How U.S. carriers fool you into thinking your iPhone 4S is unlocked

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by trajen, Dec 23, 2011.

  1. trajen macrumors 6502a

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    #1
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    Such a great article with regard to how the general public would understand that the iPhone 4S is an unlocked "world phone". There are actually 4 different iPhone 4S models: AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, Apple.

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/marcwebertobias/2011/12/22/how-u-s-carriers-fool-you-into-thinking-your-iphone-4s-is-unlocked/
     
  2. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #2
    They are world phones. The author of that article forgot a very important step, restore the iPhone with iTunes. It's iTunes and Apple that do the actual unlocking. All the carrier does is tell Apple to add the iPhone's unique number to the unlock database. Then when iTunes restores the iPhone it checks the database and preforms the necessary un/locking. If you ask your carrier to unlock the iPhone and not restore, its no different than having it still be locked.
     
  3. eastercat macrumors 68040

    eastercat

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    #3
    If someone is paying attention, there's no fooling involved.
     
  4. scaredpoet, Dec 24, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2011

    scaredpoet macrumors 604

    scaredpoet

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    #4
    There's one thing that even the author of this article didn't get right:

    While technically this is correct, in reality it's untrue. AT&T will activate an Apple-unlocked iPhone, but Sprint and Verizon will not. Not because the unlocked phone is incapable of working on those networks, but because Verizon and Sprint choose not to.

    Verizon, Sprint and AT&T each have a database of MEIDs/IMEIs that match up with phones that are being sold for service on their network. In Verizon and Sprint's case, if you bring them a CDMA iPhone 4 or an unlocked 4S with a serial number that isn't in their database, they will decline to provide service to that phone. Even if it's unlocked.

    To be fair, this policy of theirs isn't iPhone specific. Sprint has never allowed non-Sprint-specific phones to be activated on their network. You could take an identical CDMA phone from Verizon, which uses the same bands and is a spec-for-spec identical phone as something Sprint sells, and they still won't let you use it.

    As for Verizon, they used to have an "approved" list of outside phones you could take to them to be activated, but it was a very short list, and the phones on that list were very bottom-rung dumbphones. At some point a while back the FCC pressured them to do this, and they did the absolute bare minimum to appease the FCC. Their excuse was that "extensive testing" needed to be done on each phone to ensure it would function properly on the network.... the same excuse Ma Bell used back in the day for making people rent landline phones, instead of letting them buy one, or for prohibiting people from using things like answering machines.

    no one seems to have checked on what C-Spire's policy is though. They're small and regional, but if they are willing to fully unlock iPhones and/or take in unlocked iPhones, that would be a nice selling point for them.
     
  5. BiggAW macrumors 68020

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    They should have said that it will work on any GSM carrier. AT&T, and small regional carriers like GCI in Alaska are fully compatible with it, and T-Mobile is semi-compatible with it. GCI will even give you $450 back if you buy an unlocked on from Apple and come into their store and activate it for two years... Clever route-around to avoid having to make a deal with Apple, so technically AT&T is still the exclusive iPhone carrier up there.
     
  6. terraphantm macrumors 68040

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    #6
    Even though none of the information is new, I am glad a non-techy website is getting into detail about the crappy unlocking policies that US carriers have
     
  7. trajen thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    I have a Sprint 4S. Sprint told me they WILL NOT unlock the SIM slot. The rep didn't give me a clear enough reason as to why. Frustrating.

    I think it's a good article because it points out the fact that carriers are misleading consumers into thinking they will be able to do as they please with the SIM slot once outside the country.

    I can't believe Verizon has the audacity to claim you are still under their terms of service while outside the U.S., jerks.
     
  8. takeshi74 macrumors 601

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    #8
    Sounds not applicable to me when using other SIM cards...
     
  9. beret9987 macrumors regular

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    #9
    You need to talk to another Sprint rep, then complain about the previous rep. All of my 4Ss have been unlocked by them.
     
  10. wordoflife macrumors 604

    wordoflife

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    #10
    This is true if you use their service outside the U.S. What's wrong with that?
     
  11. SporkLover macrumors 6502

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    #11
    He misstated what the article quoted. The article referred to an excerpt that basically said users of VZW iPhones using 3rd part Sim cards outside of the US were still bound by the VZW ToS.
     
  12. verwon macrumors 68030

    verwon

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    #12

    How long have you had your account and/or are you on a spending limit plan? Your account has to be paid in full, on time for over 90 days for them to unlock it and you can't have any account restrictions.
     
  13. SporkLover macrumors 6502

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    #13
    X 2. I just called and had a iPhone I bought today unlocked.
     
  14. trajen thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    I've only had an account since November 2nd so that's why. I could barely understand the damn rep anyway. Once the Dev Team finds an unlock I'm gonna sell this iPhone and cancel with Sprint. I can't stand the slow-ass 3G speeds.
     
  15. eastercat macrumors 68040

    eastercat

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    #15
    Software unlocks are as useless for a CDMA phone as intelligence is for a religious fundamentalist.
     
  16. SporkLover macrumors 6502

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    #16
    There isn't a such thing as a CDMA unlock. CDMA carriers add the ESN/MEID to their database, phone gets reprogrammed for said carriers CDMA network. In the US, the Big CDMA carriers won't allow ESN/MEID's from outside phones on their network.

    Now if you are talking about unlocking the International Roaming SIM slot on a CDMA phone, that's a different story and there is plenty of utility out of that.
     
  17. trajen thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Hahahaha I love how snarky people are in this forum. They respond with rude and dumb comments without actually comprehending what they are responding to. Of COURSE a software unlock for the SIM slot on a CDMA iPhone 4S. Duh. What else would I be talking about?
     
  18. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #18
    Odd how you respond without actually knowing how things work. On a CDMA only mobile device there is no such thing as an unlock. You seem to have failed to read the last line of SporkLover's post as well. With this one line, SporkLover is noting that there is an unlock for the SIM slots on CDMA world phones. Your post only presents your lack of knowledge while insulting others.
     
  19. trajen thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    I was referring to the 4S in my original post. CDMA or GSM iPhone 4S: there is a SIM slot that will (hopefully) eventually be software unlocked to accept ANY carrier. CDMA really doesn't have anything to do with it. It's not like the SIM tray is there just for fun.
     
  20. phon macrumors regular

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    #20
    I think sprint unlocked for international sims but not within US uses such AT&T or Tmobile. Try to see that is the case, if not then it is good to have Sprint Iphone 4s and unlock later.
     
  21. BiggAW macrumors 68020

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    #21
    With Sprint, you probably won't get service in the US, so why do you expect to get service outside of the US? How about getting an unlocked one and getting on the real iPhone carrier?
     
  22. trajen thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Hahahaha good idea!
     
  23. takeshi74 macrumors 601

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    Logic FAIL. Sprint's domestic network has nothing to do with coverage outside the US and that should be obvious.
     
  24. trajen thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    THAT WAS A JOKE, OBVS.
     
  25. SporkLover, Dec 27, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2011

    SporkLover macrumors 6502

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    #25
    No snarkiness intended. a statement about software unlocks for a CDMA phone, there isn't a such animal. Again, if we are talking them sim slot on the world phone, then i disagree with the statement about it being useless. There is plenty of use for an unlocked sim slot.
     

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