There has been more than a little confusion surrounding the state of play with the SIM slot on Sprint’s iPhone 4S handsets. Are they unlocked? Were they unlocked? Will they ever be unlocked? We’ve gone through the whole gamut of options over the last few weeks.

SprintFeed has got hold of some clarification via internal Sprint documents, and the waters may be starting to clear. It’s a mixture of both good, and bad news.

According to their analysis of the aforementioned document, it seems that Sprint will begin locking iPhone 4S smartphones during the activation process, and that will begin on 11/11/11…

The document says that the locking process is ‘”invisible to the customer” and that it will take place during the phone’s initial activation. If we’re reading that correctly, it would mean that those with phones activated before today will have an unlocked SIM tray. Whether that will remain the case the next time they restore their iPhone, we’re not really sure, despite Sprint saying existing owners are unaffected. With iPhone’s requiring activation at each restore, we see no guarantee that Sprint couldn’t lock your SIM card slot then.

What all this boils down to is simple: Sprint clearly wants its customers to go through them when travelling abroad, and an unlocked SIM slot would mean that wouldn’t be required. If you’re lucky enough to have an unlocked handset, it may be worth trying to keep it that way!

Apple itself has said it will begin selling factory unlocked handsets some time this month, with buyers internationally already being able to pick them up. At least one member of the iDB crew is holding an unlocked iPhone 4S right now. Let’s see if you can guess which one…

  • They carn’t make modifications to your phone that you’ve not asked for..it’s your phone ..not there’s.. you payed for it , weather you pay monthly or you payed all out for it..,you agreed to there terms with that phone and how it is now..thay can not change any thing with out asking , and you can say NO WAY

    • But you do Knw that if u get one today when they activated it will be locked right??? Starting today

      • I was making a point off , if they try to lock your iPhone that you brought before this date…

    • But you do Knw that if u get one today when they activated it will be locked right??? Starting today

  • So I bought mine on Oct 7th and activated it on Oct. 15, the SIM tray is unlocked as I knw it… So that would make it locked if I restored or updated the firmware????? Answer would be highly appreciated 🙂

  • If you can use at&t sim card on i4s sprint that mean you are unlocked, just dont re-activated it, just use hactivated or SAM, to keep it factory unlocked, nice huh…:)

  • Omar Aly

    Sebastian has it.

  • Well, first off, the sprint iPhone is not unlocked like you think. It may work on foreign sim cards but not T-mobile or AT&T. I got a sprint iPhone because of the unlock rumors. Got the phone poped my AT&T sim in and it would not activate. Tried to activate through iTunes, wifi, and 3G. I even went to AT&T and had them add the IMEI number of my sprint iPhone to my AT&T account and tried to reactivate it again. Still would not work. Returned the phone for this reason and also the slow data speeds. The Internet speed did not bother me. It was the data speeds when streaming music. Google music, pandora, you tube. It would cut out every now and then and became annoying. I did not get a chance to try my Canadian sim (Rogers) card. Sense it was in Canada at my family’s house. Apparently foreign sims work. Sprint was a joke. They should have gave it to T-mobile before this merger. I know there network is different, but really. I now am just waiting for the unlocked iPhone from apple. Oh well.

  • Glen_Austin_X126 email

    I worked for Verizon when and I was told that they do not actually generate income off customers until concerning the 6th month of the phone contract. The reason why being just what you said. The customer’s phone is subsidized in the monthly statement to allow them to register with a NEW phone at a “coupon” price. By the 6th month, the telephone is “reduced” and they make money off the service fees.