When Apple announced the iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3 last week, the Apple SIM, which allows users to switch LTE networks on the fly, was announced alongside it. Unfortunately, some U.S. carriers have been more than stingy with the technology, leading to T-Mobile CEO John Legere taking to Twitter to try and clear the air.
Legere explained that the idea behind Apple SIM was “about giving customers ability to choose which carrier they wanted.” However, Verizon refused to play ball and AT&T locks down the Apple SIM to its network after signing up for a month of service, T-Mobile and Sprint, said Legere, have “embraced the Apple SIM concept – you get as many choices as you want.”
However, this is only true if you buy the iPad Air 2 from an Apple Store. If you buy them from a carrier store, the story changes significantly, as Legere revealed that iPads sent to Verizon and Sprint have their respective SIM cards. While iPads sold through AT&T and T-Mobile have the Apple SIM, it’s pre-configured to each respective carrier. This is why Legere told Slashgear people the best strategy would be to buy the Air 2 from an Apple Store until the dust settles.
As for Sprint, things get even more confusing. According to Legere, in order for a device to be in Sprint’s network registry to activate, it needs the IMEI serial number associated with the device. In other words, unless you ask Sprint to include your device’s IMEI number in its registry, purchasing the Air 2 from another carrier store means sacrificing the ability to activate it on Sprint.