It’s been confirmed that Verizon is actually selling the iPhone 5 factory unlocked out of the box, and you can pop in another SIM card to use the device on even a GSM network like AT&T. Jeff Benjamin of iDownloadBlog has already tried inserting an AT&T SIM card into his CDMA Verizon iPhone 5, and it worked!
This is particularly huge news considering that Apple is selling three variants of the iPhone 5: CDMA for Verizon/Sprint/international LTE bands, GSM for AT&T/T-Mobile and North American LTE bands, and an international GSM version with support for LTE bands in Europe and Asia. Because the iPhone 5 is not technically a “world” phone like the iPhone 4S, most figured that you would be locked to either CDMA (Verizon) or GSM (AT&T) in the states. With the Verizon iPhone 5, that doesn’t appear to actually be the case.
Benjamin put together a video that shows off his discovery:
“I did reach out to Verizon via phone, and they confirmed to me that the phone was unlocked, and that I could use it with another SIM, even though I’m under contract, and just signed on as a customer today,” notes Benjamin.
So an on-contract Verizon iPhone 5 is sold unlocked, and, providing you have an AT&T nano-SIM or cut micro-SIM on hand, you can switch out Verizon’s SIM for a GSM carrier. That’s pretty cool.
It’s worth noting that you can’t gain access to LTE data on AT&T from the CDMA iPhone 5 on Verizon. But AT&T’s HSPA+ network is compatible.
We’ve reached out to AT&T to see if this works the other way around. Hopefully the carriers have started loosening their grip.