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Tourists told Apple Watch Series 3 cellular only works in country of purchase


Australian tourists in the US and Europe thinking about buying the Apple Watch Series 3 have been warned the device’s new cellular feature won’t work when they bring it home. 

And even an Apple Watch Series 3 with cellular purchased in Australia won’t work when roaming overseas.

Tech Guide is in the US and we enquired about whether we could purchase an Apple Watch Series 3 with cellular to take home to Australia and we were told it would only replicate the number of an iPhone with a US SIM card from a participating carrier.

But the non-cellular Apple Watch Series 3 would work fine anywhere in the world.

The Apple Watch Series 3 cellular can be distinguished by the red crown on the side of the device.

In Australia, Telstra and Optus are the only operators offering this “one number” feature which allows your iPhone’s number to be imprinted on the e-SIM of the Apple Watch Series 3.

Vodafone is expected to offer this feature in December.

At the moment, Telstra and Optus are offering free three-month and six-month trial periods of their one number services respectively with Apple Watch Series 3 with cellular with a charge of just $5 on top of your plan to continue.


The e-SIM – short for electronic SIM – is imprinted with the number that is associated with the iPhone paired to the Apple Watch Series 3.

This number must be associated with a plan with one of the participating carriers in your region.

That means the watch can be used without being paired to the iPhone.

Apple Watch Series 3 will detect when it is being used outside the regular Bluetooth range of the iPhone and calls and messages will be automatically redirected. But this will only work in the country where your network is located.

If you’re roaming with that same number on a foreign network, this feature won’t work.


Apple states this clearly on its website: “Roaming is not available outside your carrier’s network coverage area.”

In the future, roaming with Apple Watch Series 3 could be made possible with a firmware update.

Or with Apple Watch Series 4.

Apple Watch Series 3 is available now with cellular models for Telstra and Optus customers and starts at $559 (GPS + Cellular) and from $459 (GPS).