Activate Australian iPhone 6 on US Verizon?

nefariousn8

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 7, 2006
13
0
Washington, DC
Hi All,

Has anyone ever attempted to activate a fully unlocked Australian iPhone 6 on a US CDMA carrier such as Verizon or Sprint? I have a fully unlocked Australian iPhone model number A1586, which technically has all the necessary bands and radios for any carrier, and the phone is factory unlocked. It does not come with a SIM card and is not "pre-activated."

The Australian Apple store asserts on its website that the phone will not work on CDMA, but some separate web research suggests that technically the CDMA radio is enabled. This would make sense because Model A1586 is the same model that Sprint sells locked in the United States on contract, and Sprint is a CDMA network. I believe the difference between the US Sprint A1586 and the Australian-sold A1586 is that the Sprint phone is only sold fully locked on a two year plan, whereas the Australian A1586 is sold fully unlocked (by law in Australia) with no plan.

I would love to hear perspective on this, but as best as I can figure so far the real "not usable on CDMA" claim really boils down to whether or not a US carrier would be willing to activate the foreign iPhone, rather than a question of whether the phone could be activated. It seems technically capable of using CDMA.

If what I read so far is correct, Sprint will straight up refuse to activate it, and Verizon will similarly be confused because the IMEI number will not be in their inventory when they attempt to activate it, leading to a dilemma in the store and all around confusion (is that right?).

One anecdote I read suggested that you could sneakily use a fully unlocked Australian A1586 model on Verizon CDMA network so long as you could swap in an existing Verizon SIM card (from, say, an older Verizon iPhone), and that this would allow de facto use, but that the network would assume you were running the older phone instead of the iPhone 6 or something like that. Sounded like a sweet MacGyver move, but not necessarily an approved or stable long term solution.

Anyone have any experience with this? Could I convince Verizon to give me a new SIM and activate the phone in this manner? Any other creative ideas?

Absent these shenanigans, I know I could activate it on AT&T or T-Mobile easily enough, them being GSM carriers, but Verizon has the best coverage where I'm at.

Final curiosity: I have a Sprint nano SIM from my current iPhone 5. I'm tempted to pop it into this new iPhone 6 and see what happens, although I'm wary about somehow activating the CDMA to Sprint. Should I try it? Why or why not? I want to ultimately drop my current Sprint plan because their LTE coverage here is poor.

Thanks!!
 

legioxi

macrumors 6502a
Mar 2, 2013
639
75
Should be fine on Verizon as long as you have an active sim to swap in. I'm using an unlocked ATT phone on Verizon to post this. The cdma radios are on in the ATT model so I imagine they are for other gsm models.

I cannot vouch for Sprint and Verizon will not assist you. You must have an active sim already.
 

eyoungren

macrumors Core
Aug 31, 2011
21,162
12,993
ten-zero-eleven-zero-zero by zero-two
Yeah, Sprint won't activate it either. The IMEI is not in their database and they do not activate phones they did not sell or that were not intended to be used on their network.

Same as Verizon.

This is one of the things people who buy unlocked phones seldom consider. It's all great and all that you (the collective you, not you personally) have an unlocked phone but if no carrier will activate it what good does an unlocked phone do you? None of these new unlock agreements and laws mandate the carriers to ACTIVATE a phone. They all just say they will unlock and that's it.
 

I7guy

macrumors Core
Nov 30, 2013
20,380
8,209
Gotta be in it to win it
Should be fine on Verizon as long as you have an active sim to swap in. I'm using an unlocked ATT phone on Verizon to post this. The cdma radios are on in the ATT model so I imagine they are for other gsm models.

I cannot vouch for Sprint and Verizon will not assist you. You must have an active sim already.
But can you make a phone call?
 

dcharleyultra

macrumors 6502
Sep 28, 2013
397
1
Activate Australian iPhone 6 on US Verizon?

The key is to already have an activated SIM, as posted above.
 

legioxi

macrumors 6502a
Mar 2, 2013
639
75
I can see verizon closing this loophole in the future.
Short of them having Apple disable the CDMA radio on the next phone, not likely. Phones join the network via the LTE/SIM info now. As long as the CDMA radio is active and you have a valid SIM, the phone will work. The 5/5S had the CDMA radio disabled on non-Verizon/Sprint phones.
 

nefariousn8

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 7, 2006
13
0
Washington, DC
Yeah, Sprint won't activate it either. The IMEI is not in their database and they do not activate phones they did not sell or that were not intended to be used on their network.

Same as Verizon.

This is one of the things people who buy unlocked phones seldom consider. It's all great and all that you (the collective you, not you personally) have an unlocked phone but if no carrier will activate it what good does an unlocked phone do you? None of these new unlock agreements and laws mandate the carriers to ACTIVATE a phone. They all just say they will unlock and that's it.
Thanks, this is very helpful, I definitely take your point. In this case, I knew going in that it was unlikely I could activate on either Verizon or Sprint. My more direct goal, since I travel internationally often, was to get a GSM-unlocked 1586 model with the extra TD bands for possible use in China, etc. If I had bought that more comprehensive band model in the States, I would have been stuck on Sprint with a locked phone. Since I bought in Australia, I figure I at least have the flexibility of going to AT&T or T-Mobile inside the US.

Out of curiosity, what do you make of this:

http://www.verizonwireless.com/accessories/4g-sim-activation-kit/

Would buying this and loading it in still fail to activate insofar as the phone is not sold by Verizon? I see an iPhone 5 listed as compatible with this activation kit, plus a lot of others, including an iPad. Scratching my head a bit. Since I don't have an active Verizon SIM, could I pull a maneuver whereby I buy this kit, activate the SIM card in a demo phone, then put it back into my iPhone 6? I'm probably misunderstanding something still.
 

eyoungren

macrumors Core
Aug 31, 2011
21,162
12,993
ten-zero-eleven-zero-zero by zero-two
Out of curiosity, what do you make of this:

http://www.verizonwireless.com/accessories/4g-sim-activation-kit/

Would buying this and loading it in still fail to activate insofar as the phone is not sold by Verizon? I see an iPhone 5 listed as compatible with this activation kit, plus a lot of others, including an iPad. Scratching my head a bit. Since I don't have an active Verizon SIM, could I pull a maneuver whereby I buy this kit, activate the SIM card in a demo phone, then put it back into my iPhone 6? I'm probably misunderstanding something still.
My apologies, but I am going to have to defer to an actual Verizon customer or someone who knows about this.

I'm a 15 year Sprint customer who has never been on a different carrier so my knowledge about Verizon is what I've picked up here.
 

Shadowbech

macrumors 603
Oct 18, 2011
5,171
1,362
Apple iPhone World
The key is to already have an activated SIM, as posted above.
This. I have a Verizon iPad Mini Retina wifi + cellular and inserted the sim into my AT&T unlocked 6 Plus and I can confirm that it does work. Obviously it's a data only sim card but data part is working just fine. I'm sure if you already have an activated sim from verizon it will work on AT&T unlocked 6/6 Plus.

Plus the model number 6 Plus is A1522 for T-mobile/Verizon/At&t.
 

nefariousn8

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 7, 2006
13
0
Washington, DC
Thanks all again. After deliberation I've decided not to game Verizon on this one, although I take some comfort in the notion that I could theoretically activate the nano SIM on another Verizon phone and then swap the activated SIM into the Australian unlocked A1586 iPhone and use it that way down the road if I really wanted to.

I'm instead going to try out T-Mobile for awhile, as they supposedly have dense LTE coverage in my city, even though their footprint is not nearly as broad as Verizon or AT&T. If they don't work out, I'll fall back to AT&T, which is more or less on par with Verizon around here.

Perhaps Verizon will change its activation policies when February rolls around and the new unlocking legislation comes into play, and I could sign up with them at that point in a more straightforward manner. (One can hope!)

Cheers
 

rui no onna

macrumors 604
Oct 25, 2013
6,798
3,088
Perhaps Verizon will change its activation policies when February rolls around and the new unlocking legislation comes into play, and I could sign up with them at that point in a more straightforward manner. (One can hope!)
It's not legislation, it's a voluntary unlocking agreement.

The question is how is Verizon still getting away with not activating non-whitelisted devices? They got away with it on the Nexus 7 by citing "security" issues but what's their excuse on non-Verizon branded iPhones and iPads running the exact same hardware that have been certified for Verizon's network?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_2008_wireless_spectrum_auction#Google_involvement

Google involvement

In an effort to encourage Network neutrality, groups such as Public Knowledge, MoveOn.org, Media Access Project, along with individuals such as Craigslist founder Craig Newmark, and Harvard Law professor Lawrence Lessig appealed to the Federal Communications Commission to make the newly freed airways open access to the public.[8]

Prior to the bidding process, Google asked that the spectrum be free to lease wholesale and the devices operating under the spectrum be open. Currently many providers such as Verizon and AT&T use technological measures to block external applications. In return Google guaranteed a minimum bid of $4.6 billion. Google's specific requests were the adoption of these policies:

  • Open applications: Consumers should be able to download and utilize any software applications, content, or services they desire;
  • Open devices: Consumers should be able to utilize a handheld communications device with whatever wireless network they prefer;
  • Open services: Third parties (resellers) should be able to acquire wireless services from a 700 MHz licensee on a wholesale basis, based on reasonably nondiscriminatory commercial terms; and
  • Open networks: Third parties (like internet service providers) should be able to interconnect at any technically feasible point in a 700 MHz licensee's wireless network.[9]

The result of the auction was that Google was outbid by others in the auction, triggering the open platform restrictions Google had asked for without having to actually purchase any licenses.[10] Google was actively involved in the bidding process although it had no intentions of actually winning any licenses.[11] The reason for this was that it could push up the price of the bidding process in order to reach the us$ 4.6B reserve price, therefore triggering the open source restrictions listed above. Had Google not been actively involved in the bidding process, it would have made sense for businesses to suppress their bidding strategies in order to trigger a new auction without the restrictions imposed by Google and the FCC.[10] Google's upfront payment of $287 million in order to participate in the bidding process was largely recovered after the auction since it had not actually purchased any licences. Despite this, Google ended paying interest costs, which resulted in an estimated loss of 13 million dollars.[10]

The FCC ruled in favor of Google's requests.[12] Only two of the four requirements were put in place on the upper C-Block, open applications and open devices.[13] Google had wanted the purchaser to allow 'rental' of the blocks to different providers.

In retaliation, Verizon filed a lawsuit against the Federal Communications Commission to remove the provisions Google had asked for. Verizon called the rules “arbitrary and capricious, unsupported by substantial evidence and otherwise contrary to law.”[14]
 
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