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Sprint & Verizon in U.S. will unlock iPhone 4S for international travelers

October 12, 2011

Customers in United States who get the new iPhone 4S on Sprint or Verizon’s CDMA-network will unlock the phones for global roaming. This will save money that AT&T charges on international rate plan. These two carriers can unlock the micro-SIM card slot and not worry about people jumping ship to another carrier. AT&T locks the micro-SIM slot so you can only use the phone on its network.

The downside of iPhone 4S is its micro-SIM slot which most carriers world-wide don’t support. But you can always get a Micro SIM Cutter for less than $5 on Amazon.

Also, since the iPhone 4S is a ‘world phone’ (GSM + CDMA), you can just pop-in a SIM card and the unlocked phone will work on any carrier world-wide.

iPhone 4S

iPhone 4S

Between Sprint and Verizon, Sprint offers the better deal on the iPhone 4S. It’s selling the handset with an unlimited data plan and an unlocked micro-SIM slot. Verizon does not have an unlimited data plan and will unlock your handset, but only after you have been a customer in good standing for 60 days. This international unlock is available for all Verizon’s world phones, but this is the first time it applies to the iPhone.

Sprint said that its SIM will not be unlocked, adding that the card will not even be removable.

Our SIM does not come out of the device – I believe the same is true of Verizon’s iPhone but you would need to confirm that with them. Customers can sign up for one of our international rate plans and use this phone all over the world. When traveling internationally, there is a setting that must be turned on within the device to connect to GSM. The phone will work with a SIM that is provided within the device out of the box. International voice and data charges are on a pay-as-you-go basis and vary based on the country where the customer is using their phone; a list of rates is available at

  • Hi I am on a CDMA phone only none world wide/GSM phone and my friend got an IPhone 4S witch has the capability to go world wide so I have heard and he is on Verizon but isn’t it true that you have to sign up for an international plan with Sprint or Verizon because there networks are only CDMA not really to be used as GSM .. He thinks the carrier has GSM service but dose not sell it in other countries .. but I told him that its like when a phone goes into Digital service data roam … Your voice,text, and data services are all running off of a different network’s tower the company has an agreement to Roam off of .. but internationally isn’t that right? He likes to be Mr. know it all and I want to let him know so when he does happen to travel some where he does not think its gonna work with out signing up for a plan to roam internationally .. I for one do not plan to go any where out of the US I am on sprint and I refuse to go with a world wide phone it’s a waste of money in my opinion especially now since the economy is so bad like where the heck am I gonna go travel to and flying rates this time a year .. Please let me know about my questions about the Global Roaming for CDMA phones .. Thank you so very much.

    – Your responds will be greatly appreciated!

    • Travel On The Dollar

      Hi Jack,
      iPhone 4S is a world phone which means it has the ability to work on GSM and CDMA networks. There’s a lot to be considered here – what countries are you visiting, what kind of services do you need (data, text, voice) and what kind of phone do you have? I, personally, would not activate international roaming from any carrier in US because the plans are really expensive and one can get really cheap cellphones or/and services in every country you visit. All you need is an unlocked phone. Every country has it’s own rules to buy a SIM card, but for pre-paid ones, most of the rules are pretty relaxed. I have an unlocked iPhone 3GS which I use whenever I travel.
      You are right that when you sign up for international roaming, say with AT&T, and when you are traveling, your phone is using the local carrier for all voice, data and text. Every carrier has some kind of agreement with carriers around the world, so when you are in a different country your phone will automatically switch to that carriers services. Now, if you have signed-up for international roaming, then you will be charged accordingly. If you don’t prefer to have data, for example, then it’s best to turn off roaming and data on your phone so you don’t accrue any charges from your home carrier.
      Hope this helps,

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