Unlocked iPhone 5s 03

It looks like we’re 2 for 2 when it comes to unlocked iPhones on Verizon’s network. As you all know, I picked up my Verizon iPhone 5s on launch day, but I haven’t been able to test it out with a GSM sim card until today.

I walked into Walgreens just a few hours ago, and picked up one of T-Mobile’s No Annual Contract kits that contains the SIM card starter kit. Unfortunately the SIM card that came with the kit was one of the old-school normal sized SIM cards (people still use those?), so I had to break out a pair of scissors and cut it down.

After a few minutes of manicuring the SIM card down to a nano size, I was ready to rock and roll. I popped out my Verizon SIM, inserted my T-Mobile SIM, and sure enough, I was on T-Mobile’s “4G” network.

While it says 4G in the status bar, it’s really just HSPA+. I don’t have T-Mobile LTE in my area yet. The good news is that, unlike the iPhone 5, the iPhone 5s should work with GSM LTE bands.

This is obviously good news for those of you who plan to travel and own an iPhone 5s. You don’t have to worry about going through the hassle of unlocking, because it already is. Verizon has been pretty good about this for the last few years, and it’s good to see that they’re not changing their ways.

Unlocked iPhone 5s

What’s your current situation with your iPhone 5s? Is it unlocked, or locked on a particular carrier?

  • Yes people still use those large sized sims.. (At least in Pakistan) Becoz v need to keep old Nokia black n white phones with us when we go out.. If v go out with iPhone, it will get stolen on gunpoint :p

    • Jose Gonzalez

      That’s crazy if true!

      • iHamzaDev

        It’s true. Ive seen it happen a lot

      • kayla

        It is sadly.

      • Guest

        What if someone gifts me a locked iphone 5s which is bought in usa but I have to use it in india? Can I use it here in India?

        And what is this 2-year contract? What happens to the phone after the contract gets over?

  • Andrew Brown

    This is no surprise as if they didn’t leave it unlocked they would be violating a FCC order to not lock phones anymore (or at least the phones on LTE which is almost everything nowadays)

  • Martijn Schoemaker

    How bad… I’m from The Netherlands and had my last day in The States on launch day. At Verizon store they told me that the 5S wasn’t unlocked, so I didn’t buy one; didn’t want to take the risk that it shouldn’t work.

    • MPD01605

      They’d never admit to it. I had activation problems with my Verizon 5S but couldn’t get past the main activation screen so I had to use my T-Mobile NL SIM card to trick the phone. Worked fine.

    • IronMan

      I spoke to the customer care and they said the gsm is unlocked since iphone5!

  • Ayush Rathi

    T-mobile 4g provides just 2.07 Mbps speed?
    In India all network operators provide the basic 3G speeds of 3.6 Mbps

    • MPD01605

      I’ve found that 3G speeds in lots of parts of the world far exceed those in the US.

    • chris125

      all will depend on the area and how many people are on the network. That does seem pretty low even for TMO

      • Ayush Rathi

        i know it depends on all those factors but still while on HSPA+ network( or the so called “4G” on T-Mobile) should atleast be 10Mbps( as its theoritical speeds is arnd 21Mbps). my carrier doesnt have the HSPA+ network in my area but where it has it claims to give atleast 14Mbps.

    • ash

      Ayush I am indian.I will be coming to USA bext montg for 15 days..can u suggest me how to buy iphone5s and use in india?

      • Ayush Rathi

        You can buy the Unlocked version of iphone 5s available from $649 onwards from the apple store or any other store offering the same by paying the full amount at once. But beware the the model available in the US wont support the indian 4g bands because i guess the model no available in US is A1533/A1453 whereas India will get the model no. A1530
        so if u dont want to use 4G when its available in the future then u can buy it from the US

      • Gaurav

        BUT no point in buying $649 phone right ? At almost same price you are getting it in India. Is it possible to unlock the $200 phone with wireless service plan in India ??

    • Santiago Vo

      T-Mobile USA HSPA+ is 42 Mbps.

    • Adil Ghanchi

      I have T-mobile 4G and I consistantly get 10 to 15 Mbps here in Austin. So, whoever told you about 2.07 Mbps is simply wrong.

  • Eni

    so if i buy an iphone 5s at verizon i can use the phone with the european SIM?

    • MPD01605

      Yes. I’ve confirmed it with 3 UK and T-Mobile NL cards.

      • Eni

        really? is just like the unlocked one

      • Thanks for the clarification, I just got an iPhone 5S (Verizon) off ebay and I’m looking to use it with 3-UK. Any issues during activation with this SIM?

  • ✪ aidan harris ✪

    “While it says 4G in the status bar, it’s really just HSPA+. I don’t have T-Mobile LTE in my area yet. The good news is that, unlike the iPhone 5, the iPhone 5s should work with GSM LTE bands.”

    I don’t like how networks refer to HSPA+ as 4G, especially since its not that much better than 3G. In fact correct me if I’m wrong but don’t a lot of people refer to HSPA+ as 3.5G?

  • João Aguiar

    But do we have to sign a contract with verizon or am i free to use the phone with any SIM card? I’m from europe but I’m currently in the USA…

    • TesticularFortitude

      I bought my 5s contract free on verizon by paying full price like Jeff did.

      • rememberme

        ohhh so its only unlocked cause you bought it contract free

      • TesticularFortitude

        No.. It came unlocked… I think they’re all unlocked.

      • chris125

        it is unlocked regardless of paying full price or not. The difference is if you sign a contract you are stuck paying a monthly fee to verizon for 2 years or have to pay the ETF

      • andrybong

        Do I have to activate the 5s on USA if I am going to use it in another country. I live in Venezuela.

      • Matt


    • Ayush Jain

      after purchasing it with the 2 year contract(verizon) in USA i’ll take it to India and use my domestic carrier there. are there any problems related to this process as in after taking out the verizon sim they’ll lock my phone or before the 2 year contract they’ll lock it?

  • iydomngz

    ? support LTE?

  • rememberme

    Thats really amazing

  • Cody Cutrer

    Again, no surprise. All Verizon phones on LTE are required by FCC mandate to be unlocked (it was part of the deal when Verizon acquired the spectrum for LTE). And guess what? Those Verizon phones on LTE are also the ones with SIM cards, cause LTE is a GSM standard.

    • Matt

      Thank god someone realizes that LTE is a GSM standard/offshoot.

  • Manu Bulteau

    I thougt there was 2 different models of iPhone 5s. One CDMA (Verizon, Sprint) and one GSM (AT&T, T-Mobile). Am I wrong?

    • Rowan09

      On the 5s it’s one phone, actually since the 4S Apple made only one iPhone for version and they either enable it for Sprint/Verizon/AT&T/T-mobile, etc. Even on the 4s for Sprint and Verizon you were able to use them with a GSM provider with a little hack.

    • Boltar

      Not completely. That was true for the 5 — the model numbers (and radios) for Verizon/Sprint were different from those for ATT/T-Mobile.

      Now, however, with the 5s and 5c, the model numbers (and radios) for ATT, Verizon, and T—Mobile are identical (but Sprint is different). So a Verizon phone is hardware-identical to an ATT iPhone 5s/c. As was mentioned before, Verizon is forbidden from locking any device they sell which uses the 700c block under the terms of the auction at which it was acquired. However, ATT and T-Mobile are not barred from locking (they didn’t buy spectrum in the affected auction); so ATT iPhones remain locked and I believe T-Mobile as well.

      What remains to be seen is whether an ATT/T-Mobile iPhone 5s/c can be used on Verizon’s network. Not for any hardware reason, but because it’s not clear if Verizon would allow it.

      All of which could be cleared up and would increase competition both for mobile carrier service and for handset hardware, if only Congress would ban hardware locking, or at least require unlocking on full discharge of contract responsibilities. But of course good luck with that.

      • Bob Forsberg

        ATT unlocked my iPhone 5 when my contract was up.

      • Boltar

        Yes, and I understand that’s the most common scenario. But their web site and contract info is full of disclaimers indicating that they may require you to produce the original receipt and asserting that they are under no obligation to unlock a customer’s phone. And that terms may be unilaterally changed at any time.

      • Pookeye

        its funny this article gives props for Verizon, problem is, it wasnt intended, it was accidental… they bought the spectrum and must have been like.. oh Sh!te i forgot i cant lock it…. %)*%)@#%(@ oh well.. we can pretend that we are giving our users a service.. the fact of the matter is, FCC mandated it, so they dont really deserve any props on that matter.. it was forced on them…

      • Boltar

        Props, no, you’re right. However, they didn’t apparently fight it, well, at least not successfully ;-), so I think it’s worth acknowledging that the fact that they are selling an unlocked phone is worth some preferential consideration by potential customers.

      • Pookeye

        oh totally agree, i would rather give my money to verizon just because its unlocked straight out of the box. rather than deal with the hassle of unlocked or whatever… its a pain in the butt, and I understand that you want to lock me as a customer to a contract, which is fine, but least give it to me unlocked so when i travel overseas i dont have any issues.. the thing is, companies dont want them to buy subsidize and use it with another network, but with early termination contracts, why would that matter? especially since ETF will end up paying for the subsidies… so locking it just seems more of a pain to me..

      • Ayush Jain

        what if I take it overseas throw the Verizon sim 😛 and use my domestic GSM carrier? Will Verizon lock my phone ???

      • Pookeye

        As long as you have Verizon Iphone, it is unlocked and will work perfect overseas with local gsm

      • Ayush Jain

        forever? as in if i’ll not pay verizon nothing more than $200 then too? xD lol

      • natia

        interesting question, i also want to know it 😀 😀

    • raulismusic

      In the US there are two models for the 5C and 5S. AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon share the same model, and sprint has there own model with a couple of extra bands.

    • Nick Halderman

      The replies here are mistaken–you were correct. The CDMA phone does indeed have a radio that isn’t present in the GSM phone. They are physically different.

  • Adrian

    Can I buy an iPhone from the web of Apple Store, pay $200 for the iPhone 5S Of Verizon, and use it in another country? It’s unlocked? I don’t have To pay $699 on carrier free?
    Sorry for my bad english

    • Bob Forsberg

      $200 is with contract. $699 is without contract. The difference is what the carrier pays Apple to get you as a customer for 2 years.

    • chris125

      you can pay the 200 but you will have to pay the monthly fee to verizon for 2 years if you get it at that price, which the $699 will be cheaper over the 2 years than even the cheapest verizon plan

      • Sunny Lee

        With the contract, we cannot keep our previous unlimited data plan, right?

      • samtuker

        Hey Chris, i see that Verizon offers a plan for 40$ per month, with 500mb of data. Combined with using WiFi, it seems that this would suffice most users. If you buy a iPhone for the full price, can you suggest what may be cheaper way to go.

      • chris125

        Unless you have wifi everywhere you are at that 500mb will go super quick.

      • samtuker

        Can you suggest a carrier if you have an unlocked phone?

    • Beto C.

      No you will have to sign a 2 year contract with Verizon, they require you to sign a contract, and if you try to leave Verizon, you’ll have to pay a ETF (Early Termination Fee) and they are really expensive fees.

  • Timothy

    Can anyone tell me if the Verizon iPhone 5s will work on AT&T as well? I assume it would because of it being GSM enabled, but I want to make sure from someone who has used the Verizon iPhone on AT&T.

    • raulismusic

      Yes but it will only be 4G HSPA+ and yes I know the 5S and C are suppose to be fully unlocked, but since AT&T does not have Verizon models registered on the network they will be limiting you to HSPA+.
      AT&T screwing users again, even though its now phisically possible to have LTE work on AT&T. I gurantee Jeff will find out sooner then later and report on this. I did this on launch day I have a Verizon 5C and 5S, I have my verizon 5C on AT&T and it works on LTE now, but it won’t work without some special tweaks : )

  • Chris Castillo

    Do you guys know if the verizon iphone 5s works on networks in mexico? Or if the t-mobile unlocked version does?, i know that both of them are the a1533 gsm model and have compatibility with 4 (AWS) 17 (700b MHz) lte bands that are used in mexico, but im not sure if they will, any tips that wich one should i buy?

    • Mykle

      They are the same models. So, just check the specs and compare them to the bands in Mexico. I believe this model would work fine in Mexico

    • raulismusic

      Get the Verizon model trust me on this as it’s fully unlocked

      • Ayush Jain

        the verizon model with the 2 year contract ? @Raul Henriquez

      • Yes and works in Mexico

      • Ayush Jain

        ok are there any problems after your contract ends ?

      • No the 5s on verizon is universally unlocked. If it’s reported stolen it won’t work.

      • Ayush Jain

        and who’ll report it stolen?

    • Matt

      The T-mo unlocked version definitely does.

  • RarestName

    I can remember the video of the phone where there was a piece of tape sticking out of the side.

  • Leo De Crescenzo

    Plese help me! If I buy the Verizon iPhone 5s, full price, I must activate the phone with the Verizon CDMA SIM card BEFORE inserting my GSM local carrier card? Or if I bring it to my country uncactivated I’ll be able to activate it with my GSM sim card as well?

    • raulismusic

      Does not matter but you still have to activate it no matter what before verizon even considers selling you an iPhone5S

      • Ammar Malhas

        So what is the answer? Does it need a Verison SIM to register/activate/unlock it or can we do that with any SIM card from any part of the world?

    • Ayush Jain

      Customers must activate pre–installed SIM Card and a Global Service plan or feature to enable roaming outside of the U.S. in GSM and UMTS Network.

  • Gustavo Adolfo Mirabal

    Can this phone be used in another country with local GSM carriers?

  • John Malcov

    if you need to permanent unlock your iphone i suggest you to use NewUnlockiPhone net..great support and small prices

  • Jerry

    You should of realized the size of the sim card on the box lol. but hey atleast you know how to cut it down so it doesn’t make a difference. I think the only place to get the nano sims are at official tmobiles stores because don’t they only work on iphones? So I doubt commercial stores are going to carry iphone specific sim cards and if they do probably very limited.

  • BlueStar

    Since the iPhone 5S model is the same across Verizon/AT&T/T-mobile, do the phones come unlocked on all three carriers or only Verizon?

  • All US iPhones are the same model number, that should have tipped everyone off to the fact that the unlocked CDMA and GSM versions are infact the same this time around.

  • Michael Anthony Fontanez

    I can confirm that the Verizon 5s works on T-Mobile LTE so it should work on other GSM LTE carriers. 🙂

    • Ayush Jain

      overseas too? @michaelanthonyfontanez:disqus
      i’ll buy it with the 2 year contract

  • Murat Özakat

    I’m planning to buy an iPhone for Verizon because factory unlock iPhone 5S is not release yet. I read that there is a sms problem on iPhone for Verizon or Sprint. Is there anybody who experiences similar that problem?

  • Parag Arora

    Can v use iphone 5s t-mobile one which is available for 649$ in india

  • mickyimp

    But verizon won’t sell you a phone if you don’t have an account with them if I’m not mistaken.

  • vicjang

    I just tried my AT&T SIM card on a Verizon 5s(still on contract). It only gives me 4G. No LTE. (There is complete LTE coverage here, I have a 5 connected to AT&T LTE right next to it.)

    Anyone care to explain? Or even provide a solution?

    • Ayush Jain

      hey will give me service overseas too? ^
      and any problems after your Contract ends ?

  • Lusien Dimov

    I bought an Iphone 5s for Verizon (CDMA) and I can not use it because it is still locked,I can not even activate it because I do not have a Verizon account.I want to use the phone with european sim card but when I put this sim card it doesnt recognise the new number,it is showing the Verizon’s old number from the first card.What can I do in this situation,what do you think is it realy locked ? :S

  • vicjang

    I tried AT&T sim card on Verizon device. Couldn’t get LTE signal. Anyone know why?

  • Aaron

    I can confirm that Verizon Iphone 5c works on Att LTE network! The 5s will work on Att LTE as well.

  • Timothy J Thomas

    I got my iPhone 5s yesterday from Verizon. Woot Woot it did come unlocked. I put a t-mobile sim card in it and it worked great. I then put my Rodgers sim card in it and Bam it worked.

  • Thomas Woods

    Verizon iPhone 5s is unlocked, supports hspa, UMTS over seas and quad band LTE in North America. That’s good enough for me.
    🙂 I love my 64 GB silver 5s.

    • Ayush Jain

      hey @disqus_I2fdcUVdPZ:disqus …..Do u have the verizon iPhone 5S with the 2 year contract?

  • desha

    if i upgrade on my verizon account to a 5c — do you think that i could put my sprint SIM card in it & it will work?

  • . レov乇 19 .

    Im locked on another carrier 🙁 can you help me?

  • Ashish

    What if someone gifts me a locked iphone 5s which is bought in usa but I have to use it in india? Can I use it here in India?

    And what is this 2-year contract? What happens to the phone after the contract gets over?

  • Sameer Chhabra

    What if i buy a $200 iPhone with Verizon and use it in India. Do i still have to pay Verizon each month for two years?


      You can always buy it for 200 than cancel the contract…idk how much they charge to cancel the contract but probably around $500 so it’s pointless…just buy it with the cheapest possible plan they have maybe like 10-15 bux a month if u want to get it for 200

      • Ayush Jain

        and what if i don’t pay this ? 😛
        I take it overseas to India and use it there. Will Verizon lock my phone in that case ?

  • Officialimeiunlock.com

    unlock iphone verizon 5c/5s/5 only $100 at our website check it out!


      why would somebody pay to unlock verizon when they come unlocked? smh

  • Wajahat Ali Al Hussaini

    I been to pakistan n two phones yes two. An iphone n htc sensation next time i wil nokia 3310 with me

  • Ben Muyal

    Is it unlocked to all carriers? I need to use it outside the US. Thanks!


      if a phone is unlocked it’s unlocked for everything. so you’ll be good using it out of the country. i used my unlocked iphone 5 out of the country on Alfa service and it worked fine

    • Ben Muyal

      Thanks! So just to be clear, all verizon 5s iphones should be already unlocked, right?

  • Natavia Vorshell Bratcher

    I have a iphone 5c with Verizon; n I want to go prepaid; do you know if the 5c is already unlocked as well?


    good. i just ordered my verizon 5S from my dads company (get verizon for free) and i don’t use verizon so i’m happy i don’t have to unlock it now =]

  • Alexandr Averkiyev

    finger print sensor works, man!!!! Just first u have to set up your fingerprint in settings (I also was surprised)

  • diana

    My boyfriend bought me a brand new, sealed in box iphone 5s from a guy on craigslist. We made sure that it wasn’t stolen or blacklisted and went ahead and made the purchase. We then found out that it was a Verizon phone (originally we thought it was AT&T and was planning to ask them to unlock it for us but that didn’t happen). So we saw this post, since Verizon is “unlocked” I was excited that I am able to use it on my T-Mobile service. So, we opened it. We turned it on and tried to activate it… but then it popped up this different cellular device number (the original owner?) saying that we need the billing zip code and last 4 social security number …which in no way…we don’t think we can get… Did anyone have this problem activating your Verizon phone? Did you have to enter your zip code and last 4 ssn? We are so screwed if there’s no solution…sigh..

    • Ibrahim Moizoos

      not sure if you fixed it, but the only way i found out to fix it was to change the network operators

      • Julian Delgado

        Hi Ibrahim, I sold my sealed iPhone 5s that i got by extending my contact for another 2 years, and realized that the buyer might get stuck at this zip and SSN activation.
        How did you bypass that screen? When you change the network it juststops asking for that information or there’s more to it, can you please elaborate a little bit more?
        I don’t want to give my personal info to buyer unless I have to.

        Thanks in advance!

  • ryan

    I have a iphone 5 for Verizon i want to go to at&t can i just put my sims card in it and it work

  • bryanna kokaly

    Okay so, I am unfortunately having a misunderstanding! I get to upgrade to the Iphone 5s in a couple of weeks, ( on a contract) But, I am leaving for Italy in a few months to live. The phone really comes unlocked? If so, what SIM card do I need to get in order to use it in Italy? Please help!

  • Ted Bukowski

    Does anyone know if an iPhone 5 will work in Albania?

  • jul

    this may sound like a dumb question, but I’m about to move to the us for 2 years of college, I was thinking about buying an iphone 6 once it gets out , with contract which is cheaper and will also give me a data plan. But how does that work once I go back to europe for holidays or once I move back permanently? Will I be able to use my phone with an european provider? And How does the “unlocking” work exactly?

  • akshay

    If i buy an iphone 5s at verizon, can i use it in india as well after unlocking it?

  • Kaylove1414

    Can this also work with the iPhone 5c???

  • danielgartin6993 .

    So that means that whenever my aunt’s contract expires on her gold iPhone 5s which is from Verizon and she gives it to me just swap the SIM card out for the T-Mobile one and it will work And also even if it is activation locked,she told me the password so no problems there either