Sim Free iPhone 8 Plus


    I purchased an iPhone 8 Plus Sim Free, Part No. MQ8G2LL/A, from Sam's Club, and paid full price. I activated it on one of my 5 T-Mobile lines, just to bypass the Apple setup. I then gave the phone to my sister who lives in Indonesia. However, she was not able to use a local sim card and got an error "Sim Not Supported." Apparently, Sim Free does not necessarily mean Unlocked. Apparently Sim Free phones are locked to the first carrier that it is activated with. Now it is locked to T-Mobile and so I reached out to them. The first-tier representatives understood my dilemma and helped me submit unlock requests. However, the message I got from the unlock submission is "In order to be eligible, the device must show at least one day of usage 40 days or more prior to the date of this request." With the phone now in Indonesia, I am stuck in a catch-22 situation. I am a T-Mobile customer for 10 years, and have an active 5 line plan. Do I now need to open a 6th line and mail it to Indonesia? This seems quite ridiculous. Any ideas?

      All replies

      • drnewcomb2

        Re: Sim Free iPhone 8 Plus

        This is a common situation. People go to Best Buy, Sam's, etc and buy an iPhone "SIM Free". A T-Mobile SIM gets put into it and the phone locks itself to T-Mobile. The customer then comes here accusing T-Mobile of locking their phone. T-Mobile didn't lock the phone. You have fallen prey to Apple's Reseller Flex Policy. Under this policy, phones sold by 3rd parties (e.g. Walmart) lock themselves to the first SIM inserted.


        You have a complaint against Apple for not making this policy clear. You have a complaint against Sam's for selling the phone as "SIM Free" when in fact it was not. T-Mobile is an innocent bystander in this train wreck. If you have been a T-Mobile customer for some time, you may be able to get the phone back from your sister, insert your T-Mobile SIM and request an unlock.

          • magenta4415168

            Re: Sim Free iPhone 8 Plus

            I am not sure if T-Mobile is innocent. I logged a complaint to the BBB who was able to get the message across to the upper management. He was able to add my IMEI to Apple’s database for my device to be unlocked. So it is T-Mobile and not Apple who has authority to unlock a devise. I believe Apple wants all phones to be unlocked.

              • gramps28

                Re: Sim Free iPhone 8 Plus

                magenta4415168 wrote:


                So it is T-Mobile and not Apple who has authority to unlock a devise. I believe Apple wants all phones to be unlocked.

                Apple has total control over their phones and other products which is one reason

                I'll never buy an Apple product or install Apple software.

            • magenta4415168

              Re: Sim Free iPhone 8 Plus

              One T-Mobile level 2 rep asked me to add a 6th line to my account and mail it to Indonesia! That got me fired up, so I filed a BBB complaint explaining the situation. That was on Friday, 2 days ago. Today I got a call from T-Mobile’s Office of the President who said he was shocked that T-Mobile is giving me a hard time unlocking a phone I purchased outright. The IMEI is being added to Apple’s database and will be unlocked. But more importantly, T-Mobile, Apple, and other carriers need to make their policies regarding sim-free phones be clear. And there should be a process for sim-free phones purchased at full price free and clear that is more practical.

                • dragon1562

                  Re: Sim Free iPhone 8 Plus

                  As drnewcomb2 stated this is on Apple. If you had bought a truly unlocked iphone from Apple this issue does not arrise. Trust me because I buy Iphones unlocked every year, and I have two separate carriers on two separate phone numbers and have never run into a problem.

                    • tmo_lauren

                      Re: Sim Free iPhone 8 Plus

                      Just here to confirm the information drnewcomb provided.


                      Unfortunately this is indeed the case. We don't lock the device ourselves, it's indeed the Reseller Flex Policy shared. I wish there was more I could offer to assist.



                  • carvalheiralr

                    Re: Sim Free iPhone 8 Plus

                    I am facing the same problem.

                    How did you get a soluction?

                    I have contact T-mobile, Apple and Target (Where I bought the iPhone) and nobody is able to give me a soluction.