Starting next year, you might be able to take your Sprint device to be used on another US carrier

Starting next year, you might be able to take your Sprint device to be used on another US carrier
Based on a statement within Sprint’s legal and regulatory policies regarding unlocking mobile devices, starting early next year, Sprint devices may be unlocked for use on other US carriers.

Customers that have a 4G/LTE device on Sprint have been locked to the carrier’s network. That is not an unusual practice. In most cases, unlocking the device is currently an option only if you were planning on traveling overseas.

Beginning with devices that are developed or launched after February 11, 2015, Sprint “should” have the ability to unlock devices for domestic use. This is in accordance with Sprint’s desire to commit to CTIA’s “Consumer Code for Wireless Service.”

While Sprint’s legalese says, “capable of being unlocked domestically,” it does not say “willing to unlock” at presumably a customer’s request. However, Sprint’s policy does state that it basically only requires an account to be in good standing.

Many of the devices currently sold by Sprint are not unlockable, including the Apple iPhone. There are some global capable and LTE enabled devices that could be SIM unlocked, but even then, that does not mean another carrier’s SIM based services will work. The equipment may not have the right antennas to get LTE service, and its GSM/UMTS radios may not support all domestic bands either.

So, for the foreseeable future, if you are a Sprint customer, equipment you buy from Sprint before, and possibly even after February of next year, may only work properly on Sprint’s network. For example, Sprint Spark service uses TD-LTE, we already know that is not compatible since none of the other US carriers use that standard.

At best, this will mean you could bring your device to maybe AT&T or T-Mobile and get HSPA type data speeds, but it ultimately depends on the device and to what specification the manufacturer built it to for it to initially operate on Sprint. For what it is worth though, Sprint, and its pre-paid affiliates, Assurance, Boost, and Virgin Mobile, will implement the new unlocking policy by February 2015.

sources: Sprint via Engadget

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8 Comments

1. Doakie

Posts: 2478; Member since: May 06, 2009

Who cares? As if anyone will still be on Sprint in 2015. They're hemorrhaging customers because their network sucks.

2. Guti986

Posts: 78; Member since: Dec 26, 2013

Lol. And of course you commented on a sprint article. I think deep down you like them. :-). It's somewhat of an obsession from what I've noticed

6. lsutigers

Posts: 832; Member since: Mar 08, 2009

Here we go again, like a broken record, another worthless post by Doakie. Give it up dude. First of all Sprint added customers last quarter and their network is working fine in upgraded markets.

3. ErenJaeger

Posts: 119; Member since: Apr 22, 2014

Oh so that explains why sprint phone have lower resale values than other carrier devices. I believe that phones we fully pay should be unlocked. To me, this is like buying a car in New York and only allowed to drive within the state.

4. Technobri

Posts: 84; Member since: Dec 10, 2012

This is cool. But spark should be matured by then and people will probably wanna stay.

5. joe1blue

Posts: 169; Member since: Jul 25, 2013

I that's true then ill be able to go back to them from T-Mobile

7. PhonePhazer47

Posts: 32; Member since: Oct 01, 2012

By then i will have left sprint!! i have relatives in 3 different states and sprint sucks in all 3! drop call city!!!... ive been with them for over 12 years... im done!!,, yes some areas have improved but some areas have also gotten worst. Sprint even admitted that many areas will suffer until there done revamping. In order to reap the full benefit of their "so called new network spark vision" you will have to wail till 2015 for the complete re-build and also buy a new device or have one that will support the new tri band LTE!!.... Many including myself are coming off contract this year!!! .. i want good service now! not a year from now!!!....

8. Joshua9007

Posts: 94; Member since: Jun 08, 2012

Check out S4GRU.com as they have information on everything sprint and especially how the network roll out is going in different areas. Some areas are not native Sprint areas, and therefor will never get better (or at least not within sprints control)... others might be getting close to upgrades, and some might be far enough out for you to leave for 2 yrs and come back when it is all complete. As for those who look to any opportunity to kick sprint at every time there is any article on them, leave this site. The fact that they are attempting to change their network and their policies, it will be better for all consumers, and finally might get verizon to get on board too. The real reason they are allowing phones to be unlocked is because they are going to support all bands (frequencies) in the future to support roaming with CCA members, and that means all phones will have the inherent ability to be used on other networks... provided they are paid off and in good standing. Hopefully this also means they will allow unlocked phones that also support their bands on their network (without much hassle).

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