12 Replies Latest reply: Sep 14, 2012 5:45 AM by sebascvdb RSS

    Can the Sprint Galaxy S III be unlocked for T-Mobile?

      I'm interesting in buying a Sprint Galaxy S3 (that has a SIM slot), but Cellunlocker.net doesn't list Sprint's model (SPH-L710) of the S3 on their site (only the SGH-i747, SGH-T999, and GT-i9300), does that mean the Sprint variant can't be unlocked? Also, I've read that the Sprint variant doesn't support T-Mobile's HSPA+. Does that mean even if the phone were unlocked, it wouldn't get 4G speeds?

        • 1. Re: Can the Sprint Galaxy S III be unlocked for T-Mobile?

          It seems that a lot of people are intrested in asking for trouble by bringing other phones intended for other networks to T-Mobile's network and expecting the same performance as a T-Mobile branded phone.  Each Galaxy S III will work on every other carrier's network because of the S4 MSM8960 processor, however you may or may not recieve the best speeds as each phone has been optomized to perform best on the network it was intended.  It seems like a lot of work to try to get a "different" network phone to work properly. Any particular reason you don't want the T-Mobile version?

          • 2. Re: Can the Sprint Galaxy S III be unlocked for T-Mobile?

            No one is interested in asking for trouble (asking for trouble is buying a non-carrier-branded phone without first conducting due diligence to ensure it will support the network you intend to use it on), but many of us are interested in finding out whether non-carrier-branded phones will work because of basic economics. If you can use unlocked phones, then you instantly increase the supply of phones you can buy, making it possible to get a better deal. Compared to equivalanent T-Mobile S3s, you can get a Sprint one for almost half the price ($300~$350 versus $500~$600).

             

            Also, I'm not aware of any carrier-specific optimizations that can be done to a phone. There are only broad sets of technologies (GSM/CDMA, LTE/HSPA, etc.) and specifications (baseband) that a phone either supports or doesn't. If a phone supports GSM and LTE, then it will work equally well on any GSM/LTE network, regardless of what logo is stamped on the phone.

             

            The problem is that in the U.S. it's customary to lock phones to a particular network. This means even though a phone has all the hardware to function on a particular network, the software has been configured to prevent you from doing so. Luckily, in many cases, you can just get the phone unlocked for $15~40 or whatever it costs for that model, and in most cases, the phone will work just like the one offered by that carrier.

             

            But in certain specific cases, carrier-branded phones might disable required hardware for the type of network you want to use it on at the software or firmware level. And that's when it's usually more work than it's worth to get the phone onto the network of your choice. This may only be the case 5% of the time, but it's still worth finding out about.

            • 3. Re: Can the Sprint Galaxy S III be unlocked for T-Mobile?
              gramps28

              Where did you come up with that price? Sprint sells the GS3 16GB for $549 full price.

              calvinh wrote:

               

              Compared to equivalanent T-Mobile S3s, you can get a Sprint one for almost half the price ($300~$350 versus $500~$600).

               

              • 4. Re: Can the Sprint Galaxy S III be unlocked for T-Mobile?

                Try eBay, Craigslist, Amazon or online stores. I bought a second-hand Sprint iPhone 4S for $200, and there's now someone trying to sell me a 2-week old Galaxy S3 for $350. But, like I said, it's Sprint, so I have reservations about it since that model isn't listed on any of the unlock code vendor sites.

                • 5. Re: Can the Sprint Galaxy S III be unlocked for T-Mobile?
                  gramps28

                  If you're buying them used you're going to get the Tmobile version

                  cheaper than the full price you listed.

                   

                  BTW if you buy them off eBay or craigslist be careful that the phones

                  imei# isn't blacklisted. That's why you can find the phones cheaper on those sites.

                  • 6. Re: Can the Sprint Galaxy S III be unlocked for T-Mobile?

                    OK, maybe that price comparison is an exaggeration. But check the average closing price of Sprint S3s versus T-Mobile S3s on eBay:

                     

                    Sprint:

                    New: $467/$462

                    Used: $385/$388

                     

                    T-Mobile:

                    New: $551/$544

                    Used: $492/$489

                     

                    That's still a significant difference in the average closing prices (auction/buy it now). And you tend not to see outlier prices like the $200/$300 range for like-new S3s or iPhones except for those branded Sprint. And I've been looking for 2 months now.

                     

                    And, yea, I realize a lot of the CDMA phones are really cheap because they have bad IMEI/ESNs. That's why I would never buy one that wasn't gonna be unlocked for a GSM network (or if I were gonna use it on Sprint/Verizon, I'd activate the phone on the spot).

                    • 8. Re: Can the Sprint Galaxy S III be unlocked for T-Mobile?
                      natureboy72

                      I believe the Sprint version has an embedded sim card, so I'm not sure if it can be used on TMO.

                      • 9. Re: Can the Sprint Galaxy S III be unlocked for T-Mobile?

                        I think some have an external sim slot as well, but others don't. Supposedly the one this seller has has an external SIM slot, just like the Sprint iPhone 4S I bought also has an external SIM slot. But then I don't see why none of the major unlock code sellers list Sprint S3s (unless the seller gave me the wrong model number, and hers isn't actually an SPH-L710).

                        • 10. Re: Can the Sprint Galaxy S III be unlocked for T-Mobile?

                          I couldn't reply right away as I am at work but those prices did look suspect.  Nevertheless the phones on those sites may or may not be stolen so it is buyer beware and if you do get a bad one you end up spending double in hopes that you do get a good one.  I still stand by my original statement a T-Mobile branded phone eliminates the "what if or maybe" factor.  The shady websites like craigs list don't.  But you're an adult and it's your money.

                          • 11. Re: Can the Sprint Galaxy S III be unlocked for T-Mobile?
                            gtwalling

                            Some Sprint and Verison version do have a sim card slot, but the radio for the sims are for overseas. If you can get it to work it will only get 2g speeds on T-Mobile as the frequency is different for the 4g than the LTE.

                            • 12. Re: Can the Sprint Galaxy S III be unlocked for T-Mobile?
                              sebascvdb

                              People should realize that Sprint / Verizon models of any phones (CMDA) can not work on T-Mobile simply because of the "Built-In" Sim Card...