Unlocked Sprint iPhone 4s on AT&T?

Discussion in 'iPhone 4S' started by rambo47, Apr 16, 2012.

  1. rambo47

    rambo47 Contributor

    I was considering moving our family plan from Sprint to AT&T due to Sprint's incredibly poor data speeds and horrendous connectivity problems in Poughkeepsie NY (where my daughter will be attending college). What has kept me from pulling the trigger so far are:

    1. Cost. I pay $170 per month after my discount. I'd be paying $220 per month at AT&T and get slightly less in terms of services.

    2. There are 3 iPhones on our family plan along with one basic flip phone. I don't want to deal with selling the Sprint iPhones and buying new AT&T iPhones.

    A rep at AT&T explained that if I got the Sprint iPhones unlocked, because they're all the 4s model I could simply use them on AT&T's GSM network. I've heard from other folks that an unlocked iPhone 4s will work on European networks but not on North American networks. Is this true?
  2. chris

    chris Administrator

    Sprint definitely has the cheapest rates. If you are in a good coverage area, it's a win win.

    Selling the Sprint iPhones might not be that terrible. iPhones in general are great sellers. The bigger issue is where you are in your contract. How much is the contract break on all of those phones?

    I remember the initial Sprint iPhones being unlocked. Is it possible that's still the case?

    I've never thought of someone using a Sprint iPhone on AT&T. I guess it would work --
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  4. rambo47

    rambo47 Contributor

    It *should* work. The iPhone 4s is the same for both CDMA and GSM. One model for all markets. I just popped a micro-sim from a Lumia into my iPhone and although it was locked and gave the "invalid sim" message, it found and connected to the AT&T network.

    I'm paying $190/month all in (including all taxes and fees, less my discount of 27%) on Sprint. This is for 3 iPhones and a basic flip phone. 1500 shared minutes, unlimited messaging, unlimited data on all phones. It's going to be tough to come even close to that on another carrier.
  5. chris

    chris Administrator

    Not to go off topic, but which Lumia has a microSIM?
  6. rambo47

    rambo47 Contributor

    The Lumia 900 has the exact same SIM as the iPhone 4s.
  7. Pegb856

    Pegb856 New Member

    Hey Rambo47, I just ported my last line out of Sprint Sunday night. I too couldn't handle the slow data speeds. I've taken my family to Straight Talk unlimited everything for $45 month per line. My hubby is using an AT&T iPhone with the Bring Your Own Phone Program. You can specify an AT&T or T-Mobile SIM and the service is great. Pre-Paid may not be for everyone, but it's sure nice on the wallet.
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  8. rambo47

    rambo47 Contributor

    Thanks for the tip! We use enough data on our smartphones that pre-paid probably doesn't work for us. The $50/month unlimited plan is pretty sweet, but unfortunately it doesn't apply to iPhones. We have 3 of them and are going to be adding a 4th.
  9. Tinman

    Tinman Evangelist

    All the information I have read tells me that an unlocked Sprint iPhone 4S can only be used with non-USA carriers. Sprint specifically calls it an international unlock.

    The only thing that would work is the hardware solution gevey SIM--and on CDMA iPhones that requires a jailbreak. If you are on 5.0.1 this is possible. But if you have updated to 5.1 there is currently no jb therefor gevey unlock will not work.

    Other than the gevey solution those iPhone 4S's are stuck on Sprint in the USA.

  10. ZR_Yancy

    ZR_Yancy Genius

    If the Sprint and AT&T iPhone 4S use the 1900mhz band, I don't see a problem if the Sprint iPhone is unlocked.
  11. Tinman

    Tinman Evangelist

    It's not a frequency issue: it's a policy issue. Both Sprint and Verizon "unlocked" 4S's are not unlocked for USA carriers. I have Sprint for two other phones, one of which is my daughter's 4s. I have confirmed this with Sprint. Personally, I would love to get rid of Sprint and move her to my AT&T plan.

    They are merely unlocking them so they can be used as GSM phones when traveling outside the USA (and they hope to sell you an international add-on to do so). The only benefit to having it unlocked if you do not intend to use it outside the USA is a potential benefit in selling it to a foreign buyer who can use it (and doesn't mind that it won't work with USA GSM carriers).

    On the other hand, AT&T is unlocking iPhones--a true unlock--but only if the iPhone is not currently under a contract. So AT&T has unlocked my iPhone 4 and, surprisingly, my original iPhone that is nearly 5 years old.

    Without a jailbreak and a gevey (or other compatible hardware SIM unlock such as R-SIM) you simply cannot use an locked or unlocked Sprint 4S on USA carriers. Both gevey and R-SIM state this clearly in their descriptions as well.


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  12. ZR_Yancy

    ZR_Yancy Genius

    Dang! That's sucks pretty hard for Sprint and Verizon customers.
  13. Tinman

    Tinman Evangelist

    yes I know. On the other hand, the CDMA part of us AT&T 4S owners' iPhones is pretty much useless. :)

    Bright spot on the Sprint side though is that it appears a 5.1 jb is soon to be released. A jb and $20 and you're good to go (jb not needed for GSM iPhones). I'm tempted to get one for my 4S.... just because lol.

  14. rambo47

    rambo47 Contributor

    If the frequencies match and you put a valid SIM card into an unlocked Sprint iPhone, how can AT&T prevent it from activating? GSM networks authenticate via the SIM card, not the phone itself, correct? If you can use an unlocked Nokia phone on AT&T, which I've done with multiple models, how would the iPhone be any different? It seems to me AT&T would have to keep a data base of all the iPhones that are specifically Verizon/Sprint units and specifically exclude them via a constant network scan. It just doesn't sound feasible to me.
  15. Tinman

    Tinman Evangelist

    There isn't anything to debate. I have already stated that it is an international unlock only. Sprint has never claimed anything other than that for a reason.

  16. rambo47

    rambo47 Contributor

    I couldn't understand how they differentiate between NAM carriers and international carriers, but indeed they do. I called Sprint and had my iPhone unlocked. Took about 5 minutes and it's done by Sprint over the network. No codes to enter, nothing for the user to do. I just went to an AT&T store, popped in a SIM card from an activated Lumia, and got the error message that I could not activate this iPhone on the network. Prior to unlocking I got a different error message. My high hopes for using our Sprint iPhones on another NAM carrier have been dashed on the cruel rocks of reality. :(
  17. Tinman

    Tinman Evangelist

    Don't give up so soon!

    The jb for iOS 5.1 could be out any day now. With that and a $20--oops $30 for Sprint compatible--gevey SIM you will be able to use AT&T SIM cards.

    Here is a link:

  18. bikerboy

    bikerboy Member

    I had my Iphone4s Unlocked, It can only be used with outside the USA carriers. Might work with prepaid plans but not ATT or T-mobile so far .

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