Alert! Do NOT buy Verizon and Sprint phones. They will not work in Pakistan (Locked or Unlocked)
If you want your phone to work in Pakistan or if you are planning to buy a phone for someone else in Pakistan, you have two options.
Option 1 – Unlock a locked GSM phone (AT&T and T-mobile)
First option is to buy a locked GSM phone like AT&T or T-mobile (Network locked), and then get it unlocked and take it to Pakistan.
Option 2 – Buy an unlocked phone.
If you have purchased a cell phone via post paid package or a calling plan then your phone will defiantly be locked and you will not be able to use it in Pakistan unless you get it unlocked with an unlocking code. New phones when purchased with a plan are either free or have a very small price but you have to buy it under a contract of one or two. Under a calling plan you have to use the same phone for that particular time and if you want to get it unlock before the contract ends then you will have to unlock it via third party unlocking code which is not an easy to get and is not considered legal at some places. Usually people wait till their contact ends and then get an unlocking code from their service providers like AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon etc.
Verizon and Sprint phones are CDMA, not GSM and won’t work in Pakistan
Verizon and Sprint phones will not work in Pakistan as they are not sim based and that technology doesn’t work in Pakistan. A phone must be a GSM or must take a SIM card to work in Pakistan. All mobile service providers in Pakistan are GSM and to use a Mobilink or a Warid Sim in a phone your phone must take sim and is unlocked. When purchasing a phone make sure that its either factory unlocked or has been unlocked for use on any network.
Some of the new Verizon models have a sim card slot in them but even those won’t work in Pakistan.
Many people have faced problems in connecting with their relatives at airports as soon they land. When a locked phone is switched on in Pakistan it won’t get any network coverage, some people are lucky that their phones start working on international roaming and they could at-least contact their family from airport on emergency basis however international roaming is very expensive for continuous use in Pakistan. If you continuously use international roaming for a month, it could easily cost you more than a $1000. Its always wise to buy an unlocked phone before you travel to Pakistan. If you don’t want to invest more spend less and get a phone that you can use as a spare phone later or gift it to someone in Pakistan.
You can browse a wide range of unlocked phones here and buy a phone that suits your need.