So what makes it impossible for an Unlocked Sprint iPhone 4S to go on Verizon?

Johnny Steps

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jun 29, 2011
472
251
I saw some Verizon Android phone, I think the Razr, and it had a sim card? I don't understand. And if not Verizon, why can't I go to AT&T and they give me a sim card to use?

It seems more difficult than it should be. But then again there must be some TECHNICAL reason for all this huh..? >_>
 

Intell

macrumors P6
Jan 24, 2010
18,897
407
Inside
The Razr is an LTE phone. LTE uses SIM cards. Verizon will not allow a Sprint iPhone in to their network because they won't add its unique number to its database of allowed phones.
 

Johnny Steps

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jun 29, 2011
472
251
That's it? Wow. No wonder the UK is better at this >_>

And let me guess, even though AT&T uses SIM cards and the iPhone 4S can use GSM... they won't sell you a plan because....?
 

Intell

macrumors P6
Jan 24, 2010
18,897
407
Inside
It's that way because of the CDMA technology. AT&T and other GSM carriers has non-roaming agreements with Verizon and other CDMA carriers to prevent local phones from roaming on another local network that uses a different technology. It's a hold over from the 90's.
 

Nermal

Moderator
Staff member
Dec 7, 2002
18,802
1,257
New Zealand
There's some explanation here (section 3). That particular document is from Telecom NZ but I expect that Verizon and Sprint have similar reasons (particularly the part about SPC).
 

alex2792

macrumors 6502a
Jun 13, 2009
798
2,228
The carrier won't activate it on their network. There aren't any technical limitations involved here
 

cynics

macrumors G4
Jan 8, 2012
11,554
1,873
Ya, the verizon 4s has a sim and can be unlocked for international use on gsm networks. They won't let you use it with other local carriers. Agreements and such...
 

alphaod

macrumors Core
Feb 9, 2008
22,173
1,216
NYC
And let me guess, even though AT&T uses SIM cards and the iPhone 4S can use GSM... they won't sell you a plan because....?
AT&T will sell you whatever plan you want; they are just giving a SIM card. You sign contracts to get subsidized phones. If you do not want a subsidized phone, you just get a plan and a SIM card activated. It's up to you what phone you want to use.
 

scaredpoet

macrumors 604
Apr 6, 2007
6,627
342
And let me guess, even though AT&T uses SIM cards and the iPhone 4S can use GSM... they won't sell you a plan because....?
AT&T most certainly will sell you a plan if you bring them an unlocked iPhone 4S. You can buy an unlocked iPhone from Apple, and no questions asked, AT&T will gladly activate it. They recognize that getting revenue on a phone they didn't pay a subsidy for is a good thing.

However, if you bought an iPhone 4S from Sprint or Verizon, they will not unlock it for AT&T. They will only modify the subsidy lock so that outside-of-US carriers's SIM cards will work, but not domestic ones.

So again, it falls on Verizon/Sprint.

Granted, AT&T has their own nastiness. They apparently won't unlock any iPhone they've subsidized, under any circumstances.
 

Applejuiced

macrumors Westmere
Apr 16, 2008
40,672
6,532
At the iPhone hacks section.
I saw some Verizon Android phone, I think the Razr, and it had a sim card? I don't understand. And if not Verizon, why can't I go to AT&T and they give me a sim card to use?

It seems more difficult than it should be. But then again there must be some TECHNICAL reason for all this huh..? >_>
What makes it not possible is Verizon will not activate it on their network cause its a Sprint phone and viceversa.
And also since its a sprint iphone it cannot be used in the US with any GSM simcards even if its unlocked for international use.
I guess those are the BS agreements and restriction Apple and Carriers set in place in the US to make our life more difficult and even though the 4S its a true world phone we cannot use it as such.
 

cynics

macrumors G4
Jan 8, 2012
11,554
1,873
What makes it not possible is Verizon will not activate it on their network cause its a Sprint phone and viceversa.
And also since its a sprint iphone it cannot be used in the US with any GSM simcards even if its unlocked for international use.
I guess those are the BS agreements and restriction Apple and Carriers set in place in the US to make our life more difficult and even though the 4S its a true world phone we cannot use it as such.
Again Verizon and sprint 4s's are global phones and can be used on gsm networks internationally.

That's the beauty of the Qualcomm quad band chip. Just pop in a new sim and boom. Once you have Verizon unlock it of course (free).
 

scaredpoet

macrumors 604
Apr 6, 2007
6,627
342
Again Verizon and sprint 4s's are global phones and can be used on gsm networks internationally.
They are global phones in the technical sense of the word, but due to policies put in place by the carriers, they are software-modified to no longer be such. The modifications downgrade them from a true global phone to merely being international-capable phones that are otherwise locked to their respective carriers.
 

cynics

macrumors G4
Jan 8, 2012
11,554
1,873
They are global phones in the technical sense of the word, but due to policies put in place by the carriers, they are software-modified to no longer be such. The modifications downgrade them from a true global phone to merely being international-capable phones that are otherwise locked to their respective carriers.
I'm probably just not following you. My sister and parents are in India using their Verizon iPhones to call family. They have both gsm and CDMA there but I'm pretty sure they are using gsm sims.
 

Applejuiced

macrumors Westmere
Apr 16, 2008
40,672
6,532
At the iPhone hacks section.
Again Verizon and sprint 4s's are global phones and can be used on gsm networks internationally.

That's the beauty of the Qualcomm quad band chip. Just pop in a new sim and boom. Once you have Verizon unlock it of course (free).
Yes, global phones but even if you buy it factory unlocked you cant use it in the US on a CDMA carrier and a few months later switch it to Tmobile for example.
Its a great start but they didnt go all the way with it. Probably cause US CDMA carrier will just not activate it on their network.

They are global phones in the technical sense of the word, but due to policies put in place by the carriers, they are software-modified to no longer be such. The modifications downgrade them from a true global phone to merely being international-capable phones that are otherwise locked to their respective carriers.
Exactly.
 

Mikesus

macrumors 6502
Apr 7, 2011
255
1
actually you *might* be able to get it activated on one of their MVNO's like PagePlus. HOWEVER, you do NOT want to try to use data on it (their plans include 20mb!! )
 

Kyotoma

macrumors 68000
Nov 11, 2010
1,996
46
Carnegie and Ontario
Yes, global phones but even if you buy it factory unlocked you cant use it in the US on a CDMA carrier and a few months later switch it to Tmobile for example.
Its a great start but they didnt go all the way with it. Probably cause US CDMA carrier will just not activate it on their network.
Factory Unlocked iPhones will not work on any CDMA carrier. Period. Apple spells this out on their website.
 

DerekRod

macrumors 6502a
Jan 18, 2012
820
0
NY
Factory Unlocked iPhones will not work on any CDMA carrier. Period. Apple spells this out on their website.
Upon activation the unlocked iPhone has its CDMA radio killed whether a hack can activate it is yet to be seen.But my old VZW iPhone 4 is now on sprint so they do accept the iPhone you just need to sweet talk and boohoo em a bit.
 

aneftp

macrumors 601
Jul 28, 2007
4,293
487
It's just pure greed on Verizon and Sprint.

A few years ago when iPhone 3G was locked to AT&T in the USA. Both Verizon and sprint promised to provide "unlocked CDMA " phones.


Yep. It's 2012 and Verizon and sprint never made good on that promised.

In the USA some Verizon phones can be flashed to work on Metro PCS a CDMA carrier that's much less expensive.

So it's not a technical problem activating the Verizon iPhones or other CDMA networks. It's just greed.
 

Applejuiced

macrumors Westmere
Apr 16, 2008
40,672
6,532
At the iPhone hacks section.
Upon activation the unlocked iPhone has its CDMA radio killed whether a hack can activate it is yet to be seen.But my old VZW iPhone 4 is now on sprint so they do accept the iPhone you just need to sweet talk and boohoo em a bit.
A hack will still not make verizon or sprint add its esn to their database and allow it on their network.
If its not sold by them for their network they dont have to allow it to activate and be used.
 

kalex

macrumors 65816
Oct 1, 2007
1,330
56
It's just pure greed on Verizon and Sprint.

A few years ago when iPhone 3G was locked to AT&T in the USA. Both Verizon and sprint promised to provide "unlocked CDMA " phones.


Yep. It's 2012 and Verizon and sprint never made good on that promised.

In the USA some Verizon phones can be flashed to work on Metro PCS a CDMA carrier that's much less expensive.

So it's not a technical problem activating the Verizon iPhones or other CDMA networks. It's just greed.
Yes just greed. no technical reason what so ever. I remember a while ago when Treo 650 just came out and was sprint exclusive I was able to get verizon to add it to my account because those ESNs showed up as some old verizon phone.

So basically unless you have a way of adding ESNs to verizon or sprint database you won't be able to activate the phone. There are reps that do it but its very hard to get them to do it and chances are slim.

There is also no reason whatsoever for not being able to use CDMA version of 4s on TMO and ATT. Only reason is an artificial one where carriers basically went to apple and asked them to block those GSM networks from being usable.
 

DerekRod

macrumors 6502a
Jan 18, 2012
820
0
NY
A hack will still not make verizon or sprint add its esn to their database and allow it on their network.
If its not sold by them for their network they dont have to allow it to activate and be used.
Understood sir but alas my brother was able to activate a VZW ip4 on the sprint network they just had to add the ESN to the database which they did
 

Kblakeshot

macrumors member
Apr 2, 2008
87
2
Indiana
This should be the question that is posted on this site instead of the weekly Verizon/Sprint/International/Blah blah thread.


When an unlock comes out for the iPhone 4S (not just the international sim unlock, but a true unlock) will you then be able to use a Verizon/Sprint iPhone 4S on AT&T & T-Mobile?
 
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