Carrier Sprint Users! READ! New Automatic Domestic Unlock Policy Change!

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by eyoungren, Sep 24, 2013.

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  1. eyoungren, Sep 24, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2015

    eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

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    #1
    IT'S OVER!!!! AS OF FEBRUARY 11, 2015 SPRINT UNLOCKS IPHONES! GET YOUR IPHONE UNLOCKED BY SPRINT!

    New unlock policy.

    Pertinent Parts:
    Note the following:
    Lastly, note that the iPhone 4, 4s and 5 are still excluded. And here is where Sprint goes wrong. Their chart notes that for the 4, 4s and 5 a Master Subsidy Lock code is available. Apple does not use MSL codes so this is irrelevant.

    March 5, 2015:
    Information for the iPhone 5 and below…
    FEBRUARY 19, 2015: User HarrisonTaylor reports that asking for an international unlock for an iPhone 5 is also resulting in a domestic unlock. Whether this is intentional or not remains to be seen, but if it is NOT intentional I would expect Sprint to patch it quickly. So if you have an iPhone 5 or an iPhone 4s that is paid off, call Sprint's international department and ask for an international unlock. You may get lucky and get a domestic unlock for your trouble as well.

    <<EVERYTHING BELOW THIS LINE IN THIS POST NO LONGER APPLIES AND IS PROVIDED FOR HISTORICAL REFERENCE ONLY>>

    February 4, 2015: CHANGE OF SPRINT UNLOCK POLICY!!!

    Automatic unlock of your device after ETF/contract commitment is met!

    See here: http://www.reddit.com/r/Sprint/comments/2ut91c/clarifying_ctia_and_sprints_unlock_policy/

    The details:

    THIS EXCLUDES THE IPHONE 4, 4S AND THE IPHONE 5. NONE OF THESE PHONES WILL GET A DOMESTIC UNLOCK. ONLY THE 5C, 5S, 6 AND 6+ AND ANY NEW MODEL OF IPHONE.


    With all the questions about Sprint unlocking, I thought I would add this here.

    IMPORTANT NOTE 1.31.2015: I am adding this here at the top to combat some recent misinformation that may be giving false hope to Sprint customers. It has already been noted in the thread a few times, but MSL codes are worthless.

    MSL codes are used by non-iPhones. You enter a reprogramming screen by inputting a certain number in the dial pad. The phone asks for the MSL code and you enter it. On non-iPhones you can then reprogram the phone, i.e., unlock it.

    But Apple does not use MSL codes. There is no physical way you can enter an MSL code and there is zero way you can reprogram an iPhone. Hence, the MSL codes that clueless Sprint CSRs are handing out are worthless to iPhone owners.

    The code, just for completeness is 000000. But, again, it's worthless to you. You cannot use it.

    Certain people over at the Sprint BAW forums are currently contributing to this false sense of hope out of ignorance about how the iPhone works. If anyone from there is guided to this thread then understand it is a false hope.

    Sprint iPhone 5 series (5/5s/5c) and iPhone 6 series (6/6+) come with a UICC SIM card. Unlike regular SIM cards these cards do NOT store data (contacts, etc.). The UICC card is encrypted and paired to your device. Without the card, you do NOT get LTE!-- REDACTED, 11/22/14.

    TO READ: The Sprint iPhone 5 contains a USIM card, NOTHING pertaining to your account or phone number is stored on this card and swapping another Sprint SIM will do nothing to the phone. You're stuck with it on your account until you call Sprint to remove it or swap another device.
    All LTE capable iPhones after the iPhone 5 contain a CSIM card that can be swapped into another Sprint iPhone(Provided it isn't a 4s or 5) and all of your account information as well as your phone number will be transferred to your new iPhone. The Sprint iPhone 5 SIM(SIMGLW406R) is NOT compatible with 5c/5s/6/6+ and will result in both an invalid SIM card error and no service. The Sprint iPhone 5c/5s/6/6+ SIM(SIMGLW416C) is fully compatible with the aforementioned models and can easily be swapped from another device without calling Sprint. You can also swap these iPhones in between Boost, Virgin, and Sprint just by changing the SIM.


    Edit: Information from HarrisonTaylor in post 215:

    There have been cases where AT&T/T-Mobile customers with defective iPhones have gotten their phone swapped out with a Sprint iPhone that was unlocked for domestic use. All you need to do is just insert your SIM and select Appalachian Wireless or Straight Talk as the carrier and your device will be unlocked domestically.

    Edit: Information from KPOM in post 237:

    According to someone on HoFo, Sprint will start to allow unlocked iPhones purchased from Apple onto their network. http://www.howardforums.com/showthread.php/1853289-Sprint-will-allow-unlocked-iphones-on-their-network

    November 23, 2014: 16:24 - Ugh, have to retract the earlier information. It's still a carrier agreement in February, 2015, not a law.

    November 23, 2014 - New information: The carrier agreement set to start in February 2015 has apparently been codified into law (see attached PDF).

    Further and this does not really apply to iPhones, but bears mentioning. The law only means unlocking. It's apparently against the DMCA to reprogram/reflash a phone, so even if you have a phone where Sprint's MSL code applies, your new carrier is NOT going to reprogram the phone for you.

    Lastly, Sprint defines phones as being covered by this new law as "developed and released" after February 11, 2015. That means the iPhone 6 and 6+ do not qualify as development of that phone was well before this date. I also imagine the iPhone 6s and 7 (if those are the model names) won't qualify either as development time generally tends to be a year in advance. We are probably looking at phones released in 2016 or later that truly get covered by this new law.

    Source: http://s4gru.com/index.php?/topic/6633-phone-unlocking-policy-discussion/?p=384942
    -- RETRACTED Nov. 23, 16:24.

    November 17, 2014 - It's recently come to my attention that neither Swift unlocks or Chronic have Sprint listed on their sites anymore. Sorry. Maybe sometime in the future, but I have no idea as I don't know anything about anything when it comes to unlock services.

    October 21, 2014 - Customer reports. Several customers have noted that the Sprint iPhone 6 and 6+ purchased full price at Apple stores have automatically come unlocked for international use. Domestic use is still locked however. It is suggested that to retain the international unlock, either activate the phone on an international SIM before ever inserting a Sprint SIM or insert an international SIM that has already been activated - again before ever using or inserting a Sprint SIM. This information is anecdotal so if you wish an international unlock and can test before making a final decision I would suggest doing so.

    October 8, 2014 - Some info as to how Sprint can unlock your iPhone for international use but still keep it locked for domestic use…
    Link: https://theiphonewiki.com/wiki/WildcardTicket

    Also, iPhone Unlock Guys (www.iphoneunlockguys.com) as an addition to getting an INTERNATIONAL only unlock. Useful only for those Sprint iPhone owners outside of the United States.

    August 18, 2014 - A user report from Sprint customer service. Apparently for an international unlock Sprint will unlock 1 phone per account per year. So, if you have more than one phone on the account, you may be out of luck. Note that this can be overriden apparently as the same user reported being able to get three phones international unlocked, all on the same line. As always with Sprint, your mileage may vary.

    July 2, 2014 – Just some additional things to add. It's recently come to my attention that chronicunlocks.com will unlock a Sprint iPhone for INTERNATIONAL use only. Now, if you are a US citizen looking to unlock your Sprint iPhone for domestic use this does not change anything at all and is useless to you. But if you are a non-US citizen looking to get your Sprint iPhone unlocked so you can use it in your home country then you might want to check out Chronic. Note that it's $159.99 and they are currently in a backlog. So, if this is legit then you are going to be waiting for it.

    Secondly, it seems that at least one person has managed to activate a non-Sprint iPhone on Sprint. It was an unlocked Verizon iPhone. I don't know how this happened, as it flys in the face of everything I understand about Sprint refusing to activate a non-Sprint phone, but there it is. If you are trying to get activated on Sprint's network with a non-Sprint phone, it may work. YMMV.

    June 18, 2014 - To clarify just exactly what pairing means when it relates to Sprint and SIM cards. The Sprint UICC SIM card has an ICCID (Integrated Circuit Card Identifier). Each SIM is internationally identified by its ICCID. ICCIDs are stored in the SIM cards and are also engraved or printed on the SIM card body during a process called personalisation. Sprint requires that the ICCID on the SIM card MATCH the MEID on the iPhone. If they DO NOT MATCH, you do NOT get service! This is what "pairing" the SIM card to your device means. And this is also how and why Sprint can make unlocking your iPhone for domestic use impossible.

    Sprint does NOT allow you to simply insert any SIM card you wish and go. If you lose your UICC SIM card you cannot simply replace it with a non Sprint one. The Sprint network checks for the pairing of the UICC SIM card and your device any time you connect to the network. Without this pairing you will not get LTE. Any replacement SIM card must be from a Sprint or Apple store because the new card must be paired to your device and only those stores can do that.

    Sprint will NOT unlock your iPhone for domestic use - EVER!
    International use only and you have to be a Sprint customer for 90 days and pay your bill on time.

    More information about the UICC SIM card here.

    EDIT MARCH 20, 2014: To include Sprint's unlock policy terms. You will note the following phrase: Please note that unlocking the SIM slot does not allow for use with domestic (U.S.) SIMs.

    EDIT APRIL 19, 2014: Note that the unlock policy page has been updated to include some new verbiage. Specifically, paragraph two now states: "Not all Sprint devices have an MSL Code or a locking function that can be unlocked by Sprint (e.g., Apple devices cannot be unlocked to accept another domestic carriers' SIM card). On certain devices, not all functionality may be unlocked (e.g., for some smartphone devices, Sprint may be able to unlock the CDMA/voice functionality of the device but unable to unlock the GSM/UMTS/LTE portion of the device). Even if unlocked, Sprint devices will not necessarily work on another carrier’s network."

    And the following updated paragraphs from the FAQs on the policy page:
    "I've been told by another carrier that Sprint needs to unlock my SIM slot in order to use my phone on the other carrier's network.
    For eligible devices, Sprint will unlock the SIM slot, to the extent that a device SIM slot is capable of being unlocked. It is important to note that not all devices are capable of being unlocked, often because of the manufacturers' device designs, and that even for those devices capable of being unlocked, not all device functionality may be capable of being unlocked. Specifically, devices manufactured with a SIM slot within the past three years (including, but not limited to, all Apple iPhone devices), cannot be unlocked to accept a different domestic carrier's SIM for use on another domestic carrier's network. Sprint has no technological process available to do this. In accordance with Sprint's voluntary commitment contained within CTIA's Consumer Code for Wireless Service (“Unlocking Commitment”), Sprint is working to ensure that all devices developed and launched on or after February 11, 2015 are capable of being unlocked domestically.

    If my device is unlocked, does that mean I will be able to use it with a different carrier?
    Even if unlocked, Sprint devices will not necessarily work on another carrier’s network. Whether an unlocked Sprint device can be used on another carrier’s network is subject to that carrier’s policies and network compatibilities. Even if a different carrier will activate a Sprint device on its network, Sprint does not make any guarantees as to a Sprint device’s performance on another carrier’s network or that any or all device features or functionalities will be fully or partially operational. Although a phone manufacturer may manufacture the same device model and name for different wireless carriers offering wireless service in the United States, Sprint devices are specifically designed to function on Sprint’s network and Sprint’s frequencies and technologies."

    It now seems as if Sprint is trying to justify their unlock policy as a technical issue. Although, in the case of the Sprint iPhone 4 it does make sense. The Sprint iPhone 4 did not come with a SIM slot so it's impossible to unlock it even if Sprint wanted to.

    End of story. You CANNOT unlock for domestic use!

    ADDED PIC: Please note that you will probably have more luck with the proprietor of this fine unlock company than you ever will with Sprint!
     

    Attached Files:

  2. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #2
    So are you saying the Sprint iPhone 5 is physically different then the other carriers, i.e., can only handle one specific SIM card?
     
  3. eyoungren, Sep 24, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2013

    eyoungren thread starter macrumors P6

    eyoungren

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    #3
    You can operate a Sprint phone without the SIM card (it will be 3G only) because it's CDMA (or that is my understanding, it may not work without the UICC SIM card at all). But it is necessary to have a Sprint paired UICC SIM card in order to have LTE work on the handset. So, in a sense, yes, one specific SIM card because it's specific to that device.

    From what I am reading, the UICC SIM cards are an advance over the standard SIM. They are used both in GSM and CDMA networks. There are applications on the SIM card that run based on the network.

    In Sprint's case my guess is that this is how they lock down the phones. the CSIM application on the card would be programmed to only work on Sprint's network with the specific phone it's installed in (paired with). Additionally, as I mentioned Sprint is also not allowing contacts and phonebooks, etc on the SIM card itself. The encryption part I imagine comes in to play in that it protects the applications (probably the CSIM app) from being tampered wth.

    The last paragraph is my speculation based on what I Googled for.
     
  4. Gjwilly macrumors 68030

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    #4
    Isn't this what we've known from day one?
    The Sprint phone is for Sprint US and some Japanese carriers only?
     
  5. eyoungren, Sep 24, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2013

    eyoungren thread starter macrumors P6

    eyoungren

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    #5
    Yes. But this thread I started isn't for us. It's for the users who consistently come in here asking about unlocking their Sprint iPhone so they can use it on a different domestic carrier.

    Yesterday there were two threads on this alone. People just walk in, pay full price at a Sprint or Apple store and ASSUME that because they paid full price they have an unlocked iPhone they can take to any carrier when what they ACTUALLY have done is bought a Sprint iPhone for service on Sprint without a contract.
     
  6. aneftp macrumors 68040

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    #6
    This is why sprint phones in general have the absolute worst resell value.
     
  7. verwon macrumors 68030

    verwon

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    #7
    Thank you! There have been many people asking, I also answered someone about it, yesterday!

    Your post is a great idea!
     
  8. eyoungren thread starter macrumors P6

    eyoungren

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    #8
    You're welcome. I'm kind of getting tired of repeating myself. :D

    Maybe the mods will make this a sticky? Mods?

    ----------

    No argument from me there and I am a Sprint customer. Truly wish Sprint would change their policy.
     
  9. titans1127 macrumors 6502a

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    #9
    Just to make a complete clarification with all of this (I work as a tech in a Sprint retail store and was a sales rep prior to that):

    iPhone 4S: Can be activated without a SIM in the slot as the slot is only for international SIMs which has to be enabled by calling the international department and meeting certain criteria. Phone will work and connect to Sprint service on 3G with no SIM installed.

    iPhone 5, 5C and 5S: Must have a Sprint SIM installed in order for phone to activate and be used with Sprint 3G and LTE. If no SIM in installed in phone, it will show no service at all. Same deal as the 4S as far as international use goes.

    Of course, the iPhone 4 has no SIM slot and can be used domestically only with Sprint and cannot be unlocked

    Hope this clears up any confusion
     
  10. eyoungren thread starter macrumors P6

    eyoungren

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    #10
    Awesome! Thanks for the clarification!
     
  11. scaredpoet macrumors 604

    scaredpoet

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    #11
    Not exactly. It's physically the same, but Sprint has imposed software restrictions that enforce this limitation.

    You COULD probably jailbreak it and get it unlocked... IF a working jailbreak is found for iOS7 and the iPhone 5s. But the MEID of the device is permanently tied to Sprint's inventory, and so as long as one remains stock, they are subject to the restrictions Sprint places on the device in software.
     
  12. eyoungren thread starter macrumors P6

    eyoungren

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    #12
    My iPhone 5 is jailbroken. As far as I know there is still no way to unlock it domestically.
     
  13. Firocity macrumors member

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    #13
    What about if I resell my phone to someone on Craigslist next year, do they need to have their own SIM card or do I leave mine in the phone assuming I will receive a new one?
     
  14. eyoungren thread starter macrumors P6

    eyoungren

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    #14
    You leave the SIM in the phone. It's paired with that phone and it does not store any personal data. Taking it out of your phone and putting it into your new phone won't do anything because it wouldn't be paired with the new phone.

    Unlike AT&T and T-Mobile (and probably Verizon) Sprint phones are tied to the account and in this case the SIM card is tied to the phone.
     
  15. myMacRumors, Sep 24, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2013

    myMacRumors macrumors regular

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    #15
    The unlocked iPhone 4S (8GB storage launch on 9/20/2013 for $450 contract-free) will NOT work with CDMA carriers such as Verizon Wireless or Sprint.

    http://store.apple.com/us/buy-iphone/iphone4s
     
  16. eyoungren thread starter macrumors P6

    eyoungren

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    #16
    Cool, thanks for the info!
     
  17. titans1127 macrumors 6502a

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    #17
    That should be a given as the factory unlocked, full retail priced phones are always for GSM providers
     
  18. verwon macrumors 68030

    verwon

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    #18
    Just to add a detail…. and posts, as well as articles can be found to confirm this…

    The initial Sprint 4S pre-order and launch weekend phones were sold unlocked for international use. Many misunderstand this and think they are entirely unlocked, but that is not the case.

    They actually didn't intend to sell them unlocked, at all, but made an error and decided not to force a lock on those phones and risk angering customers.

    Thus, anyone that has the correct 4S from Sprint, doesn't need an unlock, they can just pop in an international SIM and go.

    I have one and it does work. :eek:
     
  19. MicroMacTosh macrumors member

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    #19
    What if you never activate it on Sprint at all ...

    Remove the Sprint card, add another SIM, then connect to iTunes and restore ... the method used to unlock full-priced "Device Only" AT&T iPhone 5s from the Apple store.

    Would that possibly unlock it ?
     
  20. verwon macrumors 68030

    verwon

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    #20
    It it was purchased as a Sprint device, it is already locked to Sprint, via the IMEI, regardless of whether or not it has been activated.
     
  21. drkita macrumors newbie

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    #21
    Sprint and Virgin Mobile swap

    I have seen my brother's iPhone 5s's. One from Sprint, one from Virgin Mobile.
    He can swap the UICC cards in the two phones, and move his phone number and service, form one to the other, as though they were unlocked.

    But I tried the same thing, only I have an Sprint iPhone 5 and a Virgin Mobile 5s and it did not work. The sprint iPhone 5 "remembers" my phone number, when I put in the Virgin mobile card. It still gets the signal, but it doesn't change the phone number. It remembers the old one.

    The Virgin mobile iphone 5s tells me it needs to be activated when I put in the Sprint UICC card. So it obviously detects the change, and won't even work.

    I don't understand how my brother's situation works. It isn't unlocked or anything.

    Any thoughts??
     
  22. blackberrycubed macrumors 6502

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  23. eyoungren thread starter macrumors P6

    eyoungren

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    #23
    There is one scenario that seems to be happening lately with regard to the 5c and 5s. If Apple does not have your Sprint model in stock there have been instances where to make the customer happy Apple substitutes an unlocked iPhone and per their iPhone agreement with Sprint forces Sprint to activate the phone. Since it's unlocked, the customer gets that benefit.

    If your brother had difficulty getting his 5s when he bought it this may be what happened.

    ----------

    Why do you assume I care?
     
  24. drkita macrumors newbie

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    #24
    I think he got it in the initial roll out, so probably supply was constrained.
    But my understanding with these CDMA phones were that the IMEI and UICC had to be paired in the system to be used on the network. So if an unlock is possible for a phone, the system doesn't care if the IMEI and UICC ID don't match?

    It was weird that my sprint iphone5 would get on the network with the virgin mobile UICC card, but it kept my old sprint phone number, and not the virgin phone number. That would suggest the network assigned the phone number to the IMEI and not the UICC.

    Do the IMEI factory unlock services work for virgin??
    I may try that if it does.
     
  25. eyoungren thread starter macrumors P6

    eyoungren

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    #25
    Sprint actually uses MEID, which is based off the IMEI. I don't really know a lot about this stuff and if I think too hard my head swims. But, the reason you can get an Apple unlocked iPhone activated on Sprint is because the IMEI of that iPhone is already in the unlock database when Apple tells Sprint to activate it. How Sprint activates it, I'm not exactly sure.

    Don't read too much in to the whole Virgin Mobile/Sprint thing. VM uses Sprint's network so there probably was not much of a difference here.
     
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