unlocked iphone lock'd to carrier at activation?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by Joybulb, Oct 4, 2013.

  1. Joybulb macrumors regular

    Joybulb

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2011
    #1
    Is an ulocked iphone locked to the carrier you first activate it with?

    If i buy the 5c for the purpose of not being on contract with sprint for more than a year, will my phone then be locked to sprint forever because i first activated it with them?

    My wife is on contract for another year with sprint and we want to leave after that, but I want to get the 5c unlocked so I can use it on sprint and then move to verizon after 12 months(when her contract with sprint is up).

    Will this work, or does the first carrier you activate with put their "footprint" into the phone so that you can't use it anywhere else?

    I know sprint does this to phones you buy from them at the subsidized price, wasnt sure about the other way tho...:confused:
     
  2. satchow macrumors 6502

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  3. celly macrumors 6502

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    Calgary
    #3
    No. It's always tied to the SIM card of the carrier you're using at the time, but not "locked", hence the advantage of using an unlocked phone.
     
  4. Joybulb thread starter macrumors regular

    Joybulb

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2011
    #4
    I don't think sprint uses sim cards though? Or would they be forced to use a sim with an unlocked version, OR would they not activate an unlocked version because its GSM?
     
  5. Raibyn macrumors regular

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    South Carolina
    #5
    I didn't think the unlocked 5c worked with Sprint?
     
  6. FlyUnlock.com macrumors member

    FlyUnlock.com

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    Jul 2, 2013
    #6
    An unlocked phone is unlocked for all other carriers (SIM cards) including the original carrier. The phone would work with all carriers over the world as long as it has a compatible SIM card and other technical specs (band, GSM/CDMA), but that depends on the phones technology and not the lock/unlock.
     
  7. ajhard macrumors member

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    Sep 26, 2012
    #7
    This isn't quite the case in every market - in the UK for example if you buy a sim free unlocked iPhone from Apple it is truly unklocked, you can swap sims as much as you like. But if you buy sim free and unlocked from Carphone Warehouse - one of our big retailers, it will be unlocked until you put a sim in, then it locks to that network, and they need to unlock it if you want to put another network sim in it...just to keep us on our toes.

    I assume this is because some of the carriers like the phones to be locked and CPW don't want to manage separate stock.
     
  8. Raibyn macrumors regular

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    #8
    I am pretty sure that an unlocked iPhone will not work on Sprint. It will also not work on Verizon. In general, BYOD to a CDMA carrier (Sprint, Verizon) will not work. You will want to go with a GSM carrier like AT&T or T-Mobile for that.
     
  9. Joybulb thread starter macrumors regular

    Joybulb

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2011
    #9
    This being the likely case, could I walk into Verizon, buy a phone outright(unsibsidized) and bring it to sprint to use it for a yr then go to verizon later?
    I thought I heard that the Verizon phones come unlocked...
     
  10. Idefix macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2012
    #10
    The GSM side of the VZ iPhone comes unlocked, the VZ CDMA side is locked to VZ.

    Pretty sure you can't take a VZ phone to Sprint...
     
  11. d123 macrumors 68000

    d123

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    #11
    To be fair, CPW don't advertise the phone as unlocked and have quite a prominent warning that the phone will be locked to the first UK simcard, so it isn't marketed as an unlocked phone, merely one that has no sim included in the sale.
     
  12. Raibyn macrumors regular

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    #12
    Honestly, you might be better off just porting your Sprint number to Verizon now, getting the subsidized iPhone 5c, and paying what is left of your ETF to Sprint. That is if you are sure you want to go to Verizon and are OK with going on a 2-year contract with them. I personally would recommend you check out T-Mobile or a T-Mobile or AT&T MVNO like Straight Talk and rid yourself of contracts completely.
     
  13. takeshi74 macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2011
    #13
    The post you quoted said that this could not be done. VZW phones are unlocked but CDMA carriers will not activate devices from another CDMA carrier. They will only activate their own devices.
     
  14. Raibyn macrumors regular

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    #14
    This is correct. Another reason to steer clear of both Verizon and Sprint.
     
  15. Joybulb thread starter macrumors regular

    Joybulb

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    Sep 3, 2011
    #15
    I'm out of contract on sprint now. My only concern with getting an unlocked phone for a GSM network is that the data will be just as bad for me as sprint has. If that's the case, I might as well stay with sprint. In my area its seems to be the consensus that Verizon is the most reliable network.
     
  16. Raibyn macrumors regular

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    Sep 24, 2013
    Location:
    South Carolina
    #16
    I tried all four major carriers and Sprint had the slowest 3G network by far. I do a lot of traveling throughout the Southeast and up to the upper Midwest. Verizon does indeed have the largest LTE network, but AT&T is nipping at their heels now, plus it has a faster 3G (HSPA+) network as a fall back. T-Mobile is improving their coverage but has a ways to go. Sprint? They are way behind.
     
  17. Daveoc64 macrumors 601

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    #17
    The simple answer here is that CPW do not sell unlocked iPhones!
     
  18. TraceyS/FL macrumors 68040

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    Jan 11, 2007
    Location:
    North Central Florida
    #18
    A Verizon 5s/c will be locked to Verizon for the CDMA side, but unlocked for all GSM carriers in the US/World (ATT, T-Mo and the like).

    A SPrint 5s/c will be locked to Sprint for the CDMA side (they use a different sim card apparently than Verizon anyway), and then LOCKED for the domestic GSM carriers, but UNlocked for outside of the US.

    Everything I have read says that Sprint will not unlock the thing for you to take it elsewhere.

    Verizon cannot lock their 4G phones by law, it was a condition in their purchase of some spectrum.
     

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