iPhone 4S Unlocking Policy Explained By Sprint

Sprint’s policy for unlocking the iPhone 4S is a confused mess and first it was reported the handset would be sold unlocked, then it was said this report was false, but now a third report claims both statements, though contradictory. Sprint explaining that this was not exactly the case, and that the micro-SIM card slot in Sprint iPhone 4S would be locked. Sprint is likely trying to put focus on its own international roaming plans and Sprint charges flat rates for voice, SMS, and data while abroad……………………


The iPhone 4S is capable of working on those carriers in the U.S. and switching to the more common GSM radio standard for the rest of the world. Sprint’s iPhone 4S would come with its GSM card slot unlocked, meaning you could insert a pre-paid SIM card bought while traveling overseas if you wanted to save some cash on international phone surcharges. Sprint spokesperson Michelle Leff Mermelstein issued a new statement to me regarding the iPhone 4S and international unlocking for Sprint customers. Sprint now says that it will be locking that slot shortly after launch via an update pushed to those devices and after the slot has been locked, Sprint says that it will allow customers in good standing to unlock the SIM for international use in the future. Both Sprint and Verizon will ship their phones with a roaming SIM that’s tied to your account with those carriers and uses the networks of their international partners. So if you take your Sprint or Verizon iPhone 4S overseas and never pop out that SIM card, it’ll work just fine, you’ll just pay the higher data and voice rates that come with international roaming. Mermelstein’s verbatim statement:

Sprint’s policy is to have the iPhone 4S SIM locked to our network domestically and internationally. At launch, the International SIM will be unlocked. We do expect a SIM lock to be pushed to the devices shortly after launch. We will then allow existing customers in good standing to unlock the SIM for international use if needed in the future.

Customers can sign up for one of our international rate plans and use this phone 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.

Sprint offers two international voice plans that customers can subscribe to for discounted voice rates:

* The Canada Roaming add-on is $2.99 per month and all calls placed from Canada are only 20 cents per minute. Without this add-on, calls from Canada are 59 cents per minute.

* The Sprint Worldwide Voice add-on is $4.99 per month and offers discounted rates in countries around the world. For example, calls from Italy are $1.69 per minute with this add-on or $1.99 per minute without the add-on; calls from Peru are $2.29 per minute with the add-on or $2.49 per minute without it.

Sprint does supply notifications of data roaming charges to protect customers from high costs. Notifications are sent to the customer’s preferred method, either text or email, and are sent once the device exceeds approximately $50, $250, $500 and $1,000. To protect the customer from additional charges, the device’s international data roaming capability will be suspended after the customer exceeds approximately $1,000 of international data charges in a billing cycle.


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