Critical iPhone Difficulties

Discussion in 'iPhone Tips, Help and Troubleshooting' started by jmine83, Aug 29, 2012.

  1. jmine83 macrumors member

    Jul 9, 2011
    I think I might have made a critical mistake.

    I recently purchased an iPhone 4S off of eBay from a seller that stated the phone has a clean ESN, not under contract, and that he purchased the phone new from Verizon. To my understanding, to me that sounds like the phone could easily be unlocked and used on any GSM or CDMA carrier. Afterall, my understanding was that what was particularly special about the iPhone 4S was that in contained both GSM and CDMA hardware in it while the original iPhone 4 did not. Therefore, an iPhone 4S purchased from Verizon, with clean ESN and no contract, could be unlocked and used on a network like T-Mobile. That was my plan and my research in the matter led me to believe I could purchase the phone in question and use it on T-Mobile. So I did purchase the phone and even requested from the seller to go to their local Verizon store and request to have the phone unlocked. Before he sent the phone to me he confirmed the phone had been unlocked as I requested. I received the phone in the mail earlier this week and first went straight to Verizon to confirm the phone was unlocked. They looked up the hardware ID of the phone on Apple's website and confirmed it was unlocked. Then I went to T-Mobile and paid $50 for a prepaid, no contract monthly service. I was originally an AT&T customer and had my phone number transferred to the new T-Mobile SIM card which was put in the new iPhone 4S. After a while I tried to setup the new phone and get it activated. However, I was consistently getting an error that was reporting something like the SIM card is incompatible. Went online to chat to a T-Mobile support person that happened to mention that the iPhone can't get 3G service. I knew there would be certain restrictions going to T-Mobile, but I did not know that I couldn't get 3G. Went back to local T-Mobile store to try and get a refund but they wouldn't do it. T-Mobile troubleshooted the phone and concluded that the phone was behaving like it was locked. To verify the condition of the situation I went to local AT&T store and they also got the same consistent SIM card error when putting in an AT&T SIM card. Both AT&T and T-Mobile reported they could not unlock the phone because it was originally a Verizon phone.

    So why is neither AT&T or T-Mobile working on the iPhone 4S? Does the 4S not contain both CDMA and GSM hardware like I thought?
  2. rocknblogger macrumors 68020


    Apr 2, 2011
    New Jersey
    In the US the 4S will only work on the carrier it was originally specified for. If you can get an unlocked 4S it means that when you go overseas you'll be able to use it with any carrier you want. But here your stuck with Verizon.

    EDIT: the only iPhone that will work on t-mobile is one that was originally on AT&T I believe.
  3. Bilalo macrumors 6502

    Aug 17, 2012
    Oxford, England
    Go to verizon and ask them to unlock it for you, if it could be done then it's by them, if not then you'll have to jailbreak it first then update it back to normal in order to use external sims I think.
  4. jmine83 thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 9, 2011
    Let me clarify this then. Do "all" iPhone 4S phones sold in the USA or Worldwide physically contain "both" the GSM and CDMA hardware? Or is there two, physically different iPhone 4S phones; i.e. one for GSM and the other for CDMA. I would think that if the iPhone 4S does indeed contain "both" CDMA and GSM hardware in the phone, that if unlocked, would therefore work on any GSM or CDMA network. Please provide clarification.
  5. Applejuiced macrumors Westmere


    Apr 16, 2008
    At the iPhone hacks section.
    That would be great and simple to work anywhere but its not.
    Currently factory unlocked 4S iphones will work with any GSM carriers sim. Even though they have both radios installed inside the CDMA part wont work and cannot be activated on a CDMA carrier like sprint or verizon.
    CDMA iphone 4S models can be unlocked for international use by contacting your carrier and function with any Non-US sim outside the country. But they will not accept any US sims from AT&T, tmobile and such. And a verizon 4S cannot be activated on sprint even though they're both CDMA and vice versa. No Sprint 4S can be activated on verizon.
    The beauty of US carriers, good times:)

    Oh and next time do your homework before you purchase. Your assumptions and understanding was off.
    What you have now is a verizon 4S that can be activated on any verizon account but not on any other US carrier. It will work fine with any carriers GSM sim outside the US too since its unlocked for international only use.

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