Skip to main content

Sprint to lock iPhone 4S SIM cards, starting today

iphone-4-sprint
Image used with permission by copyright holder

All you brand new Sprint iPhone 4S customers who thought you’d actually be able to use the full dual-mode GSM/CDMA worldphone capabilities of your fancy new Apple handset when traveling abroad, think again. According to a leak from SprintFeed, Sprint will begin locking the SIM card of every iPhone 4S upon activation. This will make it impossible to use any other SIM besides a Sprint SIM while overseas, a restriction that significantly increases the price of using the device outside the US.

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

The memo goes on to say that customer who wish to use their iPhone 4S during international travel will be directed to Sprint Worldwide “for authentication.”

SIM cards of customers who purchased their iPhone 4S from Sprint before today will, it seems, remain unlocked. This mean they will be able to travel to, say, Italy, pop in a pre-paid GSM SIM card that gives them a local phone number, and use it to their heart’s content. This is a far less expensive way to use your own phone while overseas, where almost all phones are unlocked.

Now, if you were planning to purchase an iPhone 4S from Sprint today, don’t think you’re necessarily going to get a better deal from Verizon or AT&T — they lock their SIM cards, too. That said, Verizon will reportedly allow customers who’ve had their accounts in good standing for 60 days or more to request an “international unlock,” which would enable the full worldphone capabilities. With Sprint fighting fiercely to compete with AT&T and Verizon, it’s entirely possible it will allow its customers the ability to unlock their SIM cards, as well.

Of course, there’s always the jailbreak option, which will completely unlock your iPhone 4S from any type of restrictions — and void your Apple warranty. The fact that jailbreaking is the only real way to be able to do what you want with a device you own is completely absurd. It’s time for US wireless carriers to stop acting like insecure significant others, and let people make their own decisions.

Editors' Recommendations

Andrew Couts
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Features Editor for Digital Trends, Andrew Couts covers a wide swath of consumer technology topics, with particular focus on…
The best iPhone 14 Pro cases: 20 best ones in 2024
OtterBox OtterGrip case front of iPhone 14 Pro

Apple's iPhone 14 Pro is an impressive device that comes packed with a lot of features users will love. It boasts a stunning, always-on 6.1-inch Dynamic Island display, a fast and responsive A16 Bionic chip, and an excellent 48MP primary camera.

However, despite its strength and durability, it is important to protect it with a suitable case. If you're looking for the best iPhone 14 Pro cases available right now, here are some great options to consider.

Read more
‘Sophisticated’ iPhone fraud involving fake handsets leads to convictions
The Apple logo on the iPhone 14 Pro Max.

A scam that defrauded Apple out of millions of dollars’ worth of iPhones has led to the convictions of two of the perpetrators, with each facing up to 20 years in jail.

Haotian Sun, 33, and Pengfei Xue, 33, both Chinese nationals, were found guilty by a federal jury on Tuesday for participating in what the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia described as a “sophisticated” scheme that tricked Apple into replacing fake phones with the genuine article.

Read more
How to record phone calls on your iPhone quickly and easily
A person using a smartphone.

Text messages and email are two of the most common ways we use our smartphones to communicate, but one shouldn’t forget that these fancy gadgets can still ring a friend or family member. An audible one-on-one conversation may be falling out of style, but it’s still one of the fastest ways to exchange a lot of information.

Fortunately, you can also record phone calls for future reference, although you’re a bit up-the-creek if you’re rocking an iPhone. For years now, iOS devices haven’t featured any type of built-in recording tool for phone calls — not even the iPhone 15, iPhone 15 Pro, or iPhone 15 Pro Max. That being said, there are a few workarounds.

Read more