What it Means to Have an Unlocked iPhone 4S on Sprint and Verizon

There has been some confusion as of late over just how both Sprint and Verizon are handling the unlocking of the SIM card slots inside their iPhone 4S handsets. Initial reports, beginning with Macworld, stated that Sprint’s hardware would come pre-unlocked, and Verizon’s could be unlocked by the carrier assuming the customer’s account is in good standing, and at least 60 days old.

From there, things all got a bit murky, at least on the Sprint front. While Macworld apparently had it spot on with regards to Verizon, it seems their guy at Sprint wasn’t telling the full story. Yes, the SIM slot on the iPhone 4S can be unlocked, but it wouldn’t actually be unlocked from minute one. Or, rather, it would, but then won’t.

Yep, it makes perfect sense…

What it all boils down to is this: Sprint’s handsets will actually ship, unlocked, and users could in theory put any SIM card they wanted into their iPhone 4S. Thing is, Sprint will then be sending out a software update that will lock the aforementioned slot. Quite how that will happen, we’re not sure, but happen it will.

Users can then request an unlock, again assuming you’ve paid all your bills.

“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.”

It’s another twist in the CDMA SIM unlocking saga, but it looks like we might have a definitive answer this time around.

Will you be getting your SIM slots unlocked, or will you use the card your carrier provides, should you venture out into the outside world?