Activate Australian iPhone 6 on US Verizon?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by nefariousn8, Oct 10, 2014.

  1. nefariousn8 macrumors newbie

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    Washington, DC
    #1
    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!!
     
  2. wannabepcuser macrumors member

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    May 25, 2013
    #2
    Can't. Both carriers will only activate phones that were sold by them.
     
  3. I7guy macrumors G5

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    #3
    I think verizon checks the imei in its database and won't activate any phone that is not in their database.
     
  4. legioxi macrumors 6502a

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    Mar 2, 2013
    #4
    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.
     
  5. eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

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    #5
    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.
     
  6. I7guy macrumors G5

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    #6
    But can you make a phone call?
     
  7. legioxi macrumors 6502a

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    #7

    Yes...


    CDMA voice works
    CDMA data works
    LTE data works
    LTE data + voice works
     
  8. I7guy macrumors G5

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    #8
    aomerhing else is going on then. Maybe Verizon is allowing Apple BYOD iPhone 6.
     
  9. dcharleyultra macrumors 6502

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    Sep 28, 2013
    #9
    Activate Australian iPhone 6 on US Verizon?

    The key is to already have an activated SIM, as posted above.
     
  10. I7guy macrumors G5

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    #10
    I can see verizon closing this loophole in the future.
     
  11. legioxi macrumors 6502a

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    #11
    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.
     
  12. nefariousn8 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #12
    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.
     
  13. eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

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    #13
    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.
     
  14. Shadowbech macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2011
    #14
    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.
     
  15. DrakeMcEachern macrumors 6502

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    #15
    Won't work on sprint. Will work on Verizon if you already have an activated nano sim. (as stated above)
     
  16. nefariousn8 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #16
    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
     
  17. rui no onna, Oct 10, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2014

    rui no onna macrumors 601

    rui no onna

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2013
    #17
    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

     
  18. nefariousn8 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #18
    Interesting, thanks rui no onna--gives me something to ponder.
     

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