iPad Can I use a T-mobile LTE iPad Air on Verizon? Will VZW activate it on their network?

easy-peasy

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Jan 31, 2014
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With T-mobiles new promotion I am curious, if I buy the T-mobile version of the iPad Air but end up getting no T-mobile LTE service where I am at can I use a T-mobile iPad Air on Verizon? Will Verizon activate a Verizon SIM card I could pop into it so I could use it on their network even though it's technically a T-mobile iPad?

(Also curious about ATT, but mostly wondering about Verizon due to CDMA restrictions)
 
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Night Spring

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Jul 17, 2008
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As I understand it, no iPad is locked to a telco, but it's a matter of if a telco will accept iPads that are not their "own." So you can use any iPad with T-Mobile, but the other way around, it varies from telco to telco. I think Verizon had one of the more restrictive policies, where they wouldn't activate an iPad unless it was in their database.
 

Truefan31

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You'll need a Verizon sim to activate first so you'll need a Meid from a Verizon device
 

JackieInCo

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I originally bought a Verizon mini back in December and activated the sim. I exchanged the iPad for a AT&T mini two weeks later and used the sim. I didn't renew the plan the second month but tried on the third and it said it was unable to activate the iPad even though the account was still active.
 

NovemberWhiskey

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Empirically: YES, you can use a T-mobile iPad Air on Verizon, as long as you have a Verizon nano SIM. I've done it.

TIP: if you pop in the Verizon sim, and it doesn't allow internet access at first, try restarting the ipad. Some times you need a restart for some reason.

From what I understand, all ipads are the same. The only thing that makes them different (e.g. T-mo, Verizon, etc.) are which SIM cards are inside. There is no database as the other user suggests. There is only one iPad Cellular model, and there is no registry of serial numbers as I understand it. If there is, Verizon apparently didn't care when I used my Verizon SIM in what was originally a T-mobile ipad.

On a side note: You will not be able to use the same T-mobile SIM in another ipad (i.e. if your ipad gets swapped at the genius bar, you will need a brand new t-mobile sim card and you will need to re-register with a different email address to get the 200MB deal).
 

ppeinado

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May 25, 2012
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100% yes

On a tmobile air right now with an active verizon sim. It's doable. Like others said...make sure it's pre activated sim and it will work
 

HenryDJP

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On a side note: You will not be able to use the same T-mobile SIM in another ipad (i.e. if your ipad gets swapped at the genius bar, you will need a brand new t-mobile sim card and you will need to re-register with a different email address to get the 200MB deal).
No, this is wrong. If you get your iPad swapped out you can still use your existing Sim. Just call the carrier and have them switch the IMEI on your account. I just had that done.

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On a tmobile air right now with an active verizon sim. It's doable. Like others said...make sure it's pre activated sim and it will work
I think you're misunderstanding the OP's question. From my understanding he/she wants to know if he/she uses an iPad that came with a Verizon sim and switched the sim out for T-mo sim could he/she use the iPad on the Verizon network? I don't see this as being possible. I believe that Verizon has no affiliation with T-mo therefore T-mo customers can't piggyback off Verizon's network.
 

easy-peasy

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Original poster
Jan 31, 2014
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You'll need a Verizon sim to activate first so you'll need a Meid from a Verizon device
Really? So I can't just go into a Verizon store and ask them to activate a Verizon SIM card? I need an actual Verizon iPad meid before they will activate the sim? :confused:

I think you're misunderstanding the OP's question. From my understanding he/she wants to know if he/she uses an iPad that came with a Verizon sim and switched the sim out for T-mo sim could he/she use the iPad on the Verizon network? I don't see this as being possible. I believe that Verizon has no affiliation with T-mo therefore T-mo customers can't piggyback off Verizon's network.
No. I'm asking if I buy a 4g LTE iPad from a T-mobile store, how I can later get a Verizon SIM card activated that will allow me to use Verizons 4G LTE on my T-mobile iPad even though it's not a Verizon iPad. I know it won't come with a Verizon SIM card to begin with, it will originally come with a T-mobile one, but I don't mind getting a Verizon SIM card as long as they will activate it even for a non-Verizon iPad.

On a tmobile air right now with an active verizon sim. It's doable. Like others said...make sure it's pre activated sim and it will work
How would I get Verizon to pre-activate a SIM card for a T-mobile iPad? Wouldn't the store rep I talk to ask me for the devices meid beforehand and see I have a T-mobile iPad and say no? How would I get an activated Verizon SIM card then?
 

HenryDJP

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No. I'm asking if I buy a 4g LTE iPad from a T-mobile store, how I can later get a Verizon SIM card activated that will allow me to use Verizons 4G LTE on my T-mobile iPad even though it's not a Verizon iPad. I know it won't come with a Verizon SIM card to begin with, it will originally come with a T-mobile one, but I don't mind getting a Verizon SIM card as long as they will activate it even for a non-Verizon iPad.
Oh okay, sorry. I misunderstood you. But your OP wasn't clear. You didn't actually mention about installing a Verizon sim in your T-mo iPad. You just said you wanted to use your T-mo iPad on a Verizon network. I was under the impression you were asking about using your T-mo sim under Verizon.

I've gotten conflicting answers to this but it seems to be the majority says that all iPads are technically the same and it's just about which SIM card is being used and they seem to work just fine swapping them between iPads.
 

Truefan31

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Aug 25, 2012
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Really? So I can't just go into a Verizon store and ask them to activate a Verizon SIM card? I need an actual Verizon iPad meid before they will activate the sim? :confused:



No. I'm asking if I buy a 4g LTE iPad from a T-mobile store, how I can later get a Verizon SIM card activated that will allow me to use Verizons 4G LTE on my T-mobile iPad even though it's not a Verizon iPad. I know it won't come with a Verizon SIM card to begin with, it will originally come with a T-mobile one, but I don't mind getting a Verizon SIM card as long as they will activate it even for a non-Verizon iPad.



How would I get Verizon to pre-activate a SIM card for a T-mobile iPad? Wouldn't the store rep I talk to ask me for the devices meid beforehand and see I have a T-mobile iPad and say no? How would I get an activated Verizon SIM card then?

Yes. You will need a Meid and a sim from Verizon to activate. Best option once u have that is to call them and have them do it over the phone. Verizon is CDMA and they're finicky about accepting other carrier iPads, even though they're really all the same
 

JackieInCo

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Yes. You will need a Meid and a sim from Verizon to activate. Best option once u have that is to call them and have them do it over the phone. Verizon is CDMA and they're finicky about accepting other carrier iPads, even though they're really all the same
And make sure that you keep the plan renewed each and every month. If you don't want data for one month and don't pay, you won't be able to activate it again.

That's how I lost mine.
 

easy-peasy

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Original poster
Jan 31, 2014
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Yes. You will need a Meid and a sim from Verizon to activate. Best option once u have that is to call them and have them do it over the phone. Verizon is CDMA and they're finicky about accepting other carrier iPads, even though they're really all the same
How or where would I get a Verizon meid to activate the SIM card before placing it in my T-mobile iPad Air?
And make sure that you keep the plan renewed each and every month. If you don't want data for one month and don't pay, you won't be able to activate it again.

That's how I lost mine.
How did you get your Verizom SIM card activated in the first place? Where did you get the Verizon meid from to activate the SIM card and use in your T-mobile iPad Air?
 

JackieInCo

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How or where would I get a Verizon meid to activate the SIM card before placing it in my T-mobile iPad Air?


How did you get your Verizom SIM card activated in the first place? Where did you get the Verizon meid from to activate the SIM card and use in your T-mobile iPad Air?
I originally bought a 32GB Retina Mini on Verizon. I activated the sim and decided I wanted the 138GB. The store only had the AT&T 128GB so I exchanged for that. Because I didn't renew the Verizon data plan one month, it wouldn't let me renew the next month saying the iPad can't be activated.

Only Verizon iPads can be activated on Verizon even though they can be used on all networks, even T-Mobile. This is because Verizon has the meid # in their system.
 

NovemberWhiskey

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How or where would I get a Verizon meid to activate the SIM card before placing it in my T-mobile iPad Air?


How did you get your Verizom SIM card activated in the first place? Where did you get the Verizon meid from to activate the SIM card and use in your T-mobile iPad Air?
Disregard those comments. It's not true.

You can do this two ways:

1. Have a preexisting Verizon nano SIM with an account activated already. Insert into ipad air, and use (or restart and use).

2. Get a brand new unactivated Verizon nano SIM. Insert, activate, and use. It should prompt you to activate when you try to use the internet via LTE (NOT wifi), and when you go in through settings.

The whole needing a preexisting MEID number tied to an ipad is NOT true, and I am not sure if the CDMA argument is applicable anymore. That was true for old phones that didn't take SIM cards, but now that Verizon is LTE with nano SIMs, you should be able to freely swap them between devices.

I've done it myself.
 

JackieInCo

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Disregard those comments. It's not true.

You can do this two ways:

1. Have a preexisting Verizon nano SIM with an account activated already. Insert into ipad air, and use (or restart and use).

2. Get a brand new unactivated Verizon nano SIM. Insert, activate, and use. It should prompt you to activate when you try to use the internet via LTE (NOT wifi), and when you go in through settings.

The whole needing a preexisting MEID number tied to an ipad is NOT true, and I am not sure if the CDMA argument is applicable anymore. That was true for old phones that didn't take SIM cards, but now that Verizon is LTE with nano SIMs, you should be able to freely swap them between devices.

I've done it myself.
You can not activate at Verzion sim on an AT&T iPad. All these people saying you can't are correct. I've tried it myself as I mentioned above and got the message saying that Verizon could not activate my iPad.

You think we're all lying?
 

NovemberWhiskey

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You can not activate at Verzion sim on an AT&T iPad. All these people saying you can't are correct. I've tried it myself as I mentioned above and got the message saying that Verizon could not activate my iPad.

You think we're all lying?
Lying? No. But it is possible that you are doing something wrong or haven't tried something.

I haven't tried it on an ipad that originally had an ATT SIM in it, but I could with one that originally had a T-mobile SIM.

I've also been able to activate a T-mobile SIM in what originally was a Verizon ipad.

I have also run into the "could not activate" message, and that was easily overcome by restarting the ipad with the new SIM in it.

In my due diligence, there is only ONE ipad cellular model. Your ATT, Verizon, T-mobile ipads are all the same, hardware-wise. The only difference is what SIM card is in there. Whether or not the carriers are keeping a list of serial numbers or MEID numbers, I do not know; but I doubt it. Whatever the case, I know Verizon/T-mobile can be used interchangeably. Other carriers I don't have personal experience with, but OP asked specifically about Verizon and T-mobile.

I'm pretty sure anyone that is bringing up CDMA as a compatibility problem does not know what they are talking about. CDMA shouldn't have anything to do with this.
 
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JackieInCo

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Lying? No. But it is possible that you are doing something wrong or haven't tried something.

I haven't tried it on an ipad that originally had an ATT SIM in it, but I could with one that originally had a T-mobile SIM.

I've also been able to activate a T-mobile SIM in what originally was a Verizon ipad.

I have also run into the "could not activate" message, and that was easily overcome by restarting the ipad with the new SIM in it.
What's there to do wrong? Insert sim. Go to cellular data under settings and view account. Login and choose a data plan and purchase. It won't activate because it's not a Verizon iPad.

You can't activate Verizon on an AT&T iPad. It won't let you. I've tried, believe me, I've tried. As I said, the sim was already activated on a Verizon iPad, I just didn't pay for data one month and tried to renew the next.
 

1k9

macrumors member
Feb 24, 2014
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Easy peasy if you haven't bought your ipad yet then buy a Verzion ipad and then get the tmobile sim for $10. Now you set to use either carrier
 

NovemberWhiskey

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What's there to do wrong? Insert sim. Go to cellular data under settings and view account. Login and choose a data plan and purchase. It won't activate because it's not a Verizon iPad.

You can't activate Verizon on an AT&T iPad. It won't let you. I've tried, believe me, I've tried. As I said, the sim was already activated on a Verizon iPad, I just didn't pay for data one month and tried to renew the next.
Do you have a reading comprehension problem?

I already said I have no experience with ATT, and do not make any claims regarding ATT. Furthermore, OP did NOT ask about ATT.

Not only that, but maybe you missed the part about restarting the ipad after you insert the SIM. I've also run into that problem.
 

aristobrat

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I'm pretty sure anyone that is bringing up CDMA as a compatibility problem does not know what they are talking about. CDMA shouldn't have anything to do with this.
Even though an iPad on Verizon doesn't use CDMA for voice, it still uses CDMA for all non-LTE data (like 3G <EVDO> and the dreaded 'o' <1xRTT>). So with Verizon, there's more to getting data than just an LTE SIM.
 

NovemberWhiskey

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Even though a Verizon iPad doesn't use CDMA for voice, it still uses CDMA for all non-LTE data (like 3G <EVDO> and the dreaded 'o' <1xRTT>). So with them, there's more to getting data than just the LTE SIM.
That's interesting.

But given there are no hardware differences between cellular ipad models (i.e. besides storage capacity, there is only one cellular ipad variation), a hardware limitation would not be the reason why you couldn't use it on carrier but not another. i.e., there is no "CDMA ipad air" and "GSM/other ipad air."


But back on topic, to answer OP's original question, YES you can activate between t-mobile and Verizon interchangeably.
 

NovemberWhiskey

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Just tried to activate again after rebooting my AT&T iPad. No good.
You sure your SIM card is good? Where did you get it from?

Might want to try taking it to a Verizon store and asking if they can do it.

If not, then maybe it simply doesn't work between ATT and Verizon. That would be the first time I have heard of it, but who knows.

Another side note when trying to activate cellular: You are supposed to turn wifi OFF. I don't know if it really makes a difference, but that's what most instructions say. I see you are still connected to your wifi network.

Also, I see you only have 2 bars of Verizon service there. You may have bad Verizon reception, and that may be what is causing the problem. Not saying definitively, but just a possibility.
 

JackieInCo

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You sure your SIM card is good? Where did you get it from?

Might want to try taking it to a Verizon store and asking if they can do it.

If not, then maybe it simply doesn't work between ATT and Verizon. That would be the first time I have heard of it, but who knows.
Yes it's good. It was originally activated in a Verizon iPad. Only difference now is that I'm trying to renew the data in an AT&T iPad.
 

NovemberWhiskey

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Yes it's good. It was originally activated in a Verizon iPad. Only difference now is that I'm trying to renew the data in an AT&T iPad.
Um, I think that may be your problem, and it shows your case cannot be extrapolated to draw the conclusions you were trying to draw.

When you sign up for a Verizon account, they definitely tie the Serial/MEID number of the device you are using to that account. They also did that for my T-mobile account, and I was unable to switch to a new device even after calling in to switch MEID numbers.

Why don't you try getting a new Verizon SIM (brand new from a Verizon store) and report back. When they ask for your information, tell them you want a blank one, and don't want to link it to any old accounts.