unlocked phone -- which one to get?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by ghanwani, Sep 21, 2013.

  1. ghanwani macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2008
    #1
    From Apple's website there are 5 different models, 2 CDMA+GSM, and 3 that are only GSM.

    When you buy unlocked for a specific carrier (AT&T, T-Mobile), which do you get?

    Is it possible to get any of the models below unlocked, or are the unlocked ones restricted to the GSM ones only?

    Which would be the most flexible one to get?

    ===

    Model A1533 (GSM)*: UMTS/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA (850, 900, 1700/2100, 1900, 2100 MHz); GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz); LTE (Bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 13, 17, 19, 20, 25)
    Model A1533 (CDMA)*: CDMA EV-DO Rev. A and Rev. B (800, 1700/2100, 1900, 2100 MHz); UMTS/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA (850, 900, 1700/2100, 1900, 2100 MHz); GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz); LTE (Bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 13, 17, 19, 20, 25)
    Model A1453*: CDMA EV-DO Rev. A and Rev. B (800, 1700/2100, 1900, 2100 MHz); UMTS/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA (850, 900, 1700/2100, 1900, 2100 MHz); GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz); LTE (Bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26)
    Model A1457*: UMTS/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA (850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz); GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz); LTE (Bands 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 8, 20)
    Model A1530*: UMTS/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA (850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz); GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz); FDD-LTE (Bands 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 8, 20); TD-LTE (Bands 38, 39, 40)
     
  2. Coleman2010 macrumors 68000

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    Oct 9, 2010
    Location:
    NYC
    #2
    It depends where you plan to use it.

    The AT&T no contract device only purchase and T-Mobile version from the apple store is the exact same model. Buy either full price and it's unlocked.
     
  3. ghanwani thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Dec 8, 2008
    #3
    I plan to use it primarily in the US, would like the ability to switch carriers with preferable no loss of function, including CDMA ones, if possible, otherwise I prefer GSM, because I will also use the phone internationally (many different countries, but only a few days).

    Do you know what the model number is for the unlocked AT&T & T-Mobile phone?
     
  4. cnotes2019 Suspended

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    Aug 17, 2013
    #4
    1553 is the sprint version. 1533 is the AT&T tmobile Verizon version which is unlocked. Buying from Verizon would be the most flexible as it can be used on Verizon tmobile and AT&T among others. Buying from AT&T and tmobile you can use it only on gsm carriers I believe although I could be wrong (anyone else can chime in on this ). Sprints Verizon is locked.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk 2
     
  5. Truefan31 macrumors 68040

    Truefan31

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    Aug 25, 2012
    #5
    So my understanding is that the verizon 5s has all the bands, including CDMA and gsm bands, while the gsm unlocked ones only have the gsm bands then? So would it be beneficial to buy the verizon iPhone 5s full price unlocked so it can be used on every carrier in the us (cept sprint)? Like I buy the verizon 5s unlocked but will still get all the bands on AT&T and tmobile?
     
  6. cnotes2019 Suspended

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    Aug 17, 2013
    #6
    If you mean should you buy it at full retail price or on contract, either way will still work. All recent Verizon lte phones are factory unlocked already so you will be able to use it on those respective services out the box.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk 2
     
  7. Col Ronson macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 7, 2008
    #7
    Errr, i would err on the side of caution. if you buy a phone full price at the apple store, buy it device only, unlock it thru iTunes before you tie that IMEI to any service plan.
     
  8. cnotes2019 Suspended

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    Aug 17, 2013
    #8
    I have done this and so have others on this very forum so there's no need to errrr or arrrr on anything.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk 2
     
  9. Col Ronson macrumors 6502a

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    #9
    you don't have to be a sarcastic ass. I wasn't talking about the Verizon one. Everybody knows its SIM unlocked. I was talking about the ATT phone. If you buy it at full price and then tie it to a contract, it wont unlock in iTunes.
     
  10. CEmajr macrumors 601

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    #10
    The Verizon/AT&T/T-Mobile ones all have the same bands. The only thing is that Verizon won't allow a device on its network that was not specifically made for its network
     
  11. cnotes2019 Suspended

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    Aug 17, 2013
    #11
    If you comprehend reading the poster above was talking about VERIZON iPhone 5s and if you are not a douche you would also be able to read other forum members on here who have bought both TMOBILE and AT&T on and off contract and they both got unlocked via iTunes. Duh


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk 2
     
  12. Gooberton macrumors 65816

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    Jun 20, 2010
    #12
    I can confirm I bought verizon one on contract and it works perfect with my att sim and LTE, I guess ill just cancel the contract tommorrow and pay the etf
     
  13. tharepairguy macrumors member

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    #13
    The Verizon one seems like its the most flexible with the CDMA radio being enabled and the ability to use Verizon if need be...
     
  14. Truefan31 macrumors 68040

    Truefan31

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    Aug 25, 2012
    #14
    unlocked phone -- which one to get?

    I might do that then too. Buy a verizon 32 gb for 299, cancel after 14 days, pay 350 etf, throw tmobile sim or AT&T sim in it. No contract.

    Do I have to pay the etf first before putting another service on it? And I can cancel verizon after 14 days right?
     
  15. Coleman2010 macrumors 68000

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    #15
    You can buy a Verizon no contract device only iPhone from the Apple store. It will work with Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile and international GSM carriers.
     
  16. Truefan31 macrumors 68040

    Truefan31

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    Aug 25, 2012
    #16
    But it's cheaper to buy a verizon iPhone 5s on contract then cancel and pay etf right?

    299 32 gb iPhone 5s
    350 etf

    650 vs 750
     
  17. tharepairguy macrumors member

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    #17
    You have to figure in activation fee + service for how ever long. You might be able to get one or both fee's waived though...
     
  18. ghanwani thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #18
    So what's the point of Apple making GSM-only phones?
     
  19. Truefan31 macrumors 68040

    Truefan31

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    Aug 25, 2012
    #19
    So I buy the 32 gb 5s for 299, 15 days I cancel prorated on the basic 40 dollar plan would be about 20. Get them to waive the activation too. Pay the 350 etf still get it cheaper than 750.

    Do I need to pay the etf off first before putting it on AT&T or tmobile, or I can do it any time?
     
  20. Coleman2010 macrumors 68000

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    #20
    They don't anymore. The Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile versions are the same model. But Verizon will not activate an iPhone on their network purchased from another carrier.
     
  21. JodyK macrumors 6502a

    JodyK

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  22. BruiserB macrumors 65816

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    Aug 9, 2008
    #22
    Can anyone confirm that you CAN do simultaneous voice and data with a VZ 5s?

    I'm thinking the limitation is with VZ, but not the phone itself. If I use a T-mo or ATT SIM card, can I still get voice/data simultaneously?
     
  23. legioxi macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2013
    #23
    Yes you can.

    However the limitation is with the phone when used on CDMA networks. For voice and data on CDMA you need another antenna which the iPhone does not provide. Other phones do. Issue is with the phone but only on CDMA networks.
     
  24. khhntz macrumors member

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    Jun 21, 2010
    Location:
    California
    #24
    Not sure I have seen the "step-by-step" of activating an unlocked iPhone, be it AT&T or T-Mobile, after purchase. Could those have done it describe the steps? I don't want to screw up and have it locked. That said, do the steps look something like the following?

    1. Take the sim card that came with the phone out
    2. Put your current sim card in the phone
    3. Connect to iTunes
    4. Perform a restore
    5. Wait for the "unlocked" message

    Is there any step missing or incorrect? Thanks.

    ----------

    I don't see the point of buying Verizon version of unlocked phone if you don't already have Verizon. If I had Verizon and want to let someone in my family to use it on AT&T or T-Mobile, or if I travel outside of the U.S., then I see the benefit of it. However, everyone in my family has AT&T so paying full price on a Verizon really doesn't make sense versus AT&T or T-Mobile versions. On the other hand, all being at the same price, I guess you do get the sense of getting "more" out of Verizon version. Just thinking out load.
     
  25. Coleman2010 macrumors 68000

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    Oct 9, 2010
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    NYC
    #25
    When you connect to iTunes you're activating the phone. I unboxed mine and removed the SIM card, plugged it into iTunes and turned it on, then got the unlock message. Then I inserted a few different SIM cards to test it was unlocked.

    You really don't have to wipe reload the firmware. People do this if they don't see the unlock message. By wipe reloading the firmware it resets the iPhone back to factory default and it displays the unlock message again.

    I think people are choosing the Verizon version for flexibility. If in the future they decide to switch carriers or if they sell their iPhone there is the option of using it with Verizon.
     

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