iPhone 5C / 5S unlocked vs sim free

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by kingramsu, Sep 16, 2013.

  1. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2013
    #1
    What is the difference between the "unlocked" tmobile version of the 5C versus the sim free version?

    From what I've read, the unlocked version comes with a SIM card when you buy the phone.

    On another related topic, for the 5S, should I get the unlocked tmobile here in the US or cross the Canadian border to get the sim free model or (3rd option) wait for the sim free version to be released after a few months in the US?

    Thank you.
     
  2. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2013
    #2
    Sim free.

    If you purchase a phone with any other carrier's name attached to it, it's their phone, not yours.

    Don't trust any carrier.
     
  3. macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2012
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    #3
    They're the same. The unlocked T-Mobile one just comes with a T-Mobile Sim card that's the only difference. If you have no need for the T-Mobile sim card then you can just toss it and throw it away. It's still unlocked.
     
  4. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2013
    #4
    Don't trust that, you would have a T-Mobile iPhone that is only unlocked under T-Mobile's discretion and may not have all LTE bands.

    T-Mobile has produced their own model of iPhone.
     
  5. macrumors 68040

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    Dec 18, 2012
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    #5
    That's if you buy it from a T-Mobile store. The UNLOCKED T-Mobile version sold in Apple Stores and on the Apple website is UNLOCKED.

    I bought my iPhone 5 directly from Apple back in April (the one that came with a T-Mobile sim card) and it's unlocked. Never been locked to T-Mobile.
     
  6. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2013
    #6
    But what you didn't know was that the Apple Unlocked iPhone and the T-Mobile Unlocked iPhone are two different models of phone.

    And you could be suffering slower 4G speeds because of it.


    Evidence 1
    http://support.apple.com/kb/HT5720

    Evidence 2
    http://consumerist.com/2013/04/15/make-sure-you-get-the-right-t-mobile-iphone-or-youll-get-stuck-in-the-slow-lane/

    Even if you bought what you thought was an unlocked iPhone, you actually bought a T-Mobile unlocked iPhone from Apple's website. That's what they call it. A T-Mobile iPhone.

    Otherwise they would just call it an unlocked phone with an optional SIM card. This is not the case.
     
  7. macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2012
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    #7
    Check the date. That was true prior but once Apple ran out of stock of the old unlocked model, they replaced them with an updated unlocked model that has support for the T-Mobile AWS bands. I know all about the old original unlocked model that didn't support AWS. If you walk into an Apple store and buy an unlocked iPhone 5 today it will be the one that has AWS support for T-Mobile's extra bands.

    I asked for an unlocked one at first but returned it when I saw that my local Apple Store still had the old ones in stock without AWS support. Then I bought the newer one that has the AWS bands. I get all the proper speeds on T-Mobile.


    Also if you look at the frequencies listed on the Apple website for the upcoming 5S/5C you will see that they both support DC-HSPA+ 1700/2100 aka T-Mobile's AWS bands.
     
  8. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2013
    #8
    Still, I don't trust it. A world phone could only be an Apple world phone. I wouldn't buy an iPhone for any carrier in the U.S. if I knew I wanted it to work with anyone, anywhere, anytime.
     
  9. macrumors 68040

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    Dec 18, 2012
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    #9
    It does. It says unlocked right there on the website. Unlocked means unlocked. If Apple sells people a phone advertised as unlocked but is really locked to a carrier, I'm sure they would get sued like crazy.
     
  10. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2013
    #10
    Carriers will tell you a phone is unlocked when it isn't. I made that mistake 9 months ago.

    I will only buy unlocked from Apple with no other carrier name mentioned.

    I also don't want to make the mistake of buying a T-Mobile unlocked model of the iPhone.

    I want the Apple model off the factory floor, so I get everything.

    They sell you the T-Mobile version to trick you.
     
  11. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2013
    #11
    But take a look at the web page for the 5C. That has both options, tmobile unlocked as well as sim free.

    Why isn't Apple doing the same for the 5S?

    This only leads me to conclude that there's a difference between those two options.
     
  12. macrumors 6502

    srsub3

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2013
    Location:
    Chicago
    #12
    talked on chat with two different people from applestore. they both told me the tmobile one bought from them is unlocked. I am in the same situation and a bit worried. Don't know what to do
     
  13. macrumors regular

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    Jul 21, 2012
    Location:
    Hawaii
    #13
    Anyone have any updates on this? I'm curious as well.
     
  14. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2013
    #14
    You cannot buy a "tmobile iphone" from the apple store. You can buy an unlocked iphone that happens to come with a tmobile SIM card.

    No sense in arguing it.

    ----------

    What do they get out of tricking you? Especially with a 30 day return policy?

    ----------

    All of this. The phone is fully unlocked, it just comes with a tmobile SIM card.
     
  15. mepsi, Sep 17, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2013

    macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2013
    #15
    And I'm not. But the phone on Apple's website is referred to as 'Unlocked - T-Mobile' . When I buy my Unlocked phone, I don't want any carrier name attached to it, at all, in any way, whatsoever.

    You can take that chance. Not me.

    [​IMG]

    If you choose T-Mobile. You will get a T-Mobile Unlocked phone. Not an Apple Unlocked phone.

    When you go overseas and your phone doesn't work with a certain band, you're going to end up on the phone with T-Mobile customer service and they're going to be asking you why you decided to buy a T-Mobile unlocked phone instead of a world phone.
     
  16. macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2012
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    #16
    No need to waste your time. Clearly the word "unlocked" is lost on many of the posters in this thread. Unlocked but comes with a T-Mobile sim card still means unlocked.

    Let them foolishly wait for 2-3 months for Apple to start selling the same exact phone but without a sim card that they can buy on Friday. Their loss.
     
  17. macrumors regular

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    Aug 28, 2013
    #17
    Any questions?
     

    Attached Files:

  18. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2013
    #18
    There's no such thing as a "T-Mobile unlocked phone". There's an unlocked phone that happens to come with a T-Mobile SIM card as explained in the image I attached above from Apple's website.
     
  19. macrumors newbie

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    Sep 17, 2013
    #19
    There is a T-Mobile unlocked phone designed specially for this purpose. If you buy a T-Mobile unlocked iPhone, it's made for T-Mobile, do not be fooled.

    Any GSM iPhone 5 model A1428 will support T-Mobile's LTE network and HSPA+ speeds of up to 21 Mbps. To experience DC-HSDPA up to 42 Mbps on T-Mobile, you need an iPhone 5 GSM model that supports T-Mobile's AWS band (1700/2100).

    http://support.apple.com/kb/HT5720
     
  20. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2013
    #20
    That makes zero sense.

    ----------

    http://www.pocket-lint.com/news/123628-iphone-5s-and-iphone-5c-where-can-you-buy-them-in-the-us

    "Given the GSM version of the iPhone 5S will be made available unlocked from Apple, this means AT&T customers will also be able to use the unlocked version. The unlocked iPhone means you don't have to make a wireless contract commitment. While it supports T-Mobile and AT&T bands, the unlocked iPhone will not work with CDMA-based carriers, including Sprint and Verizon Wireless."
     
  21. macrumors newbie

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    Sep 17, 2013
    #21
  22. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2010
    #22
    Support for the iPhone is handled by Apple. I have never called my carrier for iPhone specific questions. Of course Apple phone support isn't free after 90 days, so you will either need AppleCare or to pay per call.
     
  23. mepsi, Sep 17, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2013

    macrumors newbie

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    Sep 17, 2013
    #23
    I have lots of experience. In fact, I'm one of the main reasons why Apple had to change their policies on the Unlocked process. My issue was routed straight to Apple engineers.

    I know what I'm talking about. And the fact is if you do have a locked carrier phone, even Apple cannot Unlock it.

    The fact is, if you buy a phone with any carrier's name attached, you've taken a dangerous risk. Is it really worth the SIM card you probably won't use or can get for free? No. It's just a $800 mistake.

    That's RENT. You will be outside sleeping on the ground in a Mc Donald's parking lot.
     
  24. skimcpip, Sep 17, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2013

    macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2013
    #24
    As someone already pointed out above, that is outdated information. And there's also a distinction we haven't been making here between buying the phone directly from TMobile or from Apple instead. When you buy it from Apple, it's completely unlocked on every LTE and GSM band.

    http://www.engadget.com/2013/03/26/iphone-5-att-aws-unlocked-plans-t-mobile/

    As for why include the option for a TMobile SIM? Some people will want to use TMobile on their unlocked phone, which requires a TMobile SIM.
     
  25. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2013
    #25
    That wasn't the question, the question was why does Apple present the information in a way that says: Choose T-Mobile or Choose Sim-Free.

    Why not just say: Unlocked iPhone, with optional SIM card?

    When I order, I'm not going to choose T-Mobile. I'm just going to choose Unlocked, sim-free. Because I don't want anything to do with a carrier locking me down.
     

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