Will an unlocked iphone 4S (from Sprint) work on Straight talk

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by eclipse01, Jul 8, 2013.

  1. macrumors 68000

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    Wisconsin
    #1
    i have done some searching but find many saying it will and many saying it won't, so i figured I would just outright ask.
     
  2. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2013
    #2
    apparently, unlocked iphones from Sprint only work on the SPRINT network in the U.S.
     
  3. thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #3
    yet VzN phones can go anywhere?

    that seems strange...
     
  4. macrumors G3

    eyoungren

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    #4
    Not strange. Standard policy. Sprint only unlocks for international use.

    Sprint wants you to stay on their network in the US though, so that's why.
     
  5. thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #5
    Is it just the 4s or the 5 is like this as well?
     
  6. macrumors regular

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    Aug 27, 2003
    #6
    I think a Verizon 4S will only work on Verizon. Its the Verizon 5 that can work on other networks. Although the Sprint 5 will only work on Sprint.
     
  7. eyoungren, Jul 9, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2013

    macrumors G3

    eyoungren

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    #7
    Any iPhone on Sprint can only be unlocked for international use. The 4/4S and the 5.

    No matter what model of iPhone you have on Sprint, Sprint will NOT under any circumstance unlock that iPhone for domestic use.

    NOTE: It's also Sprint's policy that they will NOT activate any non-Sprint phone on their network. So, while you may have a Verizon iPhone 5 that may work on the Sprint network (not sure if that's possible or not), Sprint won't activate it.
     
  8. thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #8
    So i'm confused, what is the difference from the ones sprint sells vs like VzN or even ATT?

    Does Apple do something to them before they are shipped? Or does Sprint do something to them before they are sold?

    If its a matter of Sprint locking them, I thought they legally have to unlock them after your contract is up since you then own the "subsidized" phone
     
  9. eyoungren, Jul 9, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2013

    macrumors G3

    eyoungren

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    #9
    The model used on AT&T and T-Mobile utilizes GSM, which is a wireless network standard. Verizon and Sprint use CDMA, which is another wireless network standard. Within GSM or CDMA the carriers operate on different frequencies. So, an unlocked Verizon iPhone may be CDMA, but because it operates on a different frequency can't be activated on Sprint and vice-versa.

    This is my basic understanding of it. There are others here who know more specifics and I will most likely be corrected if I've erred in some way.

    Each iPhone (and cell phone) has an IMEI number. The IMEI number of an iPhone that is to be unlocked is entered into a database that Apple maintains. The carriers have access to that database which is how they can unlock an iPhone. Once an IMEI number is entered into that database, the iPhone is unlocked. This was how Apple controlled and locked down the original iPhone to prevent it from operating on any carrier other than AT&T, which in 2008 had the exclusive license with Apple.

    Verizon chose specifically to have it's iPhones unlocked from the beginning. I supposed that that means that any Verizon iPhone Apple makes thus automatically has it's IMEI entered in to the database.

    Again, just my understanding of it.

    Sprint chooses to not have their iPhones unlocked. I don't think they have to "do" anything, it just comes locked because that seems to be the default.

    Sprint, AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile do NOT have to unlock your iPhone at all. It's their network. Unlocking your iPhone is a courtesy extended to valued customers. AT&T and Verizon do it I suppose because, really, where domestically are you going to take your iPhone to? Sprint? Sprint won't activate it and you can't put an AT&T iPhone on Verizon and vice versa. So, other than T-Mobile or smaller MVNOs it's not really an issue for them.

    Sprint on the other hand is trying to prevent people from leaving. Taking your iPhone abroad does not really affect Sprint because it's not in direct competition with anyone. But at home it is, so they refuse to unlock for domestic use.

    It may be your device, but the current law does not state that the carriers HAVE to unlock, only that they can if they wish.
     
  10. Moderator

    Nermal

    Staff Member

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    #10
    The Verizon and Sprint phones are, for all intents and purposes, identical. Sprint simply has a policy of not activating phones that they didn't sell (they keep a whitelist of allowed ESNs). This practice is relatively common; Telecom used to have the same policy here and I think Verizon still does something similar in the US.

    As for Verizon's iPhones being unlocked, that's a condition that was imposed on Verizon when they got rights to LTE band 13. As far as I know, all Verizon band 13 phones are unlocked.
     
  11. macrumors G3

    eyoungren

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    #11
    Thanks for that!

    I have only a basic knowledge of how all this works so I appreciate the further explanation.
     
  12. thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #12
    I would not say that is basic knowledge, thanks to everyone for explaining
     
  13. macrumors 6502

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    Dec 23, 2009
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    Madison, WI
    #13
    To set the record straight:

    iPhone 4 (Sprint or Verizon) can not be unlocked for any GSM network as it is a CDMA only phone.

    iPhone 4S (identical hardware for all carriers) can be unlocked domestically and internationally for GSM usage, however both Sprint and Verizon will refuse to unlock it for domestic GSM usage.

    iPhone 5 (Verizon) is unlocked from the factory because the FCC required it to be for Verizon to use their LTE bands. iPhone 5 (Sprint) can, again, be unlocked domestically and internationally, and again Sprint will refuse to unlock it domestically. And then they'll tell you that it's not possible, and then you ask why Verizon can unlock theirs domestically, and then they feed you more lies.

    Carriers are scumbags. Every single one of them.

    To answer OP's question: Technically possible? Yes. Are you going to actually be able to? No.
     
  14. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2013
    #14
    Mhmm , what about sim interposer solutions ?
     

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