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  • Unlocked iPhone 4S - *Will Be GSM Only*

    The unlocked iPhone 4S will be available in the U.S. in November of 2011; unlocked iPhone 4's just went on sale in June of 2011.

    This morning, Apple's website was bombarded with preorders for the iPhone 4S. Possibly to help reduce traffic and make consumers think twice, Apple quietly added to their website today that if you wait until November you can get yourself an unlocked, contract free iPhone that will work on any GSM carrier.


    As noted above, from Apple's website, the unlocked iPhone will work on any GSM network, such as AT&T in the U.S., but will not work with any CDMA networks such as Verizon Wireless or Sprint. This means that the iPhone 4S *can* be brought over to T-Mobile even though Apple made no mention of their name on their website. Unfortunately, you will be bolted down to 2G (Edge) speeds. When traveling abroad, swapping your micro SIM may be necessary; you can get together with the local GSM carrier of the place you are staying to obtain one.

    Although, in a few other countries the unlocked iPhone 4S has already been put up for preorder. People living in the U.K. can preorder themselves an iPhone 4S: 499 pounds for 16GB models, 599 pounds for 32GB models, and 699 pounds for 64GB models, respectively. Anyone in Germany and France can also preorder themselves an iPhone 4S for the cost of cost 629 euros for 16GB models, 739 euros for 32GB models, and 849 euros for 64GB models, respectively. For pricing in the U.S., you can find that in the screenshot above if you didn't see it already. Also note that the contract-bound iPhone 4S will be available in stores on October 14th for the usual iPhone pricing ($199/16GB, $299/32GB, $399/64GB).

    Apple is warning its customers that a credit check maybe be needed to get an unlocked iPhone 4S in November and that the buyer must be at least 18 years of age. They're also suggesting their Applecare+ plan which offers up to two accidental repairs.

    Apple's website appears to be mobbed with preorders because the iPhone 4S preorder part of the website has been clicking on and off all morning; a likely side effect of high traffic.


    Reports from Macstories also suggest that AT&T's website is suffering the same results; they offer this advice:
    Quote Originally Posted by Macstories
    • AT&T: Weíre hearing reports that their site isnít any better off than Appleís. You can give it shot ó we also hear that due to the volume of requests, Apple is sending customers reservation #ís to complete their orders at a later time.
    • Sprint: When we last checked, Apple was telling new Sprint customers to visit retail stores (only previous customers are eligible to upgrade to the iPhone 4S). Sprintís website, however, is taking orders for new customers and offers AppleCare+ for $99, and will ship Oct 14th Ė 15th if you get in.
    • Verizon: Verizonís site is holding up well (you can probably check out now without issues), but they donít offer the $99 AppleCare+ plan (there are monthly Verizon equipment plans instead, and you can decline insurance).
    I know that many people here at Modmyi have been asking the question, "Will the unlocked iPhone 4S let me take my iPhone from GSM carriers to CDMA carriers?" Unfortunately not. Share your thoughts below!

    Sources: CNET, Macstories
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Unlocked iPhone 4S - *Will Be GSM Only* started by Anthony Bouchard View original post
    Comments 50 Comments
    1. Simon's Avatar
      Simon -
      Makes sense for it to be able to roam on gsm carrier networks. Doesnt make sense to have to get a sim from one of them to do it.

      It will probably be a case of getting a sim from Sprint themselves that allows the roaming on gsm carriers.
    1. Anthony Bouchard's Avatar
      Anthony Bouchard -
      Quote Originally Posted by Simon View Post
      Makes sense for it to be able to roam on gsm carrier networks. Doesnt make sense to have to get a sim from one of them to do it.

      It will probably be a case of getting a sim from Sprint themselves that allows the roaming on gsm carriers.
      It's pretty hard to answer. If they found a way to make it work without a SIM at all then that would be breakthrough. So far all phones need a SIM to connect to GSM based networks, but they did mention that it would be able to automatically switch to GSM coverage if you were out of range of CDMA. My assertion there is that since it is automatic, it shouldn't need a SIM. Maybe if you get a Sprint or Verizon iPhone 4S, you should check the SIM slot. I'm interested too.
    1. ami2510's Avatar
      ami2510 -
      Ok, sorry for my noob question, but I was aware that I can only use EDGE on an unlocked IPhone (because tmobiles 3G/4G is on a different frequency). But I wonder if in 1 year when my contract is over and want to switch to ATT or Verizon or what now, will I be able to use the 3G or 4G on my unlocked iphone 4s?

      All this babidibub is confusing me, is the unlocked 4s, just the same device with GSM and EDGE enabled for all carriers, but still has the 3G 4G on ATT and the frequencies that it supports (just not tmobile).

      Right?

      I was able to use my jailbroken and unlocked ex-ATT 3GS on tmobile in Germany on 3G because they had the same requency just like ATT...

      So whats the deal.
    1. Turnamental's Avatar
      Turnamental -
      So could I get my AT&T phone like I ordered today and go down to Verizon and start an account and activate that phone? Have two diff numbers going to one phone?

      This would eliminate the fact that I have to carry 2 phones. Work and personal... Would love that!
    1. Anthony Bouchard's Avatar
      Anthony Bouchard -
      Quote Originally Posted by Turnamental View Post
      So could I get my AT&T phone like I ordered today and go down to Verizon and start an account and activate that phone? Have two diff numbers going to one phone?

      This would eliminate the fact that I have to carry 2 phones. Work and personal... Would love that!
      That you could not do. But you can use the App Textfree with voice to get a second line on your iPhone absolutely free. Check it out, I use it sometimes.
    1. brookz07's Avatar
      brookz07 -
      Ok, I read nowhere about the unlocked 4S not working on CDMA...I read the 4 would not work which is correct because the gsm & CDMA versions are different phones. Apple will not make an unlocked 4S specifically for gsm...it will have CDMA capabilities. If you can choose sprint or verizon with the 4s then it is already unlocked for CDMA which almost all verizon phones are. Therefore I find it VERY hard to believe if you buy an unlocked 4s to use with AT&T & want to switch to sprint or verizon, you would have any problems. It will have an imei for gsm and esn for CDMA.
    1. Anthony Bouchard's Avatar
      Anthony Bouchard -
      Quote Originally Posted by brookz07 View Post
      Ok, I read nowhere about the unlocked 4S not working on CDMA...I read the 4 would not work which is correct because the gsm & CDMA versions are different phones. Apple will not make an unlocked 4S specifically for gsm...it will have CDMA capabilities. If you can choose sprint or verizon with the 4s then it is already unlocked for CDMA which almost all verizon phones are. Therefore I find it VERY hard to believe if you buy an unlocked 4s to use with AT&T & want to switch to sprint or verizon, you would have any problems. It will have an imei for gsm and esn for CDMA.
      You won't have any problems at all whatsoever changing from a GSM carrier to a CDMA carrier on the iPhone 4S. The only thing is, you will need to sign a new contract for each CDMA switch you make. However, with the GSM carriers, if you have the SIM card you can swap them out as you please without signing any new contracts.
    1. Orby's Avatar
      Orby -
      Quote Originally Posted by feidhlim1986 View Post
      Why would you need an unlocked CDMA chip?
      CDMA is where? Only the U.S. and China, and you still have GSM networks to fall back on.
      I know there's still CDMA networks in Canada (Bell and Telus 2G), South Korea (KT) and Japan (KDDI). I think Airtel of India may run a CDMA network as well... it's very much a dying, limited technology.

      Quote Originally Posted by Madman604x View Post
      Hold up, does this mean I can use it on Mobilicity (AWS 1700/2100) frequencies?
      Nope, don't think so. The phone is only 850-900-1800-1900-2100 (GPRS/EDGE/UMTS/HSPA+) AFAIK.

      Quote Originally Posted by Anthony Bouchard View Post
      You won't have any problems at all whatsoever changing from a GSM carrier to a CDMA carrier on the iPhone 4S. The only thing is, you will need to sign a new contract for each CDMA switch you make. However, with the GSM carriers, if you have the SIM card you can swap them out as you please without signing any new contracts.
      I strongly doubt that. Both Verizon and Sprint are EXTREMELY picky about what MEIDs are allowed on their network, when they're allowed on their network, and the conditions of their admittance to the network. I'm suspicious that the only way an iPhone MEID is allowed on their network is when a customer signs a two-year agreement or purchases the phone as a replacement (and is already under contract).

      From a technical standpoint, you're absolutely correct. From a practical (and software as well, I imagine) standpoint, it's nigh impossible.
    1. Anthony Bouchard's Avatar
      Anthony Bouchard -
      Quote Originally Posted by Orby View Post
      I'm suspicious that the only way an iPhone MEID is allowed on their network is when a customer signs a two-year agreement or purchases the phone as a replacement (and is already under contract).

      From a technical standpoint, you're absolutely correct. From a practical (and software as well, I imagine) standpoint, it's nigh impossible.
      The reason for this is because it's unlocked on the GSM side and you can switch at your leisure; granted you have the respectful SIM cards. To switch a CDMA carrier on the iPhone 4S (since it's not unlocked on the CDMA side), you need to go to the carrier directly. CDMA carriers need to reprogram the CDMA chips for your phone to work. No carrier will let you walk in their door and give you service without a contract. I hope this makes more sense.
    1. ChSchuldiner's Avatar
      ChSchuldiner -
      Quote Originally Posted by Orby View Post
      I know there's still CDMA networks in Canada (Bell and Telus 2G), South Korea (KT) and Japan (KDDI). I think Airtel of India may run a CDMA network as well... it's very much a dying, limited technology.



      Nope, don't think so. The phone is only 850-900-1800-1900-2100 (GPRS/EDGE/UMTS/HSPA+) AFAIK.



      I strongly doubt that. Both Verizon and Sprint are EXTREMELY picky about what MEIDs are allowed on their network, when they're allowed on their network, and the conditions of their admittance to the network. I'm suspicious that the only way an iPhone MEID is allowed on their network is when a customer signs a two-year agreement or purchases the phone as a replacement (and is already under contract).

      From a technical standpoint, you're absolutely correct. From a practical (and software as well, I imagine) standpoint, it's nigh impossible.
      The gsm side is unlocked, the cdma isn't. So you can switch the gsm carrier yourself but to get cdma service from another company they personally have to reactivate it.
    1. Orby's Avatar
      Orby -
      Quote Originally Posted by Anthony Bouchard View Post
      The reason for this is because it's unlocked on the GSM side and you can switch at your leisure; granted you have the respectful SIM cards. To switch a CDMA carrier on the iPhone 4S (since it's not unlocked on the CDMA side), you need to go to the carrier directly. CDMA carriers need to reprogram the CDMA chips for your phone to work. No carrier will let you walk in their door and give you service without a contract. I hope this makes more sense.
      Oh sure it does. Though I'm betting CommCenter is handling APN selection and IMSI on the iPhone (as opposed to carrier-specific hardware/firmware per device), and only has to be edited accordingly via jailbreak or re-activation. The American CDMA carriers have never been big on letting devices cross networks, though (unlike their R-UIM counterparts). Unless the 4S uses a R-UIM (or CSIM etc.) in the States, in which case I'm floored and will take my lumps.

      EDIT: I'm not sure if I'm being clear enough: it's rather irrelevant if the CDMA side of the phone is unlocked in the US; the major CDMA networks use strict MEID whitelisting. An off-contract iPhone won't be allowed on Verizon or Sprint per their usual policy.
    1. Anthony Bouchard's Avatar
      Anthony Bouchard -
      Quote Originally Posted by Orby View Post
      Oh sure it does. Though I'm betting CommCenter is handling APN selection and IMSI on the iPhone (as opposed to carrier-specific hardware/firmware per device), and only has to be edited accordingly via jailbreak or re-activation. The American CDMA carriers have never been big on letting devices cross networks, though (unlike their R-UIM counterparts). Unless the 4S uses a R-UIM (or CSIM etc.) in the States, in which case I'm floored and will take my lumps.

      EDIT: I'm not sure if I'm being clear enough: it's rather irrelevant if the CDMA side of the phone is unlocked in the US; the major CDMA networks use strict MEID whitelisting. An off-contract iPhone won't be allowed on Verizon or Sprint per their usual policy.
      I think I see where you're getting at - although the capability of the phone is still there which is what I was pointing out. Sure the carrier companies don't want you to and there probably will be catches somewhere.
    1. Orby's Avatar
      Orby -
      Quote Originally Posted by Anthony Bouchard View Post
      I think I see where you're getting at - although the capability of the phone is still there which is what I was pointing out. Sure the carrier companies don't want you to and there probably will be catches somewhere.
      There's our happy compromise.
    1. duromega's Avatar
      duromega -
      CDMA phones aren't locked
      Sample: you can flash the CDMA version of the iPhone to Metro-pcs , cricket or sprint , it will be the same with the 4[S] unlocked or not , what they mean is if you get the unlocked version you will be able to use it in the states or abroad with an unofficial GSM carrier such as SIMPLE MOBILE. 
    1. whereswaldo's Avatar
      whereswaldo -
      As great as America is, I'm happy I don't live there because the phone business sucks! The carriers are terrible and you just started getting unlocked iPhone in june
    1. Obaid03's Avatar
      Obaid03 -
      I have a very serious question.
      If i buy a 4S then it wud have an iOS 5,,
      But if i want to downgrade it to iOS 4.3.3 or 4.3.5 etc.? Will i be able to do that?
      If so then i sure will buy it..
    1. Simon's Avatar
      Simon -
      Quote Originally Posted by Obaid03 View Post
      I have a very serious question.
      If i buy a 4S then it wud have an iOS 5,,
      But if i want to downgrade it to iOS 4.3.3 or 4.3.5 etc.? Will i be able to do that?
      If so then i sure will buy it..
      No. Those firmware files do not exist for iPhone 4S.
    1. Anthony Bouchard's Avatar
      Anthony Bouchard -
      Quote Originally Posted by Obaid03 View Post
      I have a very serious question.
      If i buy a 4S then it wud have an iOS 5,,
      But if i want to downgrade it to iOS 4.3.3 or 4.3.5 etc.? Will i be able to do that?
      If so then i sure will buy it..
      Nope. The base iPhone firmware for the iPhone 4S will be iOS 5.0.
    1. Obaid03's Avatar
      Obaid03 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Anthony Bouchard View Post
      Nope. The base iPhone firmware for the iPhone 4S will be iOS 5.0.
      So that means no way to downgrade. As it will be originally be ported in iOS 5?
      But that means will have to wait some time for iOS unteth jailbreak, and especially all those apps with iOS 5 compatibility.....
    1. Simon's Avatar
      Simon -
      Correct, no possible way to downgrade. A jailbreak is in the works already for it once it comes out though. So hopefully we won't have to wait too long for a untethered one.