Sprint Will Be SIM Locking New iPhone 4Ses Starting Today

Sprint Will Be SIM Locking New iPhone 4Ses Starting Today

While Sprint’s initial batch of iPhone 4S handsets were sold unlocked, allowing you to swap out your Sprint SIM card for a SIM card of your choice, that will no longer be the case. From today, November 11, Sprint will be SIM locking Apple’s latest iPhone.

Sprintfeed has obtained a internal memo sent to Sprint staff which details its changes to iPhone SIM locking:

Starting tomorrow, all iPhone 4S devices will have the SIM locked. The locking occurs during the activation process and is invisible to the customer (no extra action is needed by customer or rep).

Sprint did confirm in a statement issued shortly after the device made its debut on its CDMA network that the iPhone 4S would only come unlocked for a short period of time:

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.

As the leaked memo notes, customers who have already purchased their iPhone 4S prior to today will still be able to enjoy an unlocked iPhone. “This SIM lock update will not impact any current iPhone 4S customers (activated prior to 11/11/11).” Of course, there aren’t exactly a lot of CDMA networks out there, so the benefits of having an unlocked Sprint iPhone 4S were pretty intangible to begin with.

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  • CharliK

    “Of course, there aren’t exactly a lot of CDMA networks out there, so the benefits of having an unlocked Sprint iPhone 4S were pretty intangible to begin with.”

    it’s not the CDMA they are locking. it’s the GSM they use for international roaming. 

  • TechnoGuy

    Killian Bell,You wrote “Of course, there aren’t exactly a lot of CDMA networks out there, so the benefits of having an unlocked Sprint iPhone 4S were pretty intangible to begin with”. You are missing the point. CDMA does not use SIM’s, and the new iPhone 4S operates on both CDMA & GSM networks. The SIM was for use when roaming internationally on GSM networks. Very beneficial. Wish AT&T would do the same.

  • Tomas

    Very disappointed by the lack-of-knowledge presented by the writer presented in “Of course, there aren’t exactly a lot of CDMA networks out there, so the
    benefits of having an unlocked Sprint iPhone 4S were pretty intangible
    to begin with”

    iPhone 4S from Sprint is a dual mode (CDMA/GSM) device that originally came with the GSM side unlocked to allow use of other SIM cards while traveling.

    CDMA does not use SIM cards. This locking/unlocking has exactly nothing to do with CDMA service.

    Up to that point the brief article was fine, once I hit the statement I quoted above, the entire article was routed to /dev/null.

About the author

Killian BellKillian Bell is a staff writer based in the U.K. He has an interest in all things tech and also covers Android over at CultofAndroid.com. You can follow him on Twitter via @killianbell.

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