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Sprint explains iPhone 4S unlocking policy: phones will be unlocked, then locked, then unlocked again

Zach Honig
10.13.11
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Yeah, that makes just as much sense to us as it does to you. Following yesterday's PR debacle, the final word from Sprint appears to be as follows:

"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."

So, if we're reading that correctly, the iPhone you purchase and activate will be unlocked. Then, a SIM lock will be "pushed" to your device. But, if you've been a good, policy-abiding customer, your iPhone can then be unlocked manually by Sprint. Who knows what'll happen if you buy your phone and flee to a non-extradition country before Sprint comes knocking at the door, shackles in hand. Will you be left to live in peace with your newly-acquired international Micro SIM? Will you need to plead your case before a tribunal of mobile carrier overlords? Only time will tell, we suppose, or perhaps further clarification from Sprint. Jump past the break for the complete announcement.

Show full PR text
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.

Customers can sign up for one of our international rate plans and use this phone all over the world. When traveling internationally, there is a setting that must be turned on within the device to connect to GSM. The phone will work with a SIM that is provided within the device out of the box. International voice and data charges are on a pay-as-you-go basis and vary based on the country where the customer is using their phone; a list of rates is available at www.sprint.com/international.

Sprint offers two international voice plans that customers can subscribe to for discounted voice rates:

* The Canada Roaming add-on is $2.99 per month and all calls placed from Canada are only 20 cents per minute. Without this add-on, calls from Canada are 59 cents per minute.

* The Sprint Worldwide Voice add-on is $4.99 per month and offers discounted rates in countries around the world. For example, calls from Italy are $1.69 per minute with this add-on or $1.99 per minute without the add-on; calls from Peru are $2.29 per minute with the add-on or $2.49 per minute without it.

Sprint does supply notifications of data roaming charges to protect customers from high costs. Notifications are sent to the customer's preferred method, either text or email, and are sent once the device exceeds approximately $50, $250, $500 and $1,000. To protect the customer from additional charges, the device's international data roaming capability will be suspended after the customer exceeds approximately $1,000 of international data charges in a billing cycle.

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