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All iPhone 4S SIMs to be Locked at Activation Starting November 11th

Posted In Featured, News - By Mark Hearn On Thursday, November 10th, 2011 11:25pm PDT With 16 Comments

There was a bit of confusion about the iPhone 4S’ SIM status prior to its release. Some reports claimed that the 4S would ship with an unlocked SIM, while others stated that the SIM was to be locked and only support GSM roaming when abroad. Our Super Spies however have got their hands on an interesting piece of intel. An internal Sprint memo states that starting on 11/11/11 “all iPhone 4S devices will have the SIM locked.” The memo also goes on to state that “the locking occurs during the activation process and is invisible to the customer.” Such statements suggest that Sprint’s iPhone 4S variant does, or should we say did ship with an unlocked SIM. But all is not lost for you early adopters, it is clearly noted that this SIM lock update will not impact any iPhone 4S activated prior to 11/11/11. As for you new customers, you’ll be referred to Sprint Worldwide for international services.

About - Mark is the founding father of SprintFeed. He is a nerd's nerd if ever such a thing existed. His love affair with the Now Network started with the release of the Treo 600 back in 2004 and has been going strong ever since. Highly opinionated and somewhat eccentric he shares his ramblings about his network of choice here at SprintFeed.

Displaying 16 Comments
Have Your Say

  1. I read that earlier and thought about the misconception that will come from this. It isn’t a bad thing, you will just have to call Sprint to have it switch to the Sprint SIM card to use on the GSM network in EUROPE. To be honest, this should have been this way from the beginning.

  2. Tino Q. says:

    Well, that sucks! I don’t care about the iCrap really, but I have a Motorola Photon and don’t know if my SIM is locked or I can just get a prepaid SIM from Mexico or Spain when I get there and be able to use my Photon without worries of getting hit by Sprint with international roaming rates!

  3. Anon says:

    This isn’t a good thing. Now people leaving the US and going to Europe/Asia/etc. have to rely on the crazy international roaming charges from Sprint. All the phones before this date could just go to any foreign country and pop a local SIM card and it would work on that particular network.

  4. Anonymous says:

    If your account is in good standing, they are supposed to unlock it for you, so that you can use local SIMs and not have to pay Sprint’s roaming charges.

  5. David Boyd says:

    on the photon the sim is not locked, however the radio is set to not pick up domestic (US) GSM signals.

  6. None says:

    Sprint has had a lot of fraud regarding international phones, that is the reason that the 4S will be locked. A customer with an account in good standing for at least 3 months can call the international department and have their phone unlocked.

  7. Anonymous says:

    So Sprint, in desperate financial trouble, and with a poor network that offers no reason for ATT/VZW users to switch, decides to get rid of their ONE AND ONLY compelling advantage over the two giants — a guarantee, without hassle and crap, that they can use their phone overseas?
    But Sprint would rather accept the (very rare, and based on pissing off customers who now hate you) thousand dollar excess fee from unwary travelers than the constant, every-month $90 from a large pool of customers who travel, and who love you.

    Honestly I will not weep to see Dan Hesse fired or the company go bankrupt — there’s a certain level of stupidity at which a company no longer deserves to live.

  8. Anonymous says:

    They cannot get their story straight on this, which gives one ZERO confidence that it will actually work when you need it. I have seen three different versions of whether you can or flat-out can’t or maybe can depending on god knows what.
    The very fact that they haven’t seen fit to make sure their policy is decided upon and communicated to the entire company should make any prospective customer question how much they can trust it — and whether it will be changed in a week, or a month, or a year.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I completely agree. At this point, I’m just waiting for unlimited data to disappear. After that they really do have absolutely no advantage anymore.

    I can’t reply to your reply to my comment because the reply button is beyond the width of the column, but getting 30 different answers from 30 different reps is the Sprint way of doing things. Nobody at that company knows what anyone else is up to.

  10. Anonymous says:

    So, you kinda missed the point that the Sprint iPhone will get unlocked eventually right? That’s x100 better than AT&T who will NEVER unlock their iPhones under any circumstances. Also it will not impact iPhones sold and activated before today.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Whew, good thing got mine on launch day : )

  12. Anonymous says:

    As I ALREADY SAID:

    They cannot get their story straight on this, which gives one ZERO confidence that it will actually work when you need it. I have seen three different versions of whether you can or flat-out can’t or maybe can depending on god knows what.
    The very fact that they haven’t seen fit to make sure their policy is decided upon and communicated to the entire company should make any prospective customer question how much they can trust it — and whether it will be changed in a week, or a month, or a year.

    More generally, this is not about how much you love Sprint and feel they need to be defended. This is business. Sprint is making one stupid decision after another, and people rushing to make excuses for them does not change that fact.
    When you are number three, the view of your customers should be “I love Spring and everything they will do for me”; it shouldn’t be “OMG Sprint sucks, their network sucks, their policies suck — but because their corporate communication is so vague and obscure, there’s a tiny chance they might be able to offer what I want. What the heck, I’ll risk going with a crappy carrier and a more expensive plan on that slight chance.”

  13. Tino Q. says:

    Thanks David, yea, that much I knew about the domestic GSM, which is ok, I guess? My concern was going out of the country and find out my SIM was locked. I appreciate you responding to my post.

  14. Anton Frost says:

    I guess I’ll cross that bridge when it’s time to go on tour in Europe. That was really the whole point of getting the 4S for me. Hassle free operation in Europe with no exorbitant fees.

  15. i do not know how you can say that att/vzw would ever switch to sprint. buy far this has been the best service provider i have ever had. And i have had both att and vzw and even cingluar. all horrible. when i was with the other providers always had dropped calls, poor/rude customer service and it took them over a year to give me my employee discount. yet dont get dropped calls w/ sprint and there customer service isnt incompetent. they can actually help you and isnt a dick about it. my network never slows down when i am going crazy w/ data. i even get good service on base, in the hills, and even in desert areas were i could never get service. also, dont get charge to go to puerto rico to use my phone w/ sprint. yet you want to bitch about that fact they are locking there i phones b/c they are trying to help customer w/ protection against fraud. yet you think they are the idiots. i disagree. i think you are the moron, and probably bitter b/c your phone bill isnt ever the same and all your friend w/ sprint have a stable bill and are able to call whom ever they want be it if they call other provider. and what i hope is that one day sprint buys out att. just like they did nextel. then we will see whom the better provider is.
    a glad customer of sprint and wont ever leave. glad i came back to sprint. best carrier ever!!!!!

  16. Sdfsd says:

    The bastards will not unlock it after all. This is what I got from their international department:
    “I apologize for the misinformation but we are unable to unlock iphones on individual liable accounts. The reason we can no longer unlock iphones is because when you travel abroad and place a foreign sim card into your device there is a possibility that it could brick your device i.e. making it so it will not work when you get back to the states. Since apple care does not cover that type of damage you would have to pay between 650-850 for a replacement device, this is a safe guard that sprint has put into place to help protect our individual accounts from having to pay for a new device when it can be easily avoided. I apologize for the misinformation.”

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