How to gain access to a foreign Windows Phone Marketplace (if not available in your country)

While the Windows Phone Marketplace is available in many countries at launch--17 in all to be exact--last we checked the world is still a bit larger. If you're one of those with no access to the Marketplace, but are able to import an unlocked GSM device, then you may be interested in this ability to switch your Marketplace region documented by E's Phoneblog.

We'll post the directions after the jump--it's actually very simple to do and only has a few steps. But before we do this we should point out something:  This is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. So while this works, you can't undo it later, meaning that in the future you can't just easily "switch" to your country's Marketplace, not without having to create a whole new LIVE account. Caveat emptor.

Still, for those with no immediate prospects of a localized Marketplace (we feel for ya), this may be your best bet.


The process assumes you don't already have a Zune account created, of course why would you if not available in your country? Here are the steps:

  1. Find the country of the Marketplace you want to access
  2. Change your computer's region locale: Control Panel –> Region and Language settings –> Location
  3. Create a Zune account in the target country:
  4. Fill in your credit card info: use your real name and card but for the address, use the target country's postal code
  5. Install Zune desktop software v4.7 and login with your new account credentials

Easy enough.


Of course there are some issues here, namely that once you do this there is no way to change the locale of your Zune account--it's permanent, unless Microsoft introduces a way to change it in the future and we see no evidence of that happening.

Second (and related), if your country ever gets a localized Marketplace, you'll have to ditch your old Zune account and start a new one--meaning you'll loose your purchases from your previous setup.

Third, it seems all Microsoft would have to do is make sure your Credit Card is verified down to the address level (something they should probably be doing anyways, ahem) to block this sort of thing.

So while a neat option for some of you, perhaps not the best. But if given lemons...

Thanks, Jonne E, for the link and nice work!

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central. He is also the head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007, when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and watches. He has been reviewing laptops since 2015 and is particularly fond of 2-in-1 convertibles, ARM processors, new form factors, and thin-and-light PCs. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.