Why is the iPhone "LOCKED" in certain countries?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by Jon-Luke, Dec 18, 2009.

  1. Jon-Luke macrumors 6502

    Jon-Luke

    Joined:
    May 22, 2009
    Location:
    Cape Town
    #1
    Here in South Africa one service provider (Vodacom) is the only provider that supplies iPhones, but these phones are not "Locked" (Network specific) and they work just fine on any of the networks here (MTN, Virgin, Cell-C...) I have even spent time in Neighboring Namibia and successfully used my iPhone on the Namibian MTC Network using their pay-as-you-go service...

    So why are iPhones in some territories locked to specific providers (ie. AT&T) and not in others? There is talk of iPhone becoming available on the Verizon network in the US and that the Verizon network is "Ready" for the iPhone... What does this mean? If a tiny cellphone network in Namibia can handle the iPhone then why shouldn't Verizon be able to?

    I also don't understand how it can help Apple to have their product tied to specific networks, no other brand of cellphone does this... Could someone please explain. :confused:
     
  2. mikes63737 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2005
    #2
    Verizon and AT&T use different types of cell networks. Right now, all iPhones are GSM. This means that it is impossible for it to be used on Verizon even if it was unlocked.

    In the United States, almost every cell phone is locked to a certain carrier. You have to specifically buy an unlocked cell phone from one of few stores, or look online.
     
  3. Michael CM1 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2008
    #3
    The phones are locked because carriers pay a lot of money to have an exclusive device. This happens a lot, but it's just more prominent with the iPhone because so many people want one. Go find a BlackBerry Storm on AT&T -- you can't.

    The other poster is right about the different types of networks. Verizon and Sprint use a different type from T-Mobile and AT&T, so it would take more than unlocking to use an iPhone on Verizon. Most of the rest of the world uses the GSM that AT&T and T-Mobile use, which is why I don't put too much stock in a Verizon iPhone before 4G is in a lot of places. The 4G networks will be compatible, so the same device could be on all of them here in the US.
     
  4. Jon-Luke thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jon-Luke

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    May 22, 2009
    Location:
    Cape Town
    #4
    Wow - news to me... so what kind of technology does Verzion use to run their mobile network? Is it better or worse than GSM?
     
  5. Applejuiced macrumors Westmere

    Applejuiced

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    Location:
    At the iPhone hacks section.
    #5
    They lock them to a specific carrier in order to make more
    money thru exclusive agreements.
     
  6. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2004
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    #6
    CDMA, and it's worse than GSM.

    CDMA doesn't use SIM cards, so you can't rapidly switch from one phone to another like you can with GSM. CDMA doesn't allow you to simultaneously talk on the phone and use data. And very few countries besides the US use CDMA, so you can't use your phone in many places around the world. A CDMA phone will not work in Europe, whereas with a GSM phone, it'll work in nearly every country. And the selection of CDMA phones is extremely limited, and there's no concept of unlocked CDMA phones. If you're with a CDMA carrier and want a new phone, you have to buy one from them, you can't just go out and buy an unlocked phone like you can with GSM.
     
  7. Applejuiced macrumors Westmere

    Applejuiced

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    Location:
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    #7
    Wait for "kdarling", he will explain to you how Verizon is always better :D
     
  8. gloss macrumors 601

    gloss

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    #8
    The technology is inferior, but the coverage and availability is much better than AT&T's awful 3G network.
     
  9. Applejuiced macrumors Westmere

    Applejuiced

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    #9
    Great 3G network in my area. Obviously depends on the location.
     
  10. Mlrollin91 macrumors G4

    Mlrollin91

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    Nov 20, 2008
    Location:
    Ventura County
    #10
    Same here, never have problems, have had only 1 dropped call in over 1 year of service between my 3G and 3GS. No complaints here.
     
  11. thelatinist macrumors 603

    thelatinist

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    Aug 15, 2009
    Location:
    Connecticut, USA
    #11
    CDMA2000 is not an inferior technology in terms of voice calls. In fact, it is far more efficient with bandwidth than GSM's TDMA, resulting in better call quality and less degradation in congested areas. Nor is EVDO particularly inferior to current implementations of HSPA. The only real issue is that EVDO and CDMA use the same frequencies, and therefore cannot be used simultaneously on the same phone.
     
  12. dcmike macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2009
    Location:
    DC
    #12
    Where are they sold legally unlocked? I'd like to get one but would love to find one for cheaper than the $1K they go for here in Russia.
     
  13. thegoldenmackid macrumors 604

    thegoldenmackid

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2006
    Location:
    dallas, texas
    #13
    This thread is "interesting." Locking is the way that Apple preferred to start because they made much more upfront money through Exclusivity Agreements. In some countries, it's not so legal.
     
  14. Jon-Luke thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jon-Luke

    Joined:
    May 22, 2009
    Location:
    Cape Town
    #14
    Here's the official list from apple on which carriers are locked and which are not: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1937

    I've been with Vodacom for about 12 years and they have never locked their phones... I was very glad when they brought out the iPhone and was quite surprised that they kept it unlocked. I would think that it would be in Apple's interest not to allow their phones to be locked... But I can understand why carriers would want that ability.
     
  15. dcmike macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2009
    Location:
    DC
    #15
    Thanks Jon-Luke! It looks like I'm looking at $1K for a 32gb GS anywhere I look, so maybe I should just but here....if I decide I want to plop down $1K for a phone :)
     
  16. cjmillsnun macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2009
    #16
    3G phones unless in EDGE/GSM mode don't use TDMA for voice. Remember GSM is a 2G technology, CDMA2000 is a 3G so yes of course it is more efficient.

    However CDMA networks have inferior multiplexing that UMTS networks. This is why they cannot mix voice and data. The frequency spectrum is quite similar on both types of networks. With a better multiplex, CDMA *could* achieve Voice/Data on the same handset at the same time. The problem with this is that every phone and data card would have to be replaced. That kinda makes it too expensive to be doable.
     

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