Sprint To Start Locking iPhone 4S SIMs From Today, November 11th

We knew this was coming, and today Sprint confirmed that it would start SIM locking the iPhone 4S. The news comes from an internal memo obtained by SprintFeed and a press release obtained by Engadget.

The press release said:

Sprint’s policy is to have the iPhone 4S SIM locked to our network domestically and internationally. Beginning on November 11, the International SIM will be locked for devices provisioned on the Sprint network. Customers in good standing for at least 90 days can request to have their SIM unlocked for international use by calling Customer Care at 888-211-4727.

The leaked memo provides additional details about the locking process. Key points being:

  • A Sprint iPhone 4S bought (activated) before 11/11/11 would remain unlocked.
  • The locking occurs during the activation process and is invisible to the customer (no extra action is needed by customer).

As iDB points out, a software restore of your Sprint iPhone 4S may lock your device’s unlocked SIM slot. This is because after every software restore, iPhones have to be activated, and as the memo mentions, the “locking” happens during this process.

Sprint iPhone 4S Memo

Although the iPhone 4S is a World Phone, you would need to go through Sprint’s customer care to get your iPhone SIM unlocked. Sprint is also marketing its own international roaming plans along with the announcement.

The other CDMA network in the U.S., Verizon, had from day one sold the iPhone 4S SIM locked.

For the full text of the press release head over to the Engadget source link below.

[via Engadget, SprintFeed]

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  • baba

    What about if I buy my phone directly from Apple store, and I use sprint sim, will it still lock my phone?

    • Rob

      As long as your on sprint with an iPhone its going to be locked so you can only use the international sim provide by sprint. Unless you bought your iPhone before 11/11/11 and don’t ever restore your iPhone again or unless you call and get it unlocked by sprint which requires the you to be in good standing with them.

  • boomerang

    Sprint beefed off spend time fixing their shitty ass network, more than talking about locking down the iPhone. Sprint gonna lose customers left right and center soon if they can’t able to offer usable 3G connections.

    • luke

      agreed, i went to sprint from att and damn its slow compared to att, but cant go back to tethered data either…. my next plan is to go back to simple flip phone, no internet…

  • fas

    So those who never re-activate or restore are unlocked?