The Verizon iPhone 5 is GSM unlocked, tested with AT&T

By , Sep 21, 2012

I can confirm that the Verizon iPhone 5 is indeed GSM unlocked. Even though I bought an iPhone 5 from Verizon under contract, I was able to cut down my AT&T Micro SIM, and use it in my Verizon iPhone 5 to pick up an AT&T signal. By doing so, I was able to hop onto AT&T’s HPSA+ network, or “4G” as they so ridiculously name it.

AT&T’s so-called 4G speeds are nothing like true LTE speeds, but they are a bit better than typical 3G speeds. But the big news here isn’t about speed. The big news here is that we have confirmed that you can use a Verizon iPhone 5 on AT&T or T-Mobile, freely, even if you’re a brand new customer under contract.

Obviously, I can’t recommend cutting your own SIM, or even worse, cutting your SIM and placing a piece of tape on it and sticking it in your brand new iPhone 5, with a paper clip no less (I’m cray cray like that), but you should be able to pick up a Nano SIM from AT&T or T-Mobile, and use it on one of those respective networks.

Funny thing is, is that AT&T’s HSPA+ speeds were actually similar to my tests with Verizon LTE on upload. Obviously this isn’t a scientific test, but it just goes to show how each technology can vary from one area to the next.

I did reach out to Verizon via phone, and they confirmed to me that the phone was unlocked, and that I could use it with another SIM, even though I’m under contract, and just signed on as a customer today. That’s great news for travelers, and a big win for customers. Let’s just hope things stay this way.

Have you tried your Verizon iPhone 5 with an AT&T or T-Mobile Nano SIM? What were the results?

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  • http://policydiary.com/ John S. Wilson

    Great stuff, Jeff. You’re kicking butt.

    • nftnft

      But even if you buy a Verizon phone under contract, then I guess that means that you still have to buy a monthly full fee to Verizon if you to another carrier, right? o_O

      • MPD01605

        Best example:
        You buy your Verizon iPhone under contract, but travel frequently to/live in a place with terrible VZW service (Morgantown, West Virginia comes to mind), you can (might!) be able to pick up a SIM card for AT&T or T-Mob and use it there. You’d just get a different number. Then swap back when you’re back in VZW territory, and you’re back to normal. But if you need data more than your same phone number, it’s a good plan.
        At least that’s what I’m understanding.

      • flyingember

        or pay the $350 ETF

      • http://www.facebook.com/plussize.ssbbw Plussize Nena Ssbbw

        so i can pay the ETF unlock my AT&T iphone then use it with any GSM network right?

      • flyingember

        you should be able to, yes. read their unlocking requirements in depth before committing to the ETF though

      • http://twitter.com/Live4theShore DalE

        There is incomplete information to point out about that question.Not Just pay the ETF, but Verizon will -also- charge you for the full price of the phone. Trust me, I’ve been with VW for a great while and know the challanges of trying to jump ship.

      • Guest

        Not Just pay the ETF, but Verizon will -also- charge you for the full price of the phone. Trust me, I’ve been with VW for a great while and know the challanges of trying to jump ship.

    • attiphoneunlocking.com

      <——— We can unlock any ATT iPhone 2G 3G 3GS 4 4S 5 even if its reported lost or stolen or still under ccontract etc.. in 3-6 hours. Contact us, find us online.

  • aaa

    i have a question
    so u said the iphone is unlocked
    so im from israel so i can use it with the phone companies here in israel??????

    • flyingember

      Maybe. it depends on the frequencies of your carrier in Israel and if the phone supports it. Odds are, yes, but I know Israel has a big CDMA network and an unlocked GSM phone won’t work on that.

    • http://twitter.com/consign4money Consign4Money

      Scroll up for the answer. If that doesn’t satisfy you, spin 4 times clockwise, and scroll up. The phone, which is CDMA, GSM, HSPA+ and LTE, is GSM unlocked. Meaning, if the GSM frequencies supported by the phone listed in technical specifications on Apple’s site MATCH with your desired carrier then it will work ONLY for GSM. You won’t be able to fall back to EDGE, or up to LTE even if compatible, limiting potential coverage in the usage area if GSM coverage is spotty.

  • http://twitter.com/KryptonHax Krypt0nTech

    Would the same case apply with an ATT iphone 5?

    • Rajat

      I doubt it. Verizon started unlocking SIM for global use for customers after 60-days back when 4S came out. AT&T took half a year more to agree to unlock and only if you were doen with the contract.

  • http://twitter.com/sgtg1994 Steve G

    Any news on the Sprint version?

    • nftnft

      I’m curious to know, as well.

      • dnt408

        Sprint Iphone 5 doesn’t work. I cut my ATT sim and same error with the invalid sim as when I had my 4S. Dont have international sim so I can’t check that

      • No Whammy

        The phone itself probably does, Sprint though, doesn’t unlock it. Verizon is required to by the FCC due to the band they purchased.

      • randomguy48

        Sprint uses wimax it’s a different technology.

      • LuxetLex

        Sprint has LTE and WiMAX.

      • randomguy48

        Yes and LTE is only for data currently. Voice over LTE is a different technology and isn’t out in the US on any carrier to my knowledge. Do you actually know anything about the wireless industry?

  • http://twitter.com/Jas_God Jas God

    wow

  • Yan Kar

    Att 4g speed in south Florida is 13-19 mbps
    Dunno about verizon but for 4g on att its good. 3g Speed is around 1.5-2.8 mbps

  • http://twitter.com/darthqu3 Darthqu3

    holy sh!t!

  • http://www.facebook.com/mikeiantosca Mike Iantosca

    Stupid question, but it came unlocked out of the box? All you did was use an AT&T sim card? If so, that’s pretty cool. Good to know when you’re traveling abroad.

    • http://www.iDownloadBlog.com Sebastien

      Correct

      • http://www.facebook.com/mikeiantosca Mike Iantosca

        Amazing. Thanks for the follow up!

      • David Hope

        Just one more question, Sebastien – does this work without activating on Verizon, or do you need to activate the phone through Verzon first, before it will begin accepting SIM cards from other networks? I hope I don’t have to sign up and pay for a month’s service on Verizon first. Thanks!

      • http://twitter.com/brxxthe ✵michæl_capulli✵

        i purchased a verizon iphone 5 and popped in an AT&T Sim and no data works. I can make calls but it keeps saying i have no data plan. Do i need to activate with VZW first?

      • http://www.facebook.com/greg.culp.94 Greg Culp

        Michael-Same thing here. Went to AT&T and picked up a nano SIM and stuck it in the Verizon phone. Called AT&T to get it all activated and the phone works great, but no data unless I’m hooked to wireless. Did you find a way to get the data working?

    • http://twitter.com/tarnoff Jeffrey Tarnoff

      All Verizon 4G LTE phones are sold unlocked. It was an agreement between Verizon & the FCC…

  • http://twitter.com/rexexdesign Alexander Reimann

    I don’t have LTE in my home area yet but with AT&T 4G I’m getting 7.9Mbps so not too bad!

    • flyingember

      Verizon, AT&T and Sprint have it in Kansas City. I don’t notice a real difference in LTE on my ipad vs HSPA+. Compared to 3g GSM there’s a big difference with both.

  • robb

    u sure any sim r mabe only ATT sim try a tmobile

  • http://twitter.com/aomia syler

    i was under the impression that verizon didn’t use sim cards. ie CDMA as att is GSM. its good that apple is making a phone that can be used on any network with out having to be jailbroken.

    • MPD01605

      The 4S worked on any network, too. But if you had a Verizon or Sprint phone, you couldn’t use AT&T or T-Mobile SIMs. If you had a foreign SIM, though, you’d roam on AT&T. And Verizon 4G phones use SIMs, yes, but I’m not sure to what extent they need them yet.

    • flyingember

      They’ve used SIMs for years. I touched my first Verizon SIM back in 2007.

      Then it was only for global coverage, now they’re required for LTE to function.

      • jouva

        lol what the fuck you talking about? CDMA does NOT use SIM cards. LTE does, but CDMA DOES NOT AND NEVER HAS

      • Sigivald

        “only for global coverage”, he said.

        Almost like he wasn’t talking about CDMA, but GSM for out-of-US use, where CDMA is staggeringly unpopular.

        “lol”, indeed.

      • Guest

        exactly. Go look at a map of Europe. The closest country that uses CDMA is Israel.

        How do you think a Verizon phone works overseas, they add a GSM radio.

      • flyingember

        Go look at a map of Europe. The closest country that uses CDMA is Israel.

        How do you think a Verizon phone works overseas, they add a GSM radio.

    • flyingember

      and Apple is not making a phone that can function on any network. There’s still no true global phone.

      For example, there’s a company down in Mexico using iDEN still. (What Nextel used)

  • carolinamic

    So is there any news on the Sprint version??

    • charlie christ

      If anyone wants to unlock a phone with carrier ATT, go google att iphone unlocking, I believe the first one was the one I used, and they unlock all ATT phone up to date, just did my iphone 5.

      • zuzanna dabrowska

        It’s actually attiphoneunlocking, tried many of them for several phones, this one is the fastest, price is all about the same.

      • harper

        I tried to unlock my 4s by using unlockiphonefast org, but it took them 5 weeks to do it, and after I restart my phone, it’s locked again. Just so you folks know, be careful while picking unlocking sites.

  • Daniel Hernández

    Now that we know that the Verizon iPhone 5 comes unlacked will it be usable on LTE network for AT&T?

    • flyingember

      no, you will have to buy the correct brand model for LTE support. There’s three variants of the 5 for LTE around the world, none of them do any network.

      Basically, LTE is a mess on frequencies until phones can drop older techs there’s too much variety for one device to do it all and be small and sleek.

      • Daniel Hernández

        Cool! Good to know.
        Thank you for the info.;-)

      • Daniel Hernández

        I meant cool that you know so much, but it’s really a shame that we can’t use the iPhone 5 on all the carriers. :-(

  • PathKiller29

    there’s obviously a reason why they have different versions… so if this works on verizon + ATT, why do they sell the different version?? Also, if you put in an ATT sim does talk & surf enable? or is that still disabled?

    • flyingember

      There’s three variants of the 5 for LTE around the world, none of them do any network.

      Verizon and AT&T have different frequencies and no model does both Verizon and AT&T coverage. Notice how this phone didn’t do AT&T LTE.

      With the 4S they made one model for both networks

      • PathKiller29

        so its all LTE stuff that splits it up?
        Also, i do know an unlocked ATT 4s will not work on CDMA, i believe same goes for iPhone 5 so…

      • Rajat

        All versions have GSM, EDGE, UMTS, HSPA+ support. They differ in LTE bands. Also, the AT&T version does not support CDMA. The 4S was one device with GSM, CDMA, EDGE, UMTS etc.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=605481945 Esther Choi

        It’s more about the fact that verizon/sprint won’t accept phones that aren’t sold with their branding. It’s the carrier, not the phone.

      • http://twitter.com/brendan09 Brendan Lee

        iPhones aren’t sold with their branding. At all.

        It’s the phones, the hardware is different with regards to LTE and CDMA radios. Verizon/Sprint have CDMA radios and the LTE bands supported are different. Because of antenna tuning, you can’t put certain LTE bands on the same antenna (the antenna extends to inside the chip, so it’s not as easy as ‘run another antenna’. To solve this, you make 2 different phones. Notice how the Verizon iPhone will work with all AT&T networks, except LTE. We’ve had ‘global’ phones that support AT&T and Verizon 3G for a few years. In fact, that chip was used in the 4S. The 4 didn’t have that chip because the AT&T version was announced 7-8 months before Verizon got the iPhone. It’s more expensive to include the chip, so they didn’t in the initial version. It has everything to do with hardware. Apple dictates the terms to carriers on how and when they can carry the iPhone. There is no where that sells an iPhone in anything but stock packaging from Apple. No stickers, labels, custom boxes, etc.

        It’s up to the carriers if the ones they sell are locked to their network. Verizon can’t (for legal reasons) lock the SIM card slot on devices that support the bands of LTE that they do. Therefore, Verizon iPhones work on AT&T, just not LTE.

  • flyingember

    If you don’t like HSPA+ being 4G, then neither is LTE. Both were bumped up to 4G status in December 2010.

    • narg

      All the “2G”, “3G”, “4G” stuff is a non-standard marketing term anyway. Stop trying to over analyse it.

    • randomguy48

      Incorrect LTE is a new technology and is the 4the generation of technology. HSDPA is just an improvement on the third generation technology to give it the same speeds as LTE

  • chjode

    Neat! I wonder if Verizon will let me buy an iPhone 5 without service so I can use it on AT&T, T-Mobile, or Verizon depending on who gets the best service in my area. Anyone know if they’ll do this?

    • Rajat

      I doubt it. If you’re a current customer, I guess you could buy full-price off-contract. If you’re patient, you could just wait for the unlocked full-price version, that might come out in a month of so, what past experience shows.

      • chjode

        Darn. I’m waiting for the unlocked version (I’m guessing four weeks from today), but I thought perhaps I could get one at Verizon and use it on AT&T/T-Mobile 3G (there’s no LTE around here for any provider, so that doesn’t matter to me). Oh, well. Back to the waiting game.

      • Rajat

        Well, you *could* just go to the store and ask if they’d let you. Or, you could buy one, pay the first month fee, then pay the ETF, cancel service and walk away. Probably cost the same as unlocked assuming ETF: $350 + Phone: $199 + One month service $90 + activation fee vs Full Price: $649.

      • http://twitter.com/MA5NETO Bruce T. Wayne

        Or pay full retail and get month to month service ( you have to have a voice plan). Then cancel that day. Costs = Cost of phone + Activation fee + % of service used.

      • http://www.facebook.com/setsuna James C. Wu

        Or walk into an Apple Store and buy one at full price like I did on the first day

      • http://twitter.com/MA5NETO Bruce T. Wayne

        Without a voice plan??

      • http://twitter.com/GoodnightLA Simon Little

        walk into which Apple Store and buy full price? £529 in the UK, is it $649 in the US? I’m travelling to the states from the UK in Oct and hoping to purchase an unlocked ’5′

      • http://www.facebook.com/crisgil17 Cristobal Gil

        Why not just buy the phone for retail price? Saves the trouble. of all that. But anyways, would they charge more for an unlocked iPhone 5? Because seeing as the Verizon version is already unlocked then buying it from them would be a smarter option than waiting a bit more and spending the extra money. Unless it’s the same price?

      • http://twitter.com/consign4money Consign4Money

        The Verizon isn’t unlocked. It is GSM unlocked. Meaning only the GSM part of the connectivity options below is unlocked.

        Wi-Fi (802.11 a/b/g/n) (802.11n: 2.4 and 5 GHz), Bluetooth 4.0,GPS & GLONASS, Quad-bandGSM/GPRS/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz), Quad-bandUMTS/HSDPA+/DC-HSDPA(850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz). •GSM model (A1428):
        Dual-band 4G LTE (Bands 4, 17: 1700 (AWS), 700b MHz). • GSM model (A1429):
        Tri-band 4G LTE (Bands 1, 3, 5: 2100, 1800, 850 MHz). • CDMA model (A1429):
        Tri-band 2G CDMA (800 (CDMA over ESMR), 850, 1900 MHz).
        Dual-band 3G CDMA/EV-DO Rev. A and Rev. B (850, 1900 MHz).
        Penta-band 4G LTE (Bands 1, 3, 5, 13, 25: 2100, 1800, 850, 700c, 1900 MHz).

    • http://www.facebook.com/AfterburnerGTP Korey Mayo

      yes but youd have to pay full price for the phone with out a contract which is like $500 more!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chris-Castillo/727372462 Chris Castillo

    so, can i use it with another carrier? if a buy it on verzion off contract?

    • No Whammy

      Did you read the article?

  • AmitAvner

    I travel a lot. When I go to a GSM country I can buy a local SIM and
    put it in the unlocked Verizon phone and use it as my main phone.
    That’s awesome. But I want to have a secondary phone, to receive calls
    on my US number. If I get a nano to SIM adaptor, will the Verizon
    global SIM work on any GSM phone so I can receive calls?

  • ibrahim abid

    So basically I can pop in any sim internationally in a Verizon iPhone 5 and it will ve atleast 3G connectivity and normal GSM phone call options??

    • http://twitter.com/consign4money Consign4Money

      NO. There are numerous kings of GSM, if the carrier frequency isn’t one of the supported GSM freq. bands on the phone, its like you found a key to a door in your house, and wonder if it will open any door.

  • mnm0071980

    Oh man, I got my iPhone today and my mom is due for an upgrade soon. I might as well buy an iPhone with her upgrade and sell it to any one who has AT&T or T-Mobile, or even Verizon. Good won for people who want to make money.

  • mnm0071980

    Also, does this mean it works with Sprint?

  • http://www.abstractwankery.com oZ

    LTE Standard, as launched by AT&T and Verizon, is not true 4G, either. So, if you’re going to laugh at HSPA+ being 4G, lump anything that isn’t LTE-Advanced in there as well.

  • Matt

    awesome! i’ve had verizon for a year and few months and didnt like the fact that i had to use another device while i was in europe for few weeks. now i cant wait to get my i5 even more now! :)

  • Nidaye

    Would you mind sharing how you modified your micro SIM? I need to use my iPhone 5 on China Mobile, who hasn’t started offering nano SIMs.

  • http://www.facebook.com/andrej.krajnc Andrej Krajnc

    Do you have to activate VZW iPhone5 on their network first, in order to use it with other GSM networks, or it can be activated via GSM?

    • David Hope

      Hi Andrej. Did you find out the answer to this? I really want to know!

  • Mario

    can the altered sim fit into the nano sim tray if you sand the bottom to 6.8mm?

  • ic0dex

    So if I use an ATT sim in my Verizon iPhone 5 will I get LTE from ATT or only 3G/4G?

    • No Whammy

      Trying reading the article.

    • http://twitter.com/consign4money Consign4Money

      scroll up and read any two lines of the article. then sit on your thumb and twirl idiot.

      • ic0dex

        I just read the two lines and your mom came by and sat on my dick and twirled around on it. By the way she just said hi to you :) enjoy your gay day bitch!

  • http://twitter.com/crystalneth Alex Neth

    This makes Verizon even more compelling, but if it can run on LTE and 3G, why can’t we do data and voice simultaneously? That’s a deal killer for me and many others. Anyone know if this will be fixed with software in the future?

  • http://twitter.com/gjimeno gjimeno

    I think the most important question is: Does it do voice/data same time on the 3G/LTE network if it is not Verizon?

    • attiphoneunlocking.com

      <——- We can help you Unlock your At&T iPhone. Super fast, professional iPhone unlocking service. This is a Permanent unlock like a factory Unlocking.

  • LOLVERIZON

    LOL! The Iphone 5 on At&t is GSM to boot… and you can talk and surf the web at the same time…. and it’s LTE… We are in 3000 more cities than Verizon. Plus your customer service blows. Grats.

  • http://blog2.digitzero.com FireFish

    Same is true with the current iPad; stick an AT&T SIM into the Verizon model and it works.

    *** BUT *** – The one caveat is that you WILL NOT BE ABLE to get AT&T LTE coverage using a Verizon iPad or iPhone with an AT&T SIM. Reason: AT&T and Verizon operate their LTE networks on completely different spectrums. AT&T operates LTE on the 2100 MHz frequency whereas Verizon devices aren’t radio equipped with a 2100 MHz capable receiver.

    • http://www.facebook.com/cestradapaiva Carlos Estrada

      That is exactly what I got, and with both phones using the AT&T sim, side to side, the AT&T is faster.

    • chadbag

      Not exactly true. Any Verizon device that also supports international UMTS has a 2100mhz capable radio. Just not an LTE capable radio at 2100MHZ.

  • http://profiles.google.com/faizan.amjad86 Faizan Amjad

    Correct me if I am wrong but this is awesome!

  • Emre SÜMENGEN

    I see you don’t recommend it, but does cutting your micro-sim to nano sizes work? And rather more, how about cutting a normal sim into nano size?

    (Here, carriers will not start distributing nano sims for a month or so…)

  • Miguel Meza

    i got a AT&T iPhone 5 wonder if they sold there unlock. Anyone try it with a T-Mobile phone?

    • http://www.facebook.com/ell.ell.3 Ell O Ell

      I purchased a AT&T iPhone 5 and tried this with my T-Mobile plan and it doesn’t work (Invalid SIM error).

      • http://www.facebook.com/setsuna James C. Wu

        AT&T phones are locked to AT&T. You have to get their device support to unlock it first before you can attempt to use it. And that is assuming you have a nano-sim for T-Mobile.

      • No Whammy

        Correct. Verizon is the only carrier shipping unlocked phones…because they’re required to by the FCC.

        The band they purchased for LTE a few years back had open network access as one of their stipulations…that’s also the reason tethering is free on Verizon LTE phones.

  • http://www.facebook.com/johntasinas John Tasinas

    is there anyway to get this to work with LTE on ATT?

    • No Whammy

      No.

  • FutureMedia

    Did my whole lonig post get rejected?

  • Rick

    I have mine working with tmoble perfectly just by cutting the prepaid sim card took 3 minutes
    You do not have to shave the sim it will work as is

    • Max

      Does it get 4G speeds on t-mobile? Or is it still Edge?

  • Rick

    This is a full price Verizon phone cost $700

  • David Madison

    Originally that sim card on Verizon was only for data, not for phone calls – have you tried actually making a phone call on another network?

    • Briju Haha

      I did try them! worked flawlessly :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/gregorski Maciek Gregorski

    H2o works as well

  • root root

    why would verizon care if you use it with AT&T? you are still under contract with Verizon. Do you want to pay for 2 phone bills?

  • http://twitter.com/dj7u Daniel Jacobs

    Problem is the Verizon & Sprint iPhone 5 won’t talk on speakerphone and browse on web at the same time like the AT&T version, or does it allow talk and web since you’re using only the GSM part now?

    • No Whammy

      You’re correct. Actually though, AT&T technically can’t do that on their LTE network. On AT&T voice+data happens on their 3G network.

  • ongxadayne

    There not lock them anymore. there not gonna make gavi or r sim make money of iphone anymore.if your iphone is lock ia $15.00 for factory unlock on ebay.

  • http://twitter.com/TechnoGarrett Garrett

    But the question is can a AT&T iPhone work with version?

    • ongxadayne

      iphone4s and 5 has spec to work both when it unlock.
      get your friend verizon iphone4s sim put in your unlock iphone4s.att
      you see verizon.

  • Nic Meredith

    So has anyone tried this with a UK nano SIM? I travel to the UK for a month a year and need my phone to work on my UK pre-paid SIM.

    • ongxadayne

      read iphone5 spec it say work with your uk when it unlock.and any sim .
      any country.that has spec of iphone5.

  • Dong

    So if I get a nano SIM card from a Korean carrier, can my iPhone 5 get LTE as long as the carrier is GSM?

  • Susan

    My ETF with T-Mobile is high right now. I want the iPhone 5 and I am thinking about starting a low data contract with Vz until I want to term Tmo. Has anybody gotten a Vz iPhone 5, put in a Tmo SIMM, and tested iMessage and hotspot capability of the i5 on T-Mobile?

  • Mitchell Wettig

    I upgraded to an iPhone 5 through verizon and I moved to Germany with the impression that I’d be able to use it here. Not the case at all. What do I have to do to be able to it? How to I change the SIM to another service provider?

  • citrussaturation

    can you buy the phone fullprice from verizon under their month-to-month contracts and just pay for one month, then stop…?

  • Mahyar Rezghi

    Hi all, Someone wants to send me a Verizon iPhone 5
    from U.S.A and I don’t know if I can use it in Iran or no!!!! If no
    which iPhone 5 can be used in Iran?

    PLS HELP ME!

    I mean because someone said me Verizon is CDMA and i’m using Irancell wich
    is GSM! is there anyone who tested Verizon iPhone 5 in asia?!