Unlocked questions

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by gsusser, Sep 9, 2016.

  1. gsusser macrumors regular

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    #1
    My last 2 purchases were unlocked phones, the last one the iPhone 6. I assumed, correctly or not, that an unlocked phone would work with any carrier. In any event, I never had a problem with a sim from a local carrier of the country I was in working. I live in the US.

    However, things seem to have changed. This was posted on this site yesterday...

    http://www.macrumors.com/2016/09/08/att-and-tmobile-iphone-7-models-lack-cdma/

    "A customer that purchases an iPhone 7 from Apple's website and selects AT&T as their carrier, for example, would be unable to later use the smartphone on Verizon, Sprint, or any other CDMA network, even if the device is unlocked. By comparison, all iPhone 6sand iPhone 6s Plus models worked on both GSM and CDMA networks."

    "A customer that purchases an iPhone 7 from Apple's website and selects Verizon as their carrier, on the other hand, would also be able to use the smartphone on AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, or any other GSM or CDMA network."

    When I went to choose a phone online this morning (9/9), there was not even an option for unlocked. You need to pick a carrier first.

    Can someone shed some light on this? The way I read this is that to work with any carrier in the world, I need to go with a Verizon phone or any CDMA carrier. The rep at Apple that I spoke with yesterday didn't know. I seemed to know as much as him, which is scary.
     
  2. ECAu macrumors newbie

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    #2
    The rumor is that this time they used different chip (Qualcomm vs Intel?)
    Therefore, the AT&T/T-mobile version will lack of the ability connecting to CDMA (Verizon/Sprint) network.

    And it sucks that you actually need a Verizon account to order unlocked Verizon phone....
     
  3. eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

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    #3
    There are only a handful of CDMA carriers left in the world.

    LTE, which is the current technology most American carriers support, is a GSM technology. Sprint and Verizon, although CDMA carriers, provide data on LTE, which is again a GSM technology. Voice on those carriers is handled by CDMA (1xRTT to be precise) although Verizon is increasingly deploying VoLTE (Voice Over LTE). Sprint won't be doing that for a few years yet.

    When you buy the carrier phone and pay full price you are buying the model that is specific to that carrier's frequencies with a few extra thrown in. Just because the phone is unlocked and you can use it on any carrier does not mean it will FUNCTION completely on the carrier you take it to.

    So, Apple offers the SIM-Free version of their iPhone (which is unlocked) which has the majority of the frequencies that ALL carriers use instead of just the handful that are specific to each carrier.

    But historically, Apple has only offered the SIM free version of the iPhone one to three months AFTER the initial release of the carrier specific models.

    It seems this year that Apple has decided to do away with the CDMA radios for the AT&T/T-Mobile version and that's entirely understandable when you realize that AT&T and T-Mobile are NOT CDMA carriers, they are GSM carriers.

    The difference between CDMA and GSM is how they recieve and transmit data.
     
  4. dagored macrumors 65816

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    #4
  5. gsusser thread starter macrumors regular

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    #5
    Thanks everyone, I think I get it.

    I want the iPhone 7, not the plus, and I think that would be A1660, not A1661.

    It seems my choices are either to wait a month or more for the sim-free version or buy a Verizon phone. Since I don't use Verizon as a carrier, I assume that would mean opening an account with them if I don't want to wait? If that's the case, I'll wait for sim-free.
     
  6. dagored macrumors 65816

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    #6
    Right A1660. I am willing to bet the if they have one in stock, Verizon would sell it to you. The "SIM" free version, is just the Verizon phone without the SIM.
     
  7. gsusser thread starter macrumors regular

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    #7
    One of my concerns about going with Verizon is an assumption that I'd have to port my number from T-Mobile. I have an account with a small company that uses T-Mobile's network. I can't be without my number for more than a few hours. If that's the case, Verizon would be too much of a hassle and I can wait. Unless my assumption is wrong.
     
  8. mrkramer macrumors 603

    mrkramer

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    #8
    If you are buying in store for full price you won't need an account. If they give you a hard time say that you are buying it as a gift for someone and don't have the account information. I don't know how it works for pre orders, but I think for online you have to have an account.
     
  9. dagored macrumors 65816

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    #9
    You buy the phone outright. No contract etc., if they will sell you one. Take out their SIM, put in your T-Mobile and turn on the phone. Good to go. Now go home and sync with your backup.
     
  10. gsusser thread starter macrumors regular

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    #10
    Haha. Thanks.
     
  11. gsusser thread starter macrumors regular

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    #11
    I went to one of the larger Verizon stores in the NYC and spoke with the manager. He insisted that I have to go online to order an unlocked phone and they couldn't accommodate me in the store. No answers the phone today - Verizon or Apple. Oh well. Patience I guess.
     
  12. Chatter macrumors 6502a

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    #12
    Every year someone foolish posts "no unlocked phones" and ends up confusing everyone. The thread you link to is one such example and I truly feel bad for customers like yourself that just want to buy a damn phone! So here is what you need to know.

    1. Walk into Apple store.
    2. Buy A Verizon or Tmobile or ATT phone and pay full price. You are on TMo so it doesnt matter.
    3. Walk out.

    You have to go in the Apple store or reserve one online when its available in store. Then start at step 1.

    There is no contract or account information needed. I have done this for the last 3 years. Do not go to the carrier store during pre-orders. Hope this helps.
     
  13. gsusser thread starter macrumors regular

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    #13
    Yes, that helps. I suppose I'll stop into an Apple store in a few days when things die down a bit. And I'm assuming I need to buy a Verizon phone to have more unlocked carriers available, not just the GSM network as discussed here.I have to think I can't be alone here and that there are many others that wanna do what I'm doing. Thanks!
     
  14. mrkramer macrumors 603

    mrkramer

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    #14
    Verizon might not want to sell it to you in one of their own stores without also selling service. But an Apple Store will do it.
     
  15. se1000 macrumors 6502

    se1000

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    #15
    Are you guys 100% sure about this? The Apple site now requires account verification for Verizon, Sprint and AT&T iPhones. Wonder if the policies in-store are the same.
     
  16. dagored macrumors 65816

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    #16
    As I said previously in another thread, if you wait about two weeks, you can go to an Apple store and pick up a Model A1661 or A1660 outright from Apple. You can not preorder it. I guess they are playing nice with the carriers.
     
  17. KPOM macrumors G5

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    #17
    Online sales always required account information except for the SIM-free versions. But if you walk into a store and say you want to buy a phone "device only" they will sell it to you. If you want the Apple Upgrade Program you do need to have an account with one of the 4 major carriers, though. I'm guessing the carriers negotiated this with Apple.
     
  18. mrkramer macrumors 603

    mrkramer

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    #18
    If they try to tell you you can't do it then just claim it is being purchased as a gift.
     
  19. se1000 macrumors 6502

    se1000

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    #19
    Well yeah obviously people can wait for the SIM free version
     
  20. bamafan33 macrumors newbie

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    Jun 15, 2009
    #20
    I preordered using the iPhone Upgrade program last night. The Apple site didn't have the phone I wanted when I selected ATT as my carrier so I selected Sprint and made my reservation for pickup at the Apple Store. Sounds like I'll be fine when I go pickup my phone after reading this. ATT is my current carrier. Are there any activation issues I should worry about?
     
  21. KPOM macrumors G5

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    #21
    Did you have to enter in any account information? Last year they needed my AT&T account information to sell me the phone. Granted, I wanted the AT&T version since it was the "best" one (supporting Band 30), but they may require Sprint information to sell you a Sprint model. Alternatively, you may just have to buy the Sprint phone outright rather than through the upgrade program if you want it during your reserved slot. They could also check to see if they have an "AT&T model" in the store when you pick it up.
     
  22. bamafan33 macrumors newbie

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    #22
    I didn't have to type in any ATT account information when making the reservation since it was though the iPhone upgrade program. I'm hoping I can just switch my sim card out of my old iPhone 6 and put it in the 7 and it will work. Hopefully someone has tried this before and can give us a definite answer.
     
  23. Chatter macrumors 6502a

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    #23
    If you are not on CDMA, it doesnt matter. But if you want to be safe, just buy the Verizon one and use TMo sim. Over the last 3 times, I have picked up one model of each - ATT, Verizon and Tmo to use with TMo. I just see which one is in stock and buy. And all in the first weekend!
     
  24. gsusser thread starter macrumors regular

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    #24
    I gotta tell you, Apple has some real problems in educating their salespeople. I would just walk into a store but I can't deal with hordes of people, anti-social me. Anyway, the conclusion I came to with the 3rd Apple salesperson that I spoke with on the phone, the other 2 having no clue, was basically what you said, that an A1660/61 should work with any carrier when bought outright. The one thing the could not answer is if my phone would work without activation from Verizon with a T-Mobile sim. I'll just wait until the crowds die down and venture into a store.
    Thanks for the very helpful info.
     
  25. ziggo macrumors 6502

    ziggo

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    #25
    Best Buy will sell you a Verizon iPhone outright. I know for sure as I work for them
     

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