An "unlocked" device is no longer locked to Sprint's network and the user may attempt to activate it on another carrier's network. Generally, most smartphones launched after February 2015 are SIM unlock-capable—meaning the SIM slot can be unlocked for potential usage on other carriers in the United States.
What is SIM network locked?
A SIM lock, simlock, network lock, carrier lock or (master) subsidy lock is a technical restriction built into GSM and CDMA mobile phones by mobile phone manufacturers for use by service providers to restrict the use of these phones to specific countries and/or networks.
Technically, it's possible to use a Sprint phone on T-Mobile or AT&T's GSM networks, if your device is LTE-capable or an iPhone. Some handsets sold by Sprint are marked as 'global' phones, meaning they are also have room for a SIM card, and have dual CDMA/GSM capability.
A carrier reset is almost always necessary if you're activating a device that's had a different phone number on it before. This reset sends your device's new information to the network so that you can get service. It can also be useful to run this reset if you're having trouble getting voice, text or data.
Sprint phones can be unlocked by calling 1-888-211-4727. You can also request an unlock through a web chat. Full documentation is available here. T-Mobile customers can unlock their devices by calling 1-877-746-0909.
A software unlock is the process by which the iPhone is modified such that the baseband will accept the SIM card of any GSM carrier. This is entirely different than a jailbreak; jailbreaking one's iPhone does not unlock it. A jailbreak is, however, required for all currently public, unofficial software unlocks.
Verizon. Verizon states on its Device Unlocking Policy page, "We do not lock our 4G LTE devices, and no code is needed to program them for use with another carrier. If you have a locked 3G World Device phone with Verizon, you can use unlock code 000000 or 123456 or call 800-922-0204 for help.
You will be able to CDMA unlock them to use on another Sprint-based carrier, or international unlock them for internation SIM use, though. Call 844-665-6327 to unlock your Sprint phone, 888-322-1122 to unlock a Virgin phone or 866-402-7366 to unlock a Boost phone.
The MetroPCS network has almost entirely moved to GSM and LTE. These two technologies rely on SIM cards and can easily be unlocked using these methods. In rare cases, your phone will not have an SIM card. This means it uses CDMA technology, and you will have to contact your new carrier to unlock it.
Sprint is a CDMA carrier, like Verizon; however, despite using the same kind of technology, not all of Sprint's phones are compatible with Verizon service--you'll need to check the IMEI with Verizon first. However, you can still use your handset on a Sprint MVNO, such as Ting, Boost Mobile, or Republic Wireless.
The MSL, short for master subsidy lock, code is one of the two six-digit codes implemented in CDMA phones. The other code is the SPC, or one-time service programming code, and is only used to activate the phone onto a wireless service.
According to Verizon, they do not lock most of their phones. To quote them directly: "We do not lock our 4G LTE devices and no code is needed to program them for use with another carrier." That means that any iPhone 5 or higher that was bought with Verizon should already be unlocked.
In the US, Sprint, Verizon and US Cellular use CDMA. AT&T and T-Mobile use GSM. Most of the rest of the world uses GSM. The global spread of GSM came about because in 1987, Europe mandated the technology by law, and because GSM comes from an industry consortium.
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- Unlocked. Unlocked phones are compatible with GSM carriers like AT&T and T-Mobile as well as with services that run on GSM SIM cards.
- MVNOs. MVNOs or Mobile Virtual Network Operators are smaller carriers such as Cricket Wireless, Credo Mobile, Ting, and Red Pocket.
Verizon. Although Verizon uses the CDMA standard and not GSM, you still may be able to use your AT&T 4G LTE device on Verizon's LTE network, as they both run on the same spectrum; so LTE data should, theoretically, work fine.
UICC stands for Universal Integrated Circuit Card. It is a new generation SIM (Subscriber Identification Module) included in cell phones or notebooks used in some high speed wireless 3G networks such as those of AT&T or T-Mobile. The UICC identifies you to your wireless carrier so they know your plan and services.
Contact Sprint if activation fails. If you can't get your new phone activated online, you'll need to contact Sprint. You can take your phone into a Sprint store and have a support technician activate it for you, or you can call 1-888-211-4727.
Check your device settings
- Make sure that you're connected to a cellular data or Wi-Fi network. If you're using an iPhone, you need SMS messaging to activate your phone number with iMessage and FaceTime.
- Go to Settings > General > Date & Time and make sure that your time zone is set correctly.
SIM cards are only used for access to LTE and are not freely swapable between devices like they are on most other carriers in the world. In order to swap SIMs, you have to call Sprint customer service and have them pair your new device's IMEI to the old SIM number.
You can take the SIM card out, put it into another phone, and if someone calls your number, the new phone will ring. You can also put a different SIM card in your unlocked phone, and your phone will then work with whatever phone number and account is linked to that card. In Europe, almost all phones are GSM.
However, SIM cards are not interchangeable between all phones. However, they are designed to be swapped among phones offered by the same carrier such as AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and others. SIM cards that are not designated to a specific network can be used on any GSM - compatible mobile phone .