Apple Watch Series 3 will only let you roam with LTE in your own country

Just when you thought you had some freedom
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The Apple Watch Series 3 may have brought LTE connectivity into the mix, but those looking to roam abroad with the feature will be left disappointed.

The new smartwatch, which allows users to go solo from their smartphone and receive calls, texts, stream music and access apps, won't be able to connect to networks when outside of the country in which it was purchased.

Hands-on: Apple Watch Series 3 review

So while exercisers and the battery conscious among us have been given a new wrinkle by Apple, those looking to enjoy the feature in a different country will essentially be left with a Series 2 clone.

But why is this the case? Well, with Brits and other European nations able to roam free in the EU since June — using their existing smartphone plan as normal — this isn't an issue with carriers.

Instead, this rests on Apple's end and the work of its eSIM technology. And unfortunately, the decision to not allow international roaming doesn't break regulations.

Apple, as you might expect, also isn't providing too much detail around the problem. On its website, it simply states: "Roaming is not available outside your carrier network coverage area."

The move, naturally, is a disappointing one. Last week we discussed how the Cupertino giant is set to finally let LTE into the mainstream, and while it's still set to do this to a degree, the fact it won't mimic your phone's ability to roam is undeniably a knock on the device.

For the average user, this may not be the biggest deal, of course, but for frequent travellers this is an inconvenient limitation.

Whether it's something Apple is able to rectify down the line is currently unknown, but for now it would appear the freedom discussed in its Keynote isn't all it initially seemed.

Apple Watch Series 3 will only let you roam with LTE in your own country

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Conor Allison


Conor moved to Wareable Media Group in 2017, initially covering all the latest developments in smartwatches, fitness trackers, and VR. He made a name for himself writing about trying out translation earbuds on a first date and cycling with a wearable airbag, as well as covering the industry’s latest releases.

Following a stint as Reviews Editor at Pocket-lint, Conor returned to Wareable Media Group in 2022 as Editor-at-Large. Conor has become a wearables expert, and helps people get more from their wearable tech, via Wareable's considerable how-to-based guides. 

He has also contributed to British GQ, Wired, Metro, The Independent, and The Mirror. 

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