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Sprint will not let me unlock my iPhone 4S because I'm not on contract


LiamBanks

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How can I unlock my iPhone 4S on Sprint?

 

 

I bought my iPhone 4S off contract to begin with and have been with them almost 10 years. I have been through several contracts and never missed a payment.

 

All I want to do is unlock my iPhone 4S so I can sell it and get the 5S (or whatever is next) when it comes out.

 

I called *2 from my phone and they told me to call the International Service Team at 1-888-226-7212 (They wouldn't even transfer me).

 

I called the number and they answered and said that they received an error and had to transfer me to an International Tech.

 

They transferred me and then I got a response "The subscriber is out of the the subscription area Error TX87152" and hung up on me.

 

I called back and spoke with another person and explained what happened and she said she could unlock it no problem.

 

Then... "I have to speak with my supervisor it's giving me an error code. Let me put you on hold."

 

10 minutes later...

 

"Okay, let me transfer you to the International Tech Team, I will make sure they are on the line before I disconnect with you."

 

Another 5 minutes later...

 

"Since you are not on a current 2 year contract we cannot unlock your phone. Sorry there is nothing we can do."

 

I don't understand why I am being punished for being a good customer and fulfilling my contract with them. If I had called earlier before my contract expired, there wouldn't be a problem. But now since my device is paid off and my contract is up there is nothing they can do.

 

Do I have any other options for unlocking my device?

 

----

 

Edit: Sprint gave me an unlock code, but apparently the code is useless.

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Your Sprint variant iPhone 4S is most accurately sold as a Sprint device. In that case, you do not need it to be unlocked.

 

AJ

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Your Sprint variant iPhone 4S is most accurately sold as a Sprint device. In that case, you do not need it to be unlocked.

 

AJ

 

How can I tell if my phone is unlocked? Is there a way to check?

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How can I tell if my phone is unlocked? Is there a way to check?

 

To sell it as a Sprint device, it does not need to be "unlocked." If your account is current and the handset has not been reported as lost/stoen, then it has a "clean" ESN.

 

AJ

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Most iPhone 4S phones on Sprint were supposed to be unlocked for other Sim Cards out of the box. Rumor had it that even domestic bands were unlocked as well. Try putting an at&t microsim into it and see what happens.

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How can I tell if my phone is unlocked? Is there a way to check?

 

If your restore your iPhone on iTunes you'll get a message on the screen that says "Congratulations, your iPhone has been unlocked." However, CDMA carriers like Sprint and Verizon have some tricky deals they've worked out with Apple to protect the iPhones that have been activated on their network from being used on other domestic carriers. (Side note, the iPhone 5 on Verizon ships factory unlocked, but that's only because of an FCC ruling they had to agree to when they acquired they 700 MHz licenses on which they use to broadcast their LTE).

 

An iPhone 4S that has been activated on Sprint (meaning the IMEI number is in Sprint's database) cannot be "unlocked" for domestic use - at least not currently. (For for the opposite reason, a 4s that is sold factory unlocked cannot be activated on Sprint or Verizon since the IMEI is not in their active database). The most they will do for you is unlock it for international use which will allow you to plug in a SIM from an international carrier - this actually works great when I've traveled to both Mexico and Canada and saved a boat load of "keesh". However, they will only perform the international unlock if the phone has been on an active contract for 90 days and the account is in good standing. If you search hard enough online you will find some vendors that will claim they can unlock it for domestic GSM carrier use (Tmobile / AT&T) and charge between $100 - $140, however for some reason Apple has even locked those guys out as of late (chronicunlocks.com for example).

 

You could re-activate the phone and call back to the international dept (888.226.7212 is the direct line) and with your 10 year history they should unlock it for international use, however I think you're out of luck for domestic use. You can still fetch a good rate online for a Sprint 4s, especially if its unlocked for international use and you open your shipping up to international.

 

Lastly (sorry for the long post), just for the record the 4s is capable of picking up US GSM carriers as I've used my Mexico sim from Telcel while in the US to test and I can choose from AT&T or Tmobile. However I would then be paying the roaming fees through Telcel to roam on the US carrier. My point is that the phone is "capable" of operating on the US carriers, it's just been locked out from being activated using a US SIM card by Apple and Sprint. (If you can't tell I've had some experience on this topic...)

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Most iPhone 4S phones on Sprint were supposed to be unlocked for other Sim Cards out of the box. Rumor had it that even domestic bands were unlocked as well. Try putting an at&t microsim into it and see what happens.

 

Negatory my friend, the 4s doesn't / didn't ship unlocked (even those devices released the first day they were available). After going through the Sprint international dept my 4s is unlocked for international use and I've been testing it using both AT&T and Tmobile sims that I have active on non-contract plans but to no avail.

 

If a mod is reviewing this thread, it should probably be moved to the device forum under smartphones Apple iOS.

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Im not so sure I got my 4s on the day it came out and I could not get it to connect to a network when I was in Paris over spring break and I had the Sprint sim card still in the sim slot

 

But that has nothing to do with unlocking. You probably did not have international roaming enabled on your account. An unlocked handset could use a local carrier SIM.

 

AJ

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Im not so sure I got my 4s on the day it came out and I could not get it to connect to a network when I was in Paris over spring break and I had the Sprint sim card still in the sim slot

 

"Unlocking" your phone allows you to be able to activate it on another carrier (not simply roam), be it domestic or international carrier. The fact that you still had the Sprint sim in your phone while traveling abroad just means you would have been roaming, not actually activating your phone on another carrier. Sprint has roaming agreements with carriers in France (Orange if I recall correctly), however your issue of not being able to connect while in Paris probably had more to do with changing your settings to allow international roaming which are accessed by going to settings - general - cellular - roaming. Additionally I believe that you also need to call Sprint to allow your account to roam internationally. FWIW you should be thankful that you didn't allow roaming as you would have forked over a huge amount of cash if you used your phone at all, especially for data.

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Negatory my friend, the 4s doesn't / didn't ship unlocked (even those devices released the first day they were available). After going through the Sprint international dept my 4s is unlocked for international use and I've been testing it using both AT&T and Tmobile sims that I have active on non-contract plans but to no avail.

 

If a mod is reviewing this thread, it should probably be moved to the device forum under smartphones Apple iOS.

 

There was an article out there on the web that proves you were wrong on that. As soon as I find it I will post, but Sprint's iPhone 4S was indeed unlocked when released. Sprint was supposed to send out a carrier update to lock it down, but I never saw anything saying they did.

 

Edit: Here's the article: http://www.macworld.com/article/1163003/sprint_clarifies_iphone_4s_unlocking_policy.html

 

The reason for the AT&T microsim is a test bed as it will tell you if you have a locked phone. I was wrong about the AT&T and T Mobile domestic use.

 

Sent from Josh's iPhone 5 using Tapatalk 2

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There was an article out there on the web that proves you were wrong on that. As soon as I find it I will post, but Sprint's iPhone 4S was indeed unlocked when released. Sprint was supposed to send out a carrier update to lock it down, but I never saw anything saying they did.

 

Yes, there were multiple articles online that state just that - believe me, I have read many if not all of them, one example here: http://www.macrumors.com/2011/11/11/sprint-to-lock-iphone-4s-sims-starting-november-11th/ . Supposedly Sprint pushed out a firmware update that then locked the phone back down to their network....However I own a 4s that I purchased on the release date which is what I've used as my test device for well over a year, which to me is more proof positive than an online article. But I'm not done with my testing, so if anybody finds a way to unlock the phone for domestic use I'm all ears.

 

EDIT: to Macinjosh, just to clarify my earlier post the iPhone 4s may very well have shipped unlocked to "international" gsm activation, but my argument is in regards to a domestic unlock which I have not been able to accomplish after countless attempts.

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But that has nothing to do with unlocking. You probably did not have international roaming enabled on your account. An unlocked handset could use a local carrier SIM.

 

AJ

 

"Unlocking" your phone allows you to be able to activate it on another carrier (not simply roam), be it domestic or international carrier. The fact that you still had the Sprint sim in your phone while traveling abroad just means you would have been roaming, not actually activating your phone on another carrier. Sprint has roaming agreements with carriers in France (Orange if I recall correctly), however your issue of not being able to connect while in Paris probably had more to do with changing your settings to allow international roaming which are accessed by going to settings - general - cellular - roaming. Additionally I believe that you also need to call Sprint to allow your account to roam internationally. FWIW you should be thankful that you didn't allow roaming as you would have forked over a huge amount of cash if you used your phone at all, especially for data.

 

I did have all the settings set for international use and called sprint before I left and they said everything was good to go, but still no go. When i got back i went back to my local sprint store the guy in the store noticed that I had bought it when it first came out and said it didn't work because how sprint did the whole unlocking thing when it first came out it couldn't use the internal sim card to connect and roam on a network. If i wanted it to do that he would have to lock it and unlock it for international use. IDK if he knew what he was talking about or was just BS'ing to make me happy but I didn't let him relock it and defiantly plan on borrowing my brothers sim card (t-mobile) and trying it on my phone when i see him next weekend.

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I did have all the settings set for international use and called sprint before I left and they said everything was good to go, but still no go. When i got back i went back to my local sprint store the guy in the store noticed that I had bought it when it first came out and said it didn't work because how sprint did the whole unlocking thing when it first came out it couldn't use the internal sim card to connect and roam on a network. If i wanted it to do that he would have to lock it and unlock it for international use. IDK if he knew what he was talking about or was just BS'ing to make me happy but I didn't let him relock it and defiantly plan on borrowing my brothers sim card (t-mobile) and trying it on my phone when i see him next weekend.

 

The GSM network you're roaming on (Orange - France in this example) uses whatever sim is in the phone to determine roaming eligibility, so even if the phone did in fact ship unlocked that would have no bearing on whether the phone would roam or not. Perhaps your Sprint sim was invalid for some reason but I'm not going to theorize on why you couldn't roam as there could be many other factors at play.

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The GSM network you're roaming on (Orange - France in this example) uses whatever sim is in the phone to determine roaming eligibility, so even if the phone did in fact ship unlocked that would have no bearing on whether the phone would roam or not. Perhaps your Sprint sim was invalid for some reason but I'm not going to theorize on why you couldn't roam as there could be many other factors at play.

 

I dont think that was what he was saying I think he meant that sprint apparently did something really weird with the unlock and relock thing that its causing the system to reject the authorization to roam using the sprint sim card already in the phone.

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I dont think that was what he was saying I think he meant that sprint apparently did something really weird with the unlock and relock thing that its causing the system to reject the authorization to roam using the sprint sim card already in the phone.

 

All I know is that I've both roamed internationally and activated my phone on an international network but have not been able to activate it on a domestic GSM carrier - all while using my iPhone 4S that was purchased on the original release date. If you or anybody else is ale to unlock your iPhone for domestic use I will be thoroughly interested.

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All I know is that I've both roamed internationally and activated my phone on an international network but have not been able to activate it on a domestic GSM carrier - all while using my iPhone 4S that was purchased on the original release date. If you or anybody else is ale to unlock your iPhone for domestic use I will be thoroughly interested.

 

I dont really think it will but i would kick myself if i didnt try to at least try

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If your restore your iPhone on iTunes you'll get a message on the screen that says "Congratulations, your iPhone has been unlocked." However, CDMA carriers like Sprint and Verizon have some tricky deals they've worked out with Apple to protect the iPhones that have been activated on their network from being used on other domestic carriers. (Side note, the iPhone 5 on Verizon ships factory unlocked, but that's only because of an FCC ruling they had to agree to when they acquired they 700 MHz licenses on which they use to broadcast their LTE).

 

An iPhone 4S that has been activated on Sprint (meaning the IMEI number is in Sprint's database) cannot be "unlocked" for domestic use - at least not currently. (For for the opposite reason, a 4s that is sold factory unlocked cannot be activated on Sprint or Verizon since the IMEI is not in their active database). The most they will do for you is unlock it for international use which will allow you to plug in a SIM from an international carrier - this actually works great when I've traveled to both Mexico and Canada and saved a boat load of "keesh". However, they will only perform the international unlock if the phone has been on an active contract for 90 days and the account is in good standing. If you search hard enough online you will find some vendors that will claim they can unlock it for domestic GSM carrier use (Tmobile / AT&T) and charge between $100 - $140, however for some reason Apple has even locked those guys out as of late (chronicunlocks.com for example).

 

You could re-activate the phone and call back to the international dept (888.226.7212 is the direct line) and with your 10 year history they should unlock it for international use, however I think you're out of luck for domestic use. You can still fetch a good rate online for a Sprint 4s, especially if its unlocked for international use and you open your shipping up to international.

 

Lastly (sorry for the long post), just for the record the 4s is capable of picking up US GSM carriers as I've used my Mexico sim from Telcel while in the US to test and I can choose from AT&T or Tmobile. However I would then be paying the roaming fees through Telcel to roam on the US carrier. My point is that the phone is "capable" of operating on the US carriers, it's just been locked out from being activated using a US SIM card by Apple and Sprint. (If you can't tell I've had some experience on this topic...)

 

When I called Sprint they said that you needed to have the phone on your account for at least 90 days, account in good standing, and finally YOU MUST BE ON A TWO YEAR CONTRACT. Since I bought my phone from Sprint off contract - they will not unlock it. I have been with Sprint for years and there is "nothing they can do".

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Dont you just need the msl to unlock? Just go into a store and ask for it.

 

Sent from my LG-LS970 using Tapatalk 2

 

iPhone's don't use an MSL. The phone unlocking has to be done by the carrier and then submitted to Apple so the phone can be unlocked they iTunes. It's another one of Apple's control mechanisms. Almost every iPhone can be unlocked by a 3rd party except the Sprint ones, and I'm not sure why that is, by I'm going to research it out and report back here when I find out.

 

 

Sent from Josh's iPhone 5 using Tapatalk 2

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