Hello & Help! GSM to CDMA?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by jnpatel1188, May 22, 2014.

  1. jnpatel1188 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 22, 2014
    #1
    Hey guys,

    Cell phone advertisements are not a new thing and rarely catch my attention. However, with my cell phone bill seeming more and more ridiculous and companies coming out with significantly CHEAPER plans, I was drawn to the Sprint Framily Plan.

    The problem with switching to Sprint from AT&T is our phones. My family currently has 3 iPhone 4s's, all unlocked, but originally GSM. I was wondering, is there a way (and if so how?) I could keep the same phones while switching providers? I know people call the iPhone 4s a "world" phone and I found plenty of tips on how to switch from CDMA to GSM but information on the reverse seems to be limited.

    Any information is appreciated. Thanks in advance.

    Jay
     
  2. Givmeabrek macrumors 68040

    Givmeabrek

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2009
    Location:
    NY
    #2
    Be sure you want Sprint. Read the Sprint is pathetic thread. If you still want it you will need a Sprint phone (sell your existing phones). It's the only way. Also Sprint phones are locked to Sprint (that's why their phones are cheaper).
     
  3. eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2011
    Location:
    Phoenix • 85037
    #3
    Jay, I may be wrong, but hardware wise I don't think your phone has the Sprint bands. Sprint uses 1900mhz as it's main frequency and the Sprint iPhone 4 (without a SIM slot) was the first iPhone Sprint got.

    Sprint pairs it's iPhone with it's SIMs to lock down the iPhone to their network. Since the Sprint iPhone 4 never had a SIM slot it's all internal. I just don't think it's possible because of hardware.

    That said, one of Sprint's policies is never to activate a non--Sprint phone. Apple can force them to do this (it's been done) but again, with the hardware issues I don't think that'll happen. Also, Apple's not in the habit of doing that beyond a special circumstance.

    Lastly, just know what you are getting in to. Framily sounds great (and it probably is, but I woudn't know, I'm on an old Everything Data 1500 unlimited family plan which Sprint discontinued) but understand that if customer support means something to you as well you may find yourself in a bad spot at some point.

    Sprint has a long history of promising everything and delivering little. Make sure your area is getting what you expect as far as coverage. I'd check sensorly.com and speak to people over at s4gru.com or sprintusers.com. Sprint's coverage maps are BS and not accurate because they are put out by the marketing department and not the engineering department.

    Never trust what you are told over the phone or online. It will always be different when you walk in to a store. Maybe a minor detail, but sometimes it's totally wrong. The CSRs are rarely informed, there is a 6 month turnover rate for them and their performance is measured on whether they "solved" a problem and not on how well they helped you. If they don't answer your question or actually solve your issue, but you do leave the call that's a "solved" problem because they got you off the phone or off chat.

    Store CSRs also serve on commission and will promise you anything to make a sale. Lying is a big part of the routine, online, on the phone or in store. Third party business' doing business as Sprint are the worst.

    Please note, I am not trying to dissuade your or be a downer. I'm just a 15 year Sprint customer who's seen a lot and had a lot of other BS confirmed by Sprint reps over the years. Just keep your eyes open and get everything in writing.
     
  4. hungx macrumors 6502

    hungx

    Joined:
    May 8, 2012
    Location:
    Davis, CA
    #4
    He has the iPhone 4s (4S). That's why he stated that it's a "world phone". Apple currently stylizes the s models with a lower case s unlike the iPhone 3GS.

    Even if the phone did have the necessary CDMA bands, you still can't use the phone on a CDMA network. The iPhone is only unlocked for GSM carriers.

    If you do decide to buy new Sprint phones, I read somewhere that Sprint is changing its policies regarding unlocking phones next year.

    ----------

    The retail prices for the same model iPhone are the same regardless of carrier. The resale value of Sprint phones is significantly priced below retail.
     
  5. eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2011
    Location:
    Phoenix • 85037
    #5
    You're right, I saw 4s's and read that as 4's. As far as the lettering, thanks, that part I did know.

    I'd argue that point if we were talking iPhone 5, 5s or 5c, but as I simply don't know enough about the 4 and 4s I have to assume you are correct.

    The devil is in the details. You are absolutely correct here. But you will note that Sprint never said they would change their ACTIVATION policy. They may allow for phones to be unlocked from the Sprint network and taken elsewhere, but they have said NOTHING about activating unlocked but non-Sprint phones.

    ----------

    I think that's probably what he/she meant. The resale value is lower because of Sprint's draconian unlock policy.

    People are suckered with the lower price only to find they can't use the phone (usually).
     
  6. hungx macrumors 6502

    hungx

    Joined:
    May 8, 2012
    Location:
    Davis, CA
    #6
    Thanks for clarifying that point. Sprint will unlock their phones starting next year, but you cannot use an unlocked phone on their network. To my knowledge, there are no CDMA unlocked phones.

    I also don't have much experience regarding CDMA/GSM 4s', but I just checked Apple's website and noticed that there are separate GSM and CDMA models for the iPhone 4s. So the 4s does not have the necessary hardware to run on CDMA networks.

    http://support.apple.com/kb/HT3939?viewlocale=en_US&locale=en_US
     
  7. eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

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    Aug 31, 2011
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    Phoenix • 85037
    #7
    Well, yes, there are some unlocked CDMA phones. Technically, with the 5 and up you're getting both CDMA and GSM. When Sprint unlocks the international part of your Sprint iPhone that's the GSM part.

    But I know a few people who've gotten fully unlocked iPhones on Sprint. One was an iPhone 4 before Sprint changed it's mind on selling the iPhone 4 unlocked and another was a result of Apple not having the model (5c) that the customer wanted for Sprint. So Apple forced Sprint to activate a fully unlocked model.

    I agree with you though on your assessment of the 4s in this particular case.
     
  8. hungx, May 22, 2014
    Last edited: May 22, 2014

    hungx macrumors 6502

    hungx

    Joined:
    May 8, 2012
    Location:
    Davis, CA
    #8
    The unlocked iPhone was actually the 4s (the 4 doesn't have a SIM tray) and it was only available for a few months after launch before Sprint realized it's mistake.

    I wasn't referring to GSM unlocked CDMA phones. I was referring to CDMA unlocked phones, i.e. a Verizon phone on Sprint.

    I have also heard about Apple forcing Sprint to activate an unlocked iPhone, but if you have it replaced under warranty, it will probably be locked to Sprint.
     
  9. Nermal Moderator

    Nermal

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2002
    Location:
    New Zealand
    #9
    I'd love to know the policy reason for that. I'd have thought that connecting a "third party" phone would be beneficial for Sprint because presumably part of the monthly fee would still be intended for the handset subsidy, which in this case would be free money for Sprint.

    Here in NZ, one of the operators used to have the same policy. The reasons given were around hardware compatibility:

    Obviously the iPhone hardware is the same between Sprint, Verizon, etc. There may be software differences (does anyone know?) but you said above that it's technically possible for Sprint to activate unlocked phones so that can't be the reason either.

    I guess it's just an old policy that's never been updated for whatever reason. Over here, Telecom changed the rules back in 2009 and allowed any compatible phone to be used without having to be explicitly whitelisted. At first there were very few non-Telecom-supplied phones that were actually compatible, but the range has thankfully become larger and larger over the years :)

    I see your Sprint posts a lot so I thought you might like a little insight on how it worked overseas :)
     
  10. eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2011
    Location:
    Phoenix • 85037
    #10
    Thank you for the insight! Much appreciated! I'm always interested in how things work in places I've never been or are likely never to be. All the more from your part of the world because I have friends in both Oz and New Zealand.

    In any case, with regards to Sprint's activation policy I think you're correct in the sense that it's just never been updated. I can only speculate, but my assumption is that this is a legacy of contracts. If you are bringing a non-Sprint phone to Sprint then because they did not sell it to you they can't bind you to a contract. That means you can leave anytime. There's no ETF and Sprint can't guarantee that you'll pay both the activation fee or the bill. They also can't lock you to the network because the nature of that is that your phone would have to be unlocked to begin with. And I imagine in years previous, back when featue phones and flip phones were predominant it came down to hardware issues. It's only in the last five years or so that Sprint has started using SIMs.

    So, I guess in light of that they just decided that they would not activate any non-Sprint phone.
     
  11. hungx macrumors 6502

    hungx

    Joined:
    May 8, 2012
    Location:
    Davis, CA
    #11
    I agree with the ETF and non contract reasons for why Sprint won't change it's policies.

    I believe LTE requires the use of a SIM card (not sure of the technology behind it). Sprint SIM cards are tied to the device, so you cannot use the SIM in another device. Since Sprint only recently started using SIM cards, I'm not sure why Sprint has adopted this policy though.
     
  12. Newtons Apple macrumors P6

    Newtons Apple

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2014
    Location:
    Jacksonville, Florida
    #12
    Beware of the cheapest plans offered by Sprint! Unless you are will to put up with NO SERVICE on a regualr basis, stick with AT&T!

    No matter, but you phones will not work on the Sprint network.
     
  13. KUguardgrl13 macrumors 68020

    KUguardgrl13

    Joined:
    May 16, 2013
    Location:
    Kansas, USA
    #13
    You might consider T-Mobile. AT&T iPhones will work if the spectrum in your area has been refarmed. If not, you can trade them in toward T-Mobile phones. Any T-Mobile CSR can help with unlocking.
     

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