AT&T/Sprint/Verizon iphone 6 at full price at BestBuy/Walmart/Target etc.

Ebliss

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 9, 2014
7
0
Hello everyone,

Sorry if the question was asked elsewhere, but I'm new to this forum and I really need a straight and I relatively quick answer. I tried to look it up in the search engine, but since I am a foreigner, I'm not sure how this all would work in my case.

I'm currently visiting the US and I would like to purchase the new iPhone 6 (the size doesn't really matter to me). Since it's nearly impossible to get it at the Apple retail store, I figured I might try to do it at Best Buy/Walmart or elsewhere.

My question is: I'm a foreigner to this country and obviously I do not have an account at AT&T etc. Will the stores mentioned in the topic title sell the phone to me at full price without a contract? And if so, will it work internationally with any SIM card (I live in Europe)? I tried to talk to Walmart employees, but they did not seem to fully understand what I was trying to ask.

Sorry again if it was already explained.

Thanks in advance.
 

eyoungren

macrumors Core
Aug 31, 2011
22,094
14,815
ten-zero-eleven-zero-zero by zero-two
Do NOT buy a Sprint phone!!! Do NOT buy a Sprint phone!!! Do NOT buy a Sprint phone!!!

I beg you. Take any idea you have of getting a Sprint phone off any list or considerations you may have.

Full price for a Sprint phone is contract free, BUT IT DOES NOT MEAN UNLOCKED!

Sprint phones ARE ALWAYS LOCKED. You can get an INTERNATIONAL unlock only, but it will either cost you MONEY or TIME you won't have or don't want to spend.

No Sprint phones!!!
 

Ebliss

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 9, 2014
7
0
Thanks for the quick reply. I believe someone here said something that the Sprint should work internationally and contract free, but I don't want to take my chances and end up with a brick :)

Do you know anything about other two carriers bought in this way?
 

eyoungren

macrumors Core
Aug 31, 2011
22,094
14,815
ten-zero-eleven-zero-zero by zero-two
Thanks for the quick reply. I believe someone here said something that the Sprint should work internationally and contract free, but I don't want to take my chances and end up with a brick :)

Do you know anything about other two carriers bought in this way?
Yes, the Sprint iPhone will work internationally. But it does not come unlocked internationally even if you pay full price.

Do you have the time to…
• Establish service with Sprint?
• Stay in America with an active line on Sprint for 90 days?
• The ability to pay your bill on time for those 90 days?

Those are the requirements to obtain a free international unlock from Sprint. I assume because you are going to be visiting you cannot meet those requirements. So your other option would be to pay chronicunlocks.com or another unlock service either $145 to $159.99 to unlock the phone internationally. Chronic, by the way has a backlog. You can be waiting for the unlock for a few months.

And while it wouldn't matter because you are not a US citizen, the phone would still be locked domestically to Sprint. So, if you ever came back to the US and wanted to use the phone on a US carrier, the only carrier you could use it on would be Sprint. Sprint will NEVER unlock for domestic US use.

As to the other carriers, my understanding is that Verizon phones come unlocked period. Full price or not. It's a condition they must meet per an agreement with the US FCC.

AT&T I "think" comes unlocked if you pay full price only.
 

ag29

macrumors 6502
Oct 7, 2014
284
85
A Verizon Iphone would be the best. They come unlocked regardless of where you buy them and you can also use them on all US carriers except Sprint.

A few people have reported that AT&T and T-Mobile come locked if you buy them from anywhere other than an Apple store, this may not be the case but your safest bet would be to go with Verizon if their phones are in stock.
 

yoyolove

macrumors newbie
Oct 9, 2014
3
0
I have a similar situation like Ebliss. I am a foreigner, from China, I will stay in the US for 4 months and I would like to purchase a new iPhone 6. My question is if I buy a Verizon iPhone 6 at full price without a contract at Walmart, will it work with Chinese local carrier, such as China Mobile, China Unicom? They both provide GSM services in China. Thanks.
 

themyst

macrumors 6502
Jul 7, 2010
394
12
Do NOT buy a Sprint phone!!! Do NOT buy a Sprint phone!!! Do NOT buy a Sprint phone!!!

I beg you. Take any idea you have of getting a Sprint phone off any list or considerations you may have.

Full price for a Sprint phone is contract free, BUT IT DOES NOT MEAN UNLOCKED!

Sprint phones ARE ALWAYS LOCKED. You can get an INTERNATIONAL unlock only, but it will either cost you MONEY or TIME you won't have or don't want to spend.

No Sprint phones!!!
Damn right sir.
 

eyoungren

macrumors Core
Aug 31, 2011
22,094
14,815
ten-zero-eleven-zero-zero by zero-two
I have a similar situation like Ebliss. I am a foreigner, from China, I will stay in the US for 4 months and I would like to purchase a new iPhone 6. My question is if I buy a Verizon iPhone 6 at full price without a contract at Walmart, will it work with Chinese local carrier, such as China Mobile, China Unicom? They both provide GSM services in China. Thanks.
I'm sorry, I have no idea. I don't know if Walmart will even allow a full price purchase or not, especially without activation.

I would suggest looking up what frequencies the carriers you might be on in China use and than compare that with the frequencies of the different carrier models (but not the Sprint model) that are used here in the US. Apple has a document somewhere on their site that shows which model/carrier has what frequencies.
 

Ebliss

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 9, 2014
7
0
Thanks for your answers, guys. I've been researching a bit and I'll try to stop at a bestbuy/walmart etc. and buy an at&t or Verizon iPhone because they are supposed to work for sure in my country. I don't have the luxury to stay here any longer, because I'm leaving tomorrow. I was sure that after such a long time after the launch they would be available for purchase, but I couldn't be more wrong ;)
 

bwsteg

macrumors 6502
Sep 25, 2012
389
27
Queens NY
Yes, the Sprint iPhone will work internationally. But it does not come unlocked internationally even if you pay full price.

Do you have the time to…
• Establish service with Sprint?
• Stay in America with an active line on Sprint for 90 days?
• The ability to pay your bill on time for those 90 days?

Those are the requirements to obtain a free international unlock from Sprint. I assume because you are going to be visiting you cannot meet those requirements. So your other option would be to pay chronicunlocks.com or another unlock service either $145 to $159.99 to unlock the phone internationally. Chronic, by the way has a backlog. You can be waiting for the unlock for a few months.

And while it wouldn't matter because you are not a US citizen, the phone would still be locked domestically to Sprint. So, if you ever came back to the US and wanted to use the phone on a US carrier, the only carrier you could use it on would be Sprint. Sprint will NEVER unlock for domestic US use.

As to the other carriers, my understanding is that Verizon phones come unlocked period. Full price or not. It's a condition they must meet per an agreement with the US FCC.

AT&T I "think" comes unlocked if you pay full price only.
My 5s that was purchased at full price via apple was unlocked for international use out the box. I went out the country, inserted a sim, restarted the iPhone and the 5s was working perfectly.

When I got the iPhone originally, I inputed the imei number into a website and it showed that it was unlocked while those who purchased via Sprint directly showed locked.
 

eyoungren

macrumors Core
Aug 31, 2011
22,094
14,815
ten-zero-eleven-zero-zero by zero-two
My 5s that was purchased at full price via apple was unlocked for international use out the box. I went out the country, inserted a sim, restarted the iPhone and the 5s was working perfectly.

When I got the iPhone originally, I inputed the imei number into a website and it showed that it was unlocked while those who purchased via Sprint directly showed locked.
You are the second or third person I've heard this story from. Allow me to speculate for a moment as to why or how that may have happened. Some of my speculation is based on actual facts however from a couple of people I know who have true unlocks (domestic) on Sprint iPhones.

I would say that possibly Apple did not have the exact model of Sprint iPhone you were purchasing at the time. Rather than bother you, the customer, about this Apple simply grabbed a SIM free model or unlocked model and activated it on Sprint for you. Apple is the only entity that can force Sprint to activate a truly unlocked phone.

Later on you discovered it was unlocked.

Again, pure speculation because I wasn't there with you at the store. But, this has happened to someone I know. He purchased a 5c, Apple did not have the model/color he wanted so they grabbed an unlocked version and forced Sprint to activate it. He was also paying full price and Apple did this because he was a customer.

So, he had an unlocked 5c on Sprint. Later, he had problems with that 5c. After several replacements (all unlocked) and several discussions with senior Apple managers Apple replaced his 5c with a brand new 5s. Guess what. Unlocked. On Sprint.

Another person I know of has a fully unlocked iPhone 4s because she got it during the time period before Sprint changed it's mind about locking down the iPhone. So, it does happen, but it's rare and I'm willing to bet you are probably part of the exception to the rule.
 

617aircav

Suspended
Jul 2, 2012
3,976
818
Buy the verizon version from anywhere, and the tmobile and att verssions from the apple store. This will guarantee you an unlocked phone.
 

royik

macrumors newbie
Sep 27, 2014
26
0
Buy the verizon version from anywhere, and the tmobile and att verssions from the apple store. This will guarantee you an unlocked phone.
The question is: where can I buy contract free, device only of Verizon? Which stores are able to buy it? Verizon\ Radio shack\ staples\ Best buy\ Walmart? Do you know?
 

royik

macrumors newbie
Sep 27, 2014
26
0
Buy the verizon version from anywhere, and the tmobile and att verssions from the apple store. This will guarantee you an unlocked phone.
Thanks! I a! Not usa citizen, so I hope there won't be a problem. Apple is out of the stock :-(
Are you sutr about best buy? I am not sure if they are allowing to buy a phone without contract...
 
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