VZW won't let me unlock my out-of-contract iPhone

SHNXX

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Oct 2, 2013
1,835
629
Hello folks

I bought the iPhone 5 ages ago and the thing is nearly a piece of junk (battery life sucks and it freezes up occasionally).

Because I'm not in the country, I had someone call VZW to cancel my phone account and ask them to unlock it.
Unfortunately, she was told that they cannot unlock it:

"They told me that it can't be used with another carrier unless it's outside of the US and then you'd have to talk to that carrier"

What the ****???
How is it possible that they won't unlock my iPhone that is now out of contract and I was with them for two years?
 

Cozmosis

macrumors member
Mar 2, 2011
77
16
Baltimore, MD
Hello folks

I bought the iPhone 5 ages ago and the thing is nearly a piece of junk (battery life sucks and it freezes up occasionally).

Because I'm not in the country, I had someone call VZW to cancel my phone account and ask them to unlock it.
Unfortunately, she was told that they cannot unlock it:

"They told me that it can't be used with another carrier unless it's outside of the US and then you'd have to talk to that carrier"

What the ****???
How is it possible that they won't unlock my iPhone that is now out of contract and I was with them for two years?
The iPhone 5 is already unlocked from Verizon.
 

Sparkeze

macrumors 6502a
Sep 18, 2014
886
18
Indiana
Hello folks

I bought the iPhone 5 ages ago and the thing is nearly a piece of junk (battery life sucks and it freezes up occasionally).

Because I'm not in the country, I had someone call VZW to cancel my phone account and ask them to unlock it.
Unfortunately, she was told that they cannot unlock it:

"They told me that it can't be used with another carrier unless it's outside of the US and then you'd have to talk to that carrier"

What the ****???
How is it possible that they won't unlock my iPhone that is now out of contract and I was with them for two years?
Yeah, you don't have to do anything. I switched to tmobile in January and they activated it at the store and ported my number, then Verizon sent ETF bill a couple weeks later so I wasn't even out of contract at the time.
 

SHNXX

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Oct 2, 2013
1,835
629
oh wow that is great.

so I guess I should be able to use this phone in china?
 

Sparkeze

macrumors 6502a
Sep 18, 2014
886
18
Indiana
Just FYI, using a Verizon 5 sucks on tmobile and Verizon is cdma and tmobile gsm so...you might want to check that out
 

Sparkeze

macrumors 6502a
Sep 18, 2014
886
18
Indiana
It's basically worthless off wifi. Luckily I'm almost always on wifi. I knew it wouldn't get LTE on tmobile but I did not expect E all the time. I think there's a way to check via model number which iPhones will work with what carrier internationally
 

anonymous82

macrumors member
Sep 18, 2014
47
0
I was able to use my Verizon iPhone 5 in Vietnam 2 years ago, so I guess you can use it in China with any GSM carrier. Verizon iPhone since the 5 are factory unlocked by default. It can be used with other carrier in the US, except Sprint. Just check Apple website under the iPhone section and you will see the specs of all iPhone models.
 

SHNXX

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Oct 2, 2013
1,835
629
china has multiple carriers.

which bands does this verizon iPhone 5 have?
For that matter, if I buy the iPhone 6 from T-Mobile, which band does that one have for use in China?
 

KUguardgrl13

macrumors 68020
May 16, 2013
2,491
122
Kansas, USA
You just need to find a carrier that uses GSM and sells SIM cards. Unfortunately it looks like the major Chinese carriers like China Mobile use CDMA which is the part of Verizon iPhone 5's that are locked. There should be no reason why they wouldn't unlock it if your contract is up, and you're going abroad. I'd escalate to someone higher up.
 

SHNXX

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Oct 2, 2013
1,835
629
You just need to find a carrier that uses GSM and sells SIM cards. Unfortunately it looks like the major Chinese carriers like China Mobile use CDMA which is the part of Verizon iPhone 5's that are locked. There should be no reason why they wouldn't unlock it if your contract is up, and you're going abroad. I'd escalate to someone higher up.

So the only way to unlock CDMA is through verizon?
 

Sparkeze

macrumors 6502a
Sep 18, 2014
886
18
Indiana
"They told me that it can't be used with another carrier unless it's outside of the US and then you'd have to talk to that carrier"



What the ****???

How is it possible that they won't unlock my iPhone that is now out of contract and I was with them for two years?

But you're using it outside the U.S. so does it matter if it's unlocked?
 

rui no onna

macrumors G3
Oct 25, 2013
8,361
4,354
So the only way to unlock CDMA is through verizon?
They don't unlock CDMA but I'm not actually sure if it's even locked in the first place. Theoretically, you can use SIM with CDMA, too. It's just that Verizon and Sprint didn't use it until recently. I've heard reports of folks being able to use Verizon phones on Sprint with easygoing service reps who add the device's ESN to Sprint's whitelist so I don't think the phones are actually locked. I think it was just a matter of Sprint and Verizon not allowing "foreign" devices on their networks and it's not like their old CDMA phones could work on AT&T's or T-Mobile's GSM networks.
 

SHNXX

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Oct 2, 2013
1,835
629
But you're using it outside the U.S. so does it matter if it's unlocked?

I thought u can't use the phone with foreign carriers' SIM if the phone is locked?

sorry I don't really know how the locking to carriers works.

----------

This is actually important for iPhone 6 too because I will be buying 4 iphone 6 to use in China as soon as I'm back in the US but I don't want to do that if I cannot use the 4G (China has some weird TD LTE standard... Government bs regulation)
 

Sparkeze

macrumors 6502a
Sep 18, 2014
886
18
Indiana
Well this forum is full of people complaining that Chinese people are scalping iphone 6's and sending them back to China...so I'm guessing they work there
 

SHNXX

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Oct 2, 2013
1,835
629
Well this forum is full of people complaining that Chinese people are scalping iphone 6's and sending them back to China...so I'm guessing they work there

That's probably true but apparently people here still use 3G for the most part...
Chinese internet really really ****ing blows.
 

Sparkeze

macrumors 6502a
Sep 18, 2014
886
18
Indiana
That's probably true but apparently people here still use 3G for the most part...
Chinese internet really really ****ing blows.

If you're already there just take your 5 to a carrier and try to get it set up. And while you're there, ask if a US iphone 6 gets LTE through them.
 

accountforit

macrumors 6502a
Jan 22, 2014
676
0
Verizon plain sucks. Did you know that they can and will cancel your service without warning if you swear while on the phone with them? Yeah....if you swear. It's happened to two friends of mine. They act like they control you. I actually just switched to Verizon one week ago and have been contemplating leaving already due to horribly rude and arrogant customer service agents.
 

rui no onna

macrumors G3
Oct 25, 2013
8,361
4,354
This is actually important for iPhone 6 too because I will be buying 4 iphone 6 to use in China as soon as I'm back in the US but I don't want to do that if I cannot use the 4G (China has some weird TD LTE standard... Government bs regulation)
The currently available ATT/VZW/TMO iPhones don't support the TD-LTE bands. The Sprint version does but good luck getting Sprint to unlock that.
 

Applejuiced

macrumors Westmere
Apr 16, 2008
40,672
6,532
At the iPhone hacks section.
Verizon plain sucks. Did you know that they can and will cancel your service without warning if you swear while on the phone with them? Yeah....if you swear. It's happened to two friends of mine. They act like they control you. I actually just switched to Verizon one week ago and have been contemplating leaving already due to horribly rude and arrogant customer service agents.
Lol#
Really?
Just by swearing at a customer service rep?
 
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.