Okay it isn't really clear why but it is true that the VZW iPhone 4S doesn't work with T-Mobile even unlocked. (It's been tested). To switch to us you would need to either buy a 5 from VZW (which isn't really worth it because it would only work on 3G and only in refarmed areas) get an unlocked AT&T 4S (same dealio as the 5 actually) or buy the new Official T-Mobile 5 coming out on April 12th. Remember switching phones doesn't mean loosing all your stuff --- thats what backup and restore are for.
Any more questions?
That's kind of disturbing, as it leads me to wonder why two different sales reps at T-Mobile insisted that it would still work. I do have a couple of other questions:
*Is the "unlocking for international use" through Verizon different from a "factory unlock" ? And if I could do a factory unlock on my 4S, would I then be able to use T-Mobile?
Secondly, doesn't that mean Verizon is essentially enslaving my phone to their network? Isn't there a way they have to let you use your device on whatever carrier you choose once the contract is gone?
Hello, i saw question and i hope i can help. i worked as a verizon technical support agent for about 3 years so im pretty familar with there products. 1. the main reason the 4s will not work on tmobile is because verizon using CDMA not GSM for there network. almost all carriers use GSM but verizon does not. When apple came out with the 4/4s for verizon they had to make a different antenna because of this. The phone can be jailbroken/unlocked to for global use. So there is a possiblity that it may work on tmobiles network. however verizon will not guarentee this to you, and verizon does not support it. Also not sure how long you have had this phone. but you may also want to conisder by jailbreaking the phone you would be voiding any warrenty you have on the device thru apple. Customer service and the sales reps have limited information and sometimes are not fully aware of everything that goes into this. Were as a technical support agent as i was are trained on it. thus why your getting different answers. i can also tell you in my experiance many carriers tell customers they can use verizon devices on there network, but do not provide support for this. i used to get many calls asking how to use our phones on another network but it just is not supported by verizon. your best bet is the discussion forums or google. I apologize i dont have any information on how its done, but at least this can help explain some of the frustration.
"The T-Mobile sales reps I've spoken to have insisted that all such information isn't correct and that I will have no problem switching. One rep did mention that I might need to call Verizon when I put the SIM card in and ask for some kind of number code. Not sure what that's about."
Also verizon only provides a code for global unlock. This will not work to unlock the phone for use on a us carrier. Verizon does not have such a thing. i have also got many calls in my time there asking for this code. it doesnt exist. and if it somehow does and im not aware of it. its not something any employee would have access to.
I think the main points here are:
- The iPhone 4s has *both* CDMA and GSM radios in it.
- The iPhone 4s supports GSM frequencies 850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz. (from Apple's website, Apple - iPhone - iPhone 4S Technical Specifications )
- T-Mobile's GSM/EDGE network operates in 850 MHz and 1900 MHz frequencies (from T-Mobile's "2G Overview" page, 2G Overview ).
- International GSM networks operate on 900 MHz and 1800 MHz frequencies, depending on the country (from T-Mobile's "2G Overview" page, 2G Overview).
- Conclusion from the above is that the 4s should be able to operate on BOTH T-Mobile and International networks, as well as any other US carrier that supports one or more of the above GSM frequencies (which includes most of the wireless networks in the US). That is why Apple refers to the 4s as a "World Phone" (see Apple's iPhone 4s specs above ).
- Apple maintains a lock database based on the IMEI of each iPhone ever sold that lists the carriers that each iPhone may and may not be activated on.
- The iPhone 4s "unlock" performed by Verizon is not a "factory unlock". The Verizon iPhone unlock simply removes the international lock entries for your phone from the Apple database, but does not remove the US domestic lock entries for your phone from the Apple database. A "factory unlock" removes *all* lock entries for your phone from the Apple database so that it can be activated on any network, domestic or international.
- Conclusion: Verizon is maintaining monopoly control over your phone, even long after you have paid for it completely and it belongs to you wholly and fully. This is a scandal and should be illegal. It is collusion between Apple and Verizon that is anti-competitive and a violation of anti-trust principles.
- Apple is also to blame in this collusion and should be held accountable for it.
- The fact that you can't activate such a phone on T-Mobile implies that T-Mobile is also participating in this collusion, because they have to check with Apple's lock database before they can activate an iPhone on their network.
The fact that Verizon's network is CDMA should be irrelevant, the iPhone 4s should still work on a GSM network. You may not get faster speeds like 3G, 4G, or LTE on the new network, but it will still "work" in the sense that you can make phone calls, send SMS messages, and surf the internet (albeit slowly). In other words, Your Mileage May Vary, but that may not bother many people.
The concept of Verizon not "providing support" for this is also irrelevant. No one is expecting any "support" from Verizon for doing this. All we expect is for Verizon to get out of the way and not prevent the use of a device that belongs completely and wholly to a law abiding citizen that wants to use it "for all lawful purposes".
It seems that the central villain in this is Apple. If Apple were instructed by the courts to delete its lock database, then none of the carriers would be able to check the lock status of a phone, and you would be able to activate any phone on any network that has compatible frequencies. It is understandable that some mechanism might be needed to enforce locks on a phone while it is still under contract, but once the phone is paid off Apple should be legally required to remove all entries for the phone from the lock database. It's like getting the title to your car from the bank after you've finished paying off the loan.
I would guess no one should be surprised by any of this. Preventing access to the internals of a device has been Apple's modus operandi for as long as anyone can remember. The collusion with the wireless carriers fits right into Apple's personality profile.
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OK, sorry about the essay and the rant. I'll admit that there are probably a lot of technical inaccuracies in what I wrote, so I'll defer to the experts. For me, the basic issue is that when I put a T-Mobile SIM card into my iPhone 4s, it starts going through the activation screens, but always ends up at a screen that says:
SIM Not Valid
The SIM card that you currently have installed in this iPhone is from a carrier that is not supported under the activation policy that is currently assigned by the activation server. This is not a hardware issue with the iPhone. Please insert another SIM card from a supported carrier or request that this iPhone be unlocked by your carrier. Please contact Apple for more information.
I cannot get past this screen with the T-Mobile SIM in the phone.
This phone activates just fine on Verizon, and I have contacted Verizon Global Services and had them unlock it for international use. I have a "Claro" SIM from a previous trip to Nicaragua, and with that SIM the phone appears to activate just fine, but of course I get "No Service" because I'm a bit out of coverage range ;^)
So it seems to me that the failure to activate with a T-Mobile SIM is being caused by something external to the iPhone. The phrases "activation policy", "activation server", and "supported carrier" and descriptions of Apple's lock database that I've read about on the Internet are what lead me to believe that this is just an administrative issue. When I called to have the phone unlocked for international use, the Global Services rep mumbled something about their connection to Apple and waiting for a response. So my assumption is that the unlock process involves an interaction with Apple, and something happens at Apple regarding their database record(s) for my phone in order to unlock it. And I made the further leap that the failure to activate with a T-Mobile SIM is being caused by something in Apple's lock database, and that Verizon could as easily unlock my phone for T-Mobile as they did for international use, but that Verizon is simply refusing to do so. Thus, my rant.
If you have a better explanation of what is going on, and why I cannot activate my iPhone with a T-Mobile SIM, I would really appreciate hearing it.