This is partially correct and incorrect:
CORRECT: GSM and CDMA are different.
INCORRECT: The iPhone hardware supports both CDMA and GSM, although, due to details beyond my personal understanding (such as firmware versions) a CDMA phone that is used on a GSM network will function slightly slower as it does not run on the same megahertz as the model designed to run on GSM.
• Elaborating on the above mentioned: any given iPhone will work on CDMA and GSM, independently from what network it was locked to, it is physically the same with the exception of some ranges of megahertz at which one model operates in comparison with the other one.
The "lock" is software based, meaning that one of the numbers belonging to the device was listed in the company's system (database, etc) and until it is removed from said list, other companies within the continental USA cannot activate their chip (CDMA) or sim card (GSM) in their networks (e.g., Sprint iPhone cannot be used in T-Mobile, AT&T, or Verizon).
However, when it comes to using it on a GSM network outside of the USA, most phone carriers will unlock it for the so-called "International use", this part is easy as long as your account is in good standing.
• Regarding the megahertz difference between GSM and CDMA models:
The GSM model A1428* runs on GSM/EDGE ranges of (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz) and LTE (Bands 4 and 17) while the CDMA model A1429* runs on GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz) and LTE (Bands 1, 3, 5, 13, 25) | Here is a full list of the iPhone specs, courtesy of Apple's official website: Apple - iPhone 5 - View all the technical specifications
.... oh wait, they both run on the same MHz no matter what model they are. Well won't you look at that, it seems what we are told is pure marketing (massive sarcasm IS intended).
hardware-wise, a CDMA iPhone (Verizon or Sprint) would work on a GSM carrier in the USA. The only thing that keeps it from working is the "lock" and whatever state and federal laws that are in place at the time. Furthermore, GSM stands for (Global System for Mobile Communications), so GSM carriers that are overseas function under the same standards that GSM carriers within the US territory.
• My personal opinion: I think this is a bad business practice that spams from unfair competition between US carriers, the end user pays the price.
You are locked in a contract in exchange for the discount on the device, but if you pay termination fees or fulfill your 2 year contract, the company recovered the money from the discounted device. So why make it impossible for the user to keep his machine and use it at will? I am leaving the company and I'm debating if I'll accept returning the device to waive the termination fees (big Better Business Bureau claim involved) or if I'll pay it and sell it on eBay.
• Bottom line: Sprint will bound the smartphone to their network for exclusive use with Sprint within the continental USA and will refuse to let go of it, even if the phone was purchased at full retail price, and even if the account/contract has ended in good or bad standing, and even if every single Sprint user that is unhappy with them wants to leave.
I apologize to the regulators of this community for the long message, this is only because it took me 2.5 years of suffering intermittent coverage due to the tower/network upgrades that to the date are still not working. My claim regarding that has been resolved, the unlocking issue, has not.
Please feel free to correct me if I am wrong in anything I have mentioned, I will admit I am wrong if provided with reasonable logical explanations and evidence on the contrary.
We should all strive to educate all users and go do good business together (the word "Business", by the way, by definition means a mutually beneficial transaction for both parties involved in the activity).
Really? Well because if you listened to sprints lies when you signed the contract over a year ago. I was told by sprint I would have 4g LTE in phoenix within 6 months (told to me in October 2011). I signed up with sprint. Not only did the LTE not happen but sprints 3G speeds are so slow I can't even stream music. Since my phone is paid in full I wanted to take my phone to another carrier instead of buying a new one and being on contract. I am currently using Tmobiles HSPA + band on my unlocked sprint phone (paid 49 to xda wireless to unlock for GSM and CDMA domestic use). I get about 4-10 mbs on tmobiles network as supposed to 100KBS on sprint. So knowing that, why on earth would you not switch?
Sprint will only unlock for international use after you comply with the 3 months active on the device. Why on earth do you want to unlock to be used on another carrier in the US? If its for work or someone using the phone....just get an extra phone instead of changing sims. Get the everything unlimited plan so you dont have to work on minutes.
Then by all means, check the MEID to see if it will work.. since Verizon operates on CDMA 700 and Sprint runs on 1900 CDMA those two networks are incompatible..
99% of wireless forums including Verizon's own forums state you cannot take a Sprint iPhone 5 and use it on Verizon's CDMA network (not talking about LTE).
Hey. I don't want a war or anything but verizonworks on LTE of the 1900 band. See apples lte band info for iphone 5. Also, if you read my post you can unlock the sprint iphone for both cdma and gsm (domestic use) if you find a company willing to do it. They do it through apple and your phone will be unlocked. xda wireless did it for me. You can access verizon's CDMA LTE network without any issues. If you read my post you will see a link to apples site explaining the different band. People say flat out is not possible. The iphone 5 can work on any network in the US as long as it is unlocked. It all comes down if you get LTE or not. you will get 3g either way and also HSPA+ depending on city and network. I called verizon and they said as long as the phone is unlocked you can bring your phone. I use my sprint 5 on tmobile and get HSPA+ speeds. between 4-10mbs as compared to sprints 3g of 200kbs.
"the phone can work with verizon and have no “extreme
compatibility issues” because both phones work on the same band"
I hate to correct you, but if I may.. CDMA cannot be unlocked, the GSM portion can be unlocked and used on non-domestic GSM bands (except for the Verizon iPhone 5 which can be used on AT&T's HSPA+ Network (which you were correct). A Sprint LTE device also cannot work on Verizon LTE due to Verizon being in the upper 700Mhz band, while Sprint LTE is riding off of 1900Mhz.
Verizon CDMA runs on 700Mhz I believe, while Sprint runs on 1900Mhz..same technology yes, but the bands are different. Also the MEID/ESN of Sprint CDMA devices are NOT in Verizon's Data pool and their system will not activate the device.
Sprint not unlocking their Iphones after contract should be a crime. I have been a customer for 4 years now and what if I bought the Iphone 4s, 5 at full retail, will Sprint unlock it then? They are not loosing any money, theyprobably gaining a few $$s as they buy in bulk. I agree that after the contract date ends the Iphones should be unlock if the account is in good standing.Actually I believe they should be sold unlocked and only locked if the account is not in good standing or they fail to complete the contract. What if I am in an area that does not have Sprint service or a roaming agreement, I should be able to use the sim slot. I have recently canceled two lines and paying the ETF, and am planing to cancel the other three, because of some of Sprint's policies, one being the the Iphone lock thing and the second reason being charged $10 a month on line with smart phones for "premium" data, when there is no "premium" data in my area nor has there been since the started charging for it. Any way that is a different subject. I seen in this thread where people are saying that we should contact Tim Cook of Dan Hesse to have this policy change, well I received an email when I canceled my two line from firstname.lastname@example.org asking me for feed back why I was unhappy with Sprint and canceling service. At first I thought it was just an auto generated email but I responded any way stating the Iphone unlocking policy as one of my reason and I actually got a real response. I think everyone with an issue with with Sprint's Iphone or any other policy should write to email@example.com. I hope this helps.
This is wrong information.
If you have a sprint phone that you got unlocked through a service
(unlocked to use in the US) the phone can work with verizon and have no “extreme
compatibility issues” because both phones work on the same band. If you have a sprint or verizon iphone you CAN
take it to att and tmobile but you can't access their 4g LTE. You can however access 4g hspa which is much
faster than sprint offers with its 3g.
go to youtube and type hspa speed test for att and tmobile and the city
you live in. You will see how much
faster it is than sprints 3g. Keep in
mind you can only access the 4g hspa when either tmobile or att offers 4g lte
in the area. Sprint says things like do not do this because it will cause
"extreme software compatibility issues" but this is another way of
saying please don't leave us we will scare you into thinking your phone doesn't
work. Sprint tells you unlocking is
illegal however this is only half true.
If your phone was manufactured before January 26th, 2013 you are legally
allowed to unlock it either with or without sprints help (several articles
about this, just Google unlocking phones fed rules). If the phone was after Jan 26th , 2013 it is
illegal to unlock phone unless the carrier gives you direct permission. The Obama administration is trying to get laws
passed that allow you to unlock your phone regardless if the carriers wants you
to or not. For sprint management... Sprint can no longer drag its feet, with many
cell providers starting to offer contract free phones and better service people
will not stay with sprint. Loyalty is
the thing of the past, it’s all about the best phone with the best
service. People are willing to pay a
little more for better service. Sprint
is screwing customers. Look at it two ways, either people in cities with 4g are
getting their 4g service for free because me being in phoenix I can only access
their 3g and pay the same price as a dude in texas (4g offered throughout
texas) or I am being charge for something I can't get in my city. Either way you look at it, customers with 4g
lte phones are getting ripped off because we are unable to get a 4g signal in
phoenix or other major cities. Also they
are doing things backwards, they started to add 4g lte in cities with very
small populations and ignore cities like phoenix. People in phoenix are leaving in droves (my
work just dropped over 50 lines and moved to verizon because of 4g lte in phoenix)
to switch carries who offer better service.
By the time they get around to providing 4g service like the other major
carriers sprint will be left in the dust.
Cities like LA don't have full 4g coverage but a small town 100 miles
outside of austin, tx has it. Plus since
sprint is terrible about launch dates, we as customers don’t know how long we
have to wait. For example, phoenix is
not on any list but when you talk to a service rep either online, phone or at
store they say very soon. They told me
the same thing in October 2011 when I renewed.
1.5 years later and nothing. In
my book, 1.5 years is not soon.
Good post azmurph33! The info you posted is accurate.
I had a friend that unlocked his verizon iphone 5 to switch to ATT, and their customer service told him that he could indeed use his CDMA carrier based iPhone on their GSM network. However, like you said it cannot use their LTE due to different radio's installed on the CDMA version than the GSM version LTE. Also, he was told that they would only guarantee 3G coverage on their network and 2G coverage on roaming networks. Doesn't mean he couldn't utilize their HSPA bands, but they weren't going to guarantee good connection either. Also, Apple only likes to factory unlock the GSM based models, as they don't officially show the ability to unlock CDMA carrier phones to GSM for the signal issues listed above.
YOu can unlock your sprint iphone by finding an online resource that will help. There are there different unlocks.
1. Sprint will unlock your phone under certain conditions for over seas use on a gsm network only. Like go to Europe and use an international SIM card For local rates.
2. Jailbreak unlock. This is not the way to go because its based on the version ios software you have. So if you jailbreak, unlocked and iTunes pushes a new ios, you won't be able to keep your unlocked status when you update phone.
3. Permanataly unlocked through apple. Must be done online using your meid number. This opens your phone to both gsm and CDMA networks within the us. Here is where it gets tricky. You can use your unlocked sprint phone with tmobile but you can't access their lte network because it runs on a differnet band. You can however connect to their 4g hspa+ which is much faster than sprints 3G. Check http://www.apple.com/iphone/LTE/ to see he type of phone you have and what lte networks it can access. You can take it to Verizon and use their lte because its the same band. All mms SMS and data will work like it is supposed to.
Don't let the Internet fool you, there is so much wrong info about this topic. To get it permantanly unlocked it can run anywhere from 50-179 US dollars to unlock permanatly through apple.