Actually there are several different SIM locks that can be put in place. An MCC (country) lock will only work in one country, an MNC (carrier) lock will only work with specific carrier and an MSIN (phone) will only allow one specific SIM to work in the phone.
Gadgetgirl40 - That's the specifics I received. I understand it doesn't answer your question specifically, I'm just trying to give information as I get it.
Yes. So they can't lock At&t only. They can make it only work at AT&T, but can't make it work all except AT&T. So just test with an AT&T card, if it works then the phone was unlocked for all countries. Unless apple's lock thing is different, I know they unlock it through itune, not use a code like other one. Maybe you connect it to itune, it will tell you unlocked or not?
It looks as if Sprint has "officially" written down their overseas SIM locking rules on the official Sprint site:
Last Updated: Oct 14, 2011
Learn more about using a local international SIM card for my iPhone 4S
Sprint's policy is to have the iPhone 4S SIM locked to our network domestically and internationally. We plan to allow existing customers in good standing to unlock the SIM for international use.
Customers can sign up for one of our international rate plans and use iPhone 4S in most countries all over the world. When traveling internationally, there is a setting that must be turned on within the device to connect to GSM. The phone will work with a SIM that is provided within the device out of the box. International voice and data charges are on a pay-as-you-go basis and vary based on the country where the customer is using their phone; a list of rates is available at www.sprint.com/international."
There has been confusion surrounding Sprint's definition of "SIM unlocking". Some though Sprint were defining "SIM unlock" as simply enabling the GSM portion of the iphone to be used overseas - i.e you would be allowed to use the Sprint SIM Card overseas and be charged their exorbitant roaming fees, and you could not use local SIM cards. This would obviously not be an international SIM unlock as I define it, as it would not allow for local SIM usage while overseas. Sprint is more specific now, as it states "Learn more about using a local international SIM card for my iPhone 4S" which seems clear to me they will allow international SIM card use (not just allow you to use Sprint GSM global roaming).
As far as being able to specifically lock out US carriers (ATT and T-Mobile) and allow overseas SIM cards to be used, to me, it does seem technologically feasible to do so. Each wireless company has a Mobile network code (MNC) specific to that company, so it seems possible to lock out certain carriers (AT&T and T-Mobile) while allowing overseas carriers. Whether or not this can actually be done, though, I have no idea. You would probably have to ask an Apple wireless technician as I seriously doubt anyone from Sprint would know the answer either.
So I think sprint will lock the AT&T, Tmobile and unlock oversea. Don't know if this can be done technically.
Yes, it is technically feasible. The way it was done on the TP2 is that the TP2 actually came unlocked for all SIMs, BUT the software radio was reprogrammed to disable all domestic GSM service. That is why, if you flash in an alternate radio, you can get AT&T and Tmo service back into the TP2.
I would guess that the same is done for the Sprint and Verizon iphone: it comes GSM SIM locked, but it can be unlocked upon request. However that still will not allow domestic GSM service since the radio is disabled for it.
Yes, agreed, it's technologically feasible.
In other news, it looks like the SIM slot is unlocked (only for use overseas use I believe) which is good news for international travelers.
I tested this out using a few different variations.....
Inserting my US AT&T sim from my Ipad resulted in an "invalid SIM card" error while my UK sim card switched to roam on the AT&T network (gsm). I also tested a SIM from Switzerland just to be sure and it picked up the carrier.
You can verify a few ways....
Go to Settings--->Phone--->My number - this should show your international phone # (differs by sim card)
Go to Settings--->Carrier----> Mine shows AT&T or Sunrise (Swiss carrier) because it's roaming on a GSM band
General---->About---->Under Carrier (check to make sure it shows anything other than Sprint)
I'm very happy and hope to stay a Sprint customer now for this reason. I just hope with the latest complaints of slow data speeds on the Iphone, I hope you wouldn't dare to roll out a software update and lock us down in the future.
I spoke to a customer agent regarding this issue. They only lock tmobile and atnt and we will be able to use international GSM carrier as long as we call to activate. No charge.
In anticipation of travel soon, I called Sprint and they remotely "unlocked" my new 4s sim card. However, when I went to remove the card, the card holder would NOT budge when I pushed my pin in the hole. I have an earlier iPhone (ATT) that is no longer in service and the card slot opens right up with a little pressure.
It appears that my new 4S card slot is physically locked. Darn !!
Hope someone can tell me that I'm wrong and I just have to push harder ....
You're wrong and you need to push harder...seriously ;-)
I ran into the same thing...I have an AT&T iPhone 4 and the card comes out pretty easily, but when I first tried with my Sprint iPhone 4S it definitely took more pressure. Actually, I tried the Sprint phone first and thought the same as you, but after trying it on my AT&T version, I tried again on the Sprint and it worked. Just make sure you have a thin enough paperclip that fits easily through the hole.
GOOD NEWS (I think)...
Regarding my post above. I tried to open the sim card slot one more time.. and for some reason, without too great an effort, the slot opened !! And I was able to remove the card. However, I do not have another card to test whether the phone is really unlocked, but no reason to think it isn't. As I mentioned above, I called the Sprint International rep and he told me that YES, he could unlock the phone for me remotely. He requested the SIM card ID (the ICCID # in the "About" menu under General). He said that it would take about 4 hours to provision. So at this time, my phone should be unlocked. I guess I won't know for sure until I try to use it overseas (if I can find one of those micro sim cards for a local carrier).
Thanks Darkon2112 ! You were writing your reply while I was updating mine. I feel better that I'm not the only one who had trouble initially opening the slot. I was afraid that I would damage it, but glad I tried again. Anyway, you confirmed the situation.
Then is it fair to say that the post on page 1 that says "correct answer" is wrong? And that local sims work w/o any problems????
does that mean that the iphone needs to be unlocked by calling sprint?
im thinking about picking up a activated one but im not sure if i need to tell the buyer to call sprint to get it unlocked for international use?