Carrier Proof that AT&T iPad Air can be Activated on Verizon

Discussion in 'iPad' started by dssguy1, Nov 1, 2013.

  1. dssguy1 macrumors newbie

    Nov 1, 2013

    Ok, first off let me say, I have been following Apple related blogs for the past 2 days to figure out what the situation was on Carrier Locked iPad Airs.

    There is an utter boat load of conjecture, assumptions, he said / she said, copy paste of website small text, etc. But NO actual real life information where somebody bought a Carier XYZ labeled iPad Air and actually tried to activate it with another carrier's sim card.

    Don't get me wrong, I have seen people who have put in other sim cards and said "hurray, the carrier screen came up when I went to cellular activation screen" but everybody stopped there and assumed it would activate if they saw that screen pop up with the right carrier.

    I even talked to 3 different people at the Apple store in Chicago and they all were adamant that it was impossible to activate an AT&T iPad on Verizon. Actually, I was kind of depressed with how little information they even had. They were reading the box trying to comprehend the fact that there was only one model of iPad this year (barring the colors and memory capacity). It was actually quite pathetic that even their self deemed "expert" didn't know that little detail.

    So now to the point of this post.

    You can buy an AT&T iPad Air and activate it on Verizon! It will not be automatic like it would if you bought a Verizon iPad Air and activated it. It takes a call in to Verizon and some minor trickery.

    I bought an AT&T iPad 64gb Space Grey from the Chicago Apple store (only because they didn't have the Verizon in 64GB in the entire state of Illinois).

    I brought it home and unboxed it. Without turning it on, I removed the AT&T sim card and set it aside. I happened to have a Verizon (unactivate or used) nano sim from when I bought my 5s (didn't need it because I just put the sim from my iPhone 5 into the 5s once I got it).

    I popped the unactivated Verizon sim into the iPad Air and powered it up. Went through the normal setup steps and restored a backup to the iPad. I did notice that it was connecting to Verizon as the carrier even though the data was not activated. This was my first positive sign.

    Finally when I finished restoring my backup I tried to log in to my Verizon account and just do the swap there. NO LUCK. I couldn't add the iPad or swap it for my old iPad 4. Their website simply didn't recognize the MEID, IMEI or anything.

    Next I tried to activate it through the iPad activation screen in the iPad's cellular settings. It popped up the Verizon activation screen and spun for a second then said "Unable to Activate" please cal some number.

    Ok, so next I called Verizon and went through the prompts to get to a person who could add it. The lady asked me for the MEID. I gave it to her and she said it wasn't coming up. She then asked for the IMEI and I gave it to her and she had the same problem. At this point I made the mistake of telling her that it was actually an AT&T iPad and then a 5 minute conversation ensued about how it wasn't possible to activate that on Verizon and that I was a complete idiot for trying....

    Hung up, called back in and got a new lady to help me. This time we went through the same process and had the same rsults. No pay attention, this is where things differ.....

    I asked the lady if she could just activate the iPad using the SIM number which shows up as the ICCID under the iPad menus. She said sure, lets give that a shot. 2 minutes later and one reboot, up and running with LTE speeds and everything working perfectly.

    After all of that, I told the lady that it was actually an AT&T iPad she just activated and she was shocked. She had been told they couldn't activate anything other than Verizon iPad Airs. So basically it is just a training issue or a company line that they can't do it.

    My iPad is on my shared account downloading away at 4G speeds. The only thing a little different is that in my device management screens on Verizons website it doesn't show the iPad picture. It just shows the iPad as the data phone number it is assigned to and a blank box. Probably because it doesn't know it is an iPad because the IMEI isn't registered with Verizon's systems.

    If something changes and it stops working, I will post back in this thread but for right now you can mark it down that an AT&T labeled iPad Air CAN be activated on Verizon if you manually call it in and use the ICCID for activation without telling them it isn't a Verizon iPad.

    Sorry for the hella long post but I know a lot of you guys were waiting for this information and now you have it.

    I gotta go eat my cold dinner now!
  2. TWO2SEVEN macrumors 68040


    Jun 27, 2010
    Plano, TX
    I appreciate the research, but out of curiosity why would some one want to do this instead of buying the model for the carrier that they want to use?
  3. screensaver400 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 28, 2005
    This only applies to Share Everything plans (cheapest is $40/month for tablet only), right? Or did you get the $20/1GB prepaid plan?
  4. mbfanos macrumors newbie

    Apr 12, 2011
    I just put my verizon sim from my iphone 5 into my new ipad. I bought the 16gb cellular tmobile version this afternoon and guess what?
    It show verizon LTE and the speed is awesome !!!!:eek::eek::eek::eek::eek::eek:


    So now, you can buy any version and they still work?? Both CDMA and GSM?? Because they have the same model number???
  5. rui no onna macrumors 603

    rui no onna

    Oct 25, 2013
    Anyone here tried activating via this page to avoid the call to customer service?

    It just needs IMEI and SIM Card ID to activate.


    It's useful to know if, say, you're traveling from an international destination and you want to use your iPad with Verizon prepaid service.
  6. dssguy1 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 1, 2013
    Well, I had to do it because they didn't have a single 64gb black Verizon ipad Air in Illinois.

    Others may like to know that they can basically switch between carriers at will instead of being locked to whatever carrier had their name on the sticker attached to the iPad you bought. This proves that there is not technical reason you can't move between carriers.
  7. protoxx macrumors 6502a


    Oct 10, 2013
  8. rui no onna macrumors 603

    rui no onna

    Oct 25, 2013
    Yep. Definitely curious whether CDMA works. Can you try disabling LTE to see if it falls down to 3G?
  9. dssguy1 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 1, 2013
    Thanks for reminding me. I was worried that wouldn't work.

    Spoiler alert... It works also! First it was showing 1x but then I came out of my basement and it switched to 3G.

    So it appears the AT&T labeled iPad Air is fully functional on all CDMA bands and LTE for Verizon.
  10. Jades macrumors 6502

    Oct 15, 2012
    Someone needs to test Sprint

    Not that their data packages are attractive for the value you get, but for some, very few, it would be helpful.
  11. biosci macrumors 6502a

    Apr 16, 2010
    Chicagoland, IL
    Just want to say thank you for your post and experiences. It's funny how you went through all that trouble and people here reply and ask you to just test more things and report back. Sigh... I don't have an ipad anything right now (waiting for the retina mini) but I'll keep all of this in mind!

    Thanks again!
  12. rui no onna macrumors 603

    rui no onna

    Oct 25, 2013
    Problem with Sprint is where would you get the SIM? I've checked ebay and the Sprint SIM cards there look sketchy.
  13. xraydoc macrumors demi-god


    Oct 9, 2005
    That we page rejects my AT&T IMEI number. But, unless the iPad is locked to AT&T (which it's not), Verizon should be able to activate it - like the Google Nexus 7 FHD, they're not all in their IMEI database but can be added. And the iPad, unlike the nexus 7, is already VZW-approved.
  14. dssguy1 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 1, 2013
    If you read my original post you can see what is required to activate the AT&T labeled iPad

    I think you are correct, they don't have it in their IMEI database but they can use the SIM to activate it like they did for me.
  15. xraydoc macrumors demi-god


    Oct 9, 2005
    Yeah, I did read your post. I was just responding to the person who said to try his link. Didn't work. Then reiterated what you said.
  16. rui no onna macrumors 603

    rui no onna

    Oct 25, 2013
    Thanks. Been wondering about that. So looks like best bet is still to get a Verizon iPad if you want hassle-free activation and account management. Since OP is on Share Everything plan, he wouldn't be able to test if it's possible to manage a Verizon prepaid data account directly from the iPad so getting a Verizon iPad is the safer route.
  17. RoqueCub macrumors newbie

    Jul 21, 2011
    The can now be some form of competition for customers and price if people can switch their iPads over to another carrier with just a SIM card. At least you got this one right apple.
  18. dssguy1 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 1, 2013
    I did try to activate through the iPad directly (with it not really knowing I was a paying Verizon customer with other devices) and it failed to activate. I am not sure if a manual call to Verizon would have allowed for a month to month prepaid type of service.

    Clearly it would be possible on their side because the hardware supports their service but would they try to be stingy about it when they don't have a $200+ monthly account asking them to activate a non Verizon iPad.
  19. GadgetGeek407 macrumors 6502a

    Mar 26, 2009
    What if it was bought at a tmobile store and not apple, would it still be unlocked?
  20. JustCrusin macrumors member

    Mar 13, 2011
    Hmmm...seems like a few hoops to jump through. Maybe I should have gone with a Verizon model instead of TMobile. We plan on using the free data but may eventually go to share everything on Verizon. seems like going from Verizon to TMobile is much easier.
  21. Jades macrumors 6502

    Oct 15, 2012
    Oh. Then that answers that.

    Two things to point out though

    1- I tested this before you posted this thread but with an already activated verizon sim. So anyone upgrading from a previous generation ipad just needs to get a nano sim from eBay and call verizon to do the sim swap with the same IMEI

    2- it is now Verizon's turn to experience BYOD. They are very new to the GSM world. For some reason they learn very slowly. They're deactivating SIM cards that were cancelled after 5 months meanwhile with an AT&T iPad you can use the sim right away. Other examples too that are irrelevant to ipad.

    AT&T does populate BYOD IMEIs in their system so that nobody's data plans get messed up. They at least do that with IMEIs in this country. With the verizon iphone 5s they recognized it as an iPhone 5S about 3 weeks after it came out.

    Verizon is going to need to recognize these IMEIs sooner or later - if they want to learn how to do this the right way. It's only a matter of time.

    Again this applies to brand new activations only. Any existing activated nano sim - just pop it right in and it works

    Another solution to avoid customer care is to just get a nano sim from eBay, go to a local best buy or apple store or any store that has iPads for display. Target the cellular data iPads. If there is no sim in it, go to settings - general - about and look for a verizon wireless version under the carrier name section. Once you find your verizon ipad pop in your SIM card and activate the service. To manage your account and add/change your data plan, you can just use the "view account" section in your AT&T ipad. I already tested that and it worked.
  22. djwindsor macrumors newbie

    Aug 4, 2009
    If you think about it, it's cheaper for Apple just to have all the cellular units the same. I can't imagine what would be involved if they had to tweak each model for a specific carrier. Thanks for providing the info. Now folks with cellular iPads can change carriers with relative ease.
  23. holycowe macrumors member

    Sep 28, 2010
    All new ipad airs with cellular are unlocked both CDMA and gsm carriers.
    Last year model (I have ipad mini AT&T). It's unlocked but only gsm carriers, not working with CDMA.
  24. rui no onna macrumors 603

    rui no onna

    Oct 25, 2013
    All iPad 3/4/Mini were unlocked (at least in the US). Problem is they use different hardware versions for AT&T and Sprint/Verizon. You can use the iPad 3/4/Mini CDMA with AT&T HSPA and T-Mobile Edge (3G was on AWS 1700) but the LTE bands weren't supported. Since the iPad 3/4/Mini GSM had no CDMA hardware and didn't support the LTE band Sprint and Verizon uses, obviously it can't be used with Sprint or Verizon.
  25. e-coli macrumors 68000


    Jul 27, 2002
    Did you previously have an iPad on your Verizon account? I mean any iPad, even an older one.

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