have researched in advance. So you have a barrier there, convincing an expert to spend an hour checking tedious facts for you. You should make an effort to bridge the gap. If you put in the legwork, narrow down the options and come back with informed questions, a lot more people will be inclined to volunteer their time to help you.

Yes, that does sound like work. But it is your question after all, isn't it?

.

Thank you so much for putting forth the effort to write out the constraints in trying to answer my questions. I appreciate it and will try and "do the legwork". I guess the question(s) that I pose don't have answers that are as easy as asking the question. I apologize in that the questioned I was seeking answers for seemed like a situation someone else may have had experience with already. I'm not in the business of trying to get someone else to do my work.

It seems that the intricacies of slicing and dicing spectrum are beyond my feeble understanding. Do you find that the technical specifications of ST hard to come by? I need to understand more about how a MVNO functions. Thanks for your help and expenditure of time. I know it's valuable.
4th July 2014, 05:16 PM   |  #7  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frnorke

Do you find that the technical specifications of ST hard to come by? I need to understand more about how a MVNO functions.

No, not hard to come by. Just tedious to discern. The reason that I think one should check press releases, FCC decisions and so forth is because what frequencies Straight Talk uses today may not be the same as they will be using a year from now. And as I think you already realize.. find out what bands they actually use. ST does not have access to the entire ATT network.

Specifications for different S5 variants are not that hard to find on Samsung's sites.. but the information isn't formatted consistently and has a few inaccuracies that would lead some to conclude that a given model will work on another carrier when it really won't.

If I could answer your question out of hand, I would. But I don't know the answer either unless I dig for it. Blame Samsung for that. It would be easy for Samsung to make a guide explaining what alternate carriers a model would work on. For that matter, they could make a single, worldwide capable GSM model if they wanted to. Probably without any price penalty too. Instead, Samsung and carriers have ten models with artificial restrictions for the express purpose of discouraging grey market sales and inflating prices in regions they designate as affluent.

The only person likely to have the information you want is one who wants to do the same thing as you and has already researched it. And he hasn't posted in the thread yet.

You could potentially save a lot of money.. and satisfy your curiousity by collating and summarizing the Samsung data sheets and other search results. You'll probably understand the details sufficiently to draw tentative conclusions too. Throw that into a summary post and ask an expert to confirm your findings. Or if you are a huge optimist.. phone Samsung and simply ask them to answer the question.

.
Last edited by fffft; 4th July 2014 at 06:32 PM.
5th July 2014, 06:52 AM   |  #8  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frnorke

I'd like to purchase a Samsung Galaxy S-5 (32GB) from Korea and use it in the USA. I use Straight Talk with an AT&T SIM. Also, if I purchase a Korean S5, can anyone provide guidance on how to get around the region lock (if there is one this phone)? Thanks.

First, get to know the bands that AT&T supports. There are several models in Korea. Most popular ones are the 900S, 900K and 900L.

SM-G900S

Secondary Cellular Networks:LTE2100 (B1), LTE850 (B5), LTE1800 (B3), LTE2600 (B7)
Cellular Networks:GSM900, GSM1800, GSM1900, UMTS850 (B5), UMTS1900 (B2), UMTS2100 (B1)
Cellular Data Links:GPRS, EDGE, UMTS, HSDPA, HSUPA, HSPA+

SM-G900K

Secondary Cellular Networks:LTE700 (B17), LTE1800 (B3), LTE2600 (B7), LTE900 (B8)
Cellular Networks:GSM900, GSM1800, GSM1900, UMTS850 (B5), UMTS1900 (B2), UMTS2100 (B1)
Cellular Data Links:GPRS, EDGE, UMTS, HSDPA, HSUPA, HSPA+

SM-G900L

Secondary Cellular Networks:LTE2100 (B1), LTE850 (B5), LTE1800 (B3), LTE2600 (B7)
Cellular Networks:GSM900, GSM1800, GSM1900, UMTS850 (B5), UMTS1900 (B2), UMTS2100 (B1)
Cellular Data Links:GPRS, EDGE, UMTS, HSDPA, HSUPA, HSPA+

Hope this helps

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