first the bad news: you can't use it as a phone anywhere in the world, except in the US. (for now, that is. the hackint0sh-ers are on the verge.) now the good news: you can use it as everything else—computer, ipod, camera, etc. but it'll cost ya. just follow these 12 steps:
1. buy an iphone in the US. or ask a generous fil-am (or just am) friend or relative to bring it back as pasalubong.
2. turn it on.
3. it will tell you that to activate the phone you have to connect it to itunes (on a mac or PC).
4. follow instructions on itunes.
5. when you get to steps that don’t apply, just skip it and press continue.
6. when you get to steps that you have to fill in (for example, your choice of AT&T account), just make it up.
7. when you get to billing information, you can ask that generous fil-am friend or relative if you can use their address. type in a bogus social security number.
8. that bogus SSS number will cause you to fail the credit-check process. that’s when they offer you a prepaid account, which needs to be purchased and activated online (again you need the fil-am’s card and billing address for this. with their approval, of course!).
9. the plan cost $29.99. plus you have to sign up for a medianet unlimited package for $19.99 and some hidden iphone activation fee which, with taxes, totaled $54.17. when that’s done, you get an e-mail notification that the account is being processed, then another that says it was successful. you’re given a phone number and a temporary pin code. you’re then instructed to reconnect the iphone to itunes to activate it. and voila! the phone it works.
10. this is an important step if you don’t want to get automatically charged every month (lest your fil-am friend won’t friend you anymore): cancel the account. call AT&T customer care (1-866-499-7888) and tell them you want to stop any future recurring charges ($29.99 a month!). go through the whole authentication Q&A, which ends with them confirming that the monthly recurring charges have been removed.
11. since you now have a prepaid account, the only way to cancel it, which you don't really have to do, is to not reload it next month. you will be given about a month to reload the account if you wish to continue it. if not, the phone number will automatically be reassigned to another subscriber. in other words, you have a prepaid credit of $29.99, which will go to waste because you can’t use it here.
12. but you can now use the iphone’s other features! it’s a computer (e-mail, web surfing, youtube, google earth), camera, ipod (listen to music, watch movies), PDA (address book, calendar). plus you have bragging rights!
PS: you can actually use it as a mobile phone in the philippines if you activate international roaming. but everyone knows that the US has one of the most expensive roaming charges in the world!
PPS: there's actually a "hack" way to activate the iphone, but it's way too complicated and requires a certified geek!