Demystifying AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon and Sprint iPhone 6 and 6 Plus Unlock Process

Background

How many of you have asked about moving your iPhone phone from one cell phone carrier to another carrier?  Most of the time you get one of the following answers:

  • We cannot guarantee that our phones will work on another carrier,
  • We cannot verify that you can bring your phone to our network.  Therefore, you need to purchase a special phone for our network.
  • Sprint iPhones only work on our network, and will not work on any other network.
  • Sprint phone will not work on our network

This may not be an exhaustive list, but this makes up most of the things you hear from most carriers.

While this may have been true previously, there is a new world out there.  Carriers now have to unlock phones, and let you move from one carrier to another.  Just because cell phones can now be unlocked, there are still specific conditions that must be met by some carriers.  Two specific conditions are the usually followed by some carriers:

1.  You phone must be paid for to be unlocked, and

2.  You phone must have been on a carrier for 90 days before the carrier will unlock it.

There may be other conditions, but these are the two conditions that must be met.  There may be exceptions, but these needed to be negotiated with each carrier if you are trying to unlock your phone.

This blog post applies mostly to AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, and Sprint.  There are other carriers, but many times these other carriers are owned by one of the four major carriers.  While this post applies specifically

 to the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, most of what is said should apply to other phones that support GSM, CDMA, and LTE.  If you are checking on a phone from another vendor, you will need to talk with that vendor.

iPhone 6 and 6 Plus Models used by AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon and Sprint

Two iPhone models, iPhone 6 – Model A1549 and iPhone 6 Plus – Model A1522, are sold by AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon.  These two models support the GSM, CDMA, and LTE frequencies used  by the three carriers.

Sprint uses different iPhone model, iPhone 6 – Model A1586 and iPhone 6 Plus – Model A1524.  The only difference between the two Sprint models and the two models used by the other carries are the LTE supported frequencies.  The Sprint Model A1586 and A1524 support 4 additional LTE frequencies not used by the other carriers.

AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon iPhone 6 and 6 Plus Frequencies

Below are the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus frequencies supported by Models A1549 and A1522 for AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon.

AT&T, T-Mobile, & Verizon iPhone 6 and 6 Plus Frequencies
AT&T, T-Mobile, & Verizon iPhone 6 and 6 Plus Frequencies

Below are the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus frequencies supported by Models A1586 and A1524 used by Sprint.

Sprint iPhone 6 and 6 Plus Frequencies
Sprint iPhone 6 and 6 Plus Frequencies

Note on the Sprint Models A1586 and A1524 above that Apple states that these models include the frequencies used by the AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.  The following becomes clear for unlocked Apple iPhone 6 and 6 Plus:

1. Sprint iPhone 6 and 6 Plus will work on AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon network frequencies.

2. AT&T, T-Mobile, & Verizon iPhone 6 and 6 Plus models will probably not work in the Sprint network.  They will not work in the Sprint network because Sprint uses 4 additional LTE frequencies not supported on the AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon network.

Experiences on with iPhone 6 and 6 Plus AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, and Sprint and Unlocking

AT&T Experiences

I have seen the following for iPhones on the AT&T network:

1. Phone originally purchased on the T-Mobile network that were later used on the AT&T network.

2. Phones not unlocked when purchased must be paid for, and then follow the AT&T procedures to be unlocked.

3. I cannot confirm if iTunes is used as part of the AT&T iPhone unlock process.

T-Mobile Experiences

1. Phones purchased on T-Mobile that were later unlocked have been successfully used on the AT&T network.

2. Phones purchased on T-Mobile network later used on a foreign country network outside of the USA.

3. Phones purchased on T-Mobile that were later unlocked has been successfully used on the Verizon network.

4. Phones purchased on T-Mobile that was unlocked would not work on the Sprint network when a Sprint SIM was installed.

5. T-Mobile phones that were unlocked at the time of purchase at the Apple Store were later used on AT&T network and on foreign carrier outside of the USA.

6. Phones not unlocked when purchased must be paid for, and then follow the T-Mobile unlock procedures.

7. iTunes must be used to unlock a T-Mobile locked iPhone.  It can take two to three days to complete the process.

Verizon Experiences

1. All Verizon iPhone 6 and 6 Plus phones are unlocked at the time of sale.  I am told this is also true for phone of other carriers.

2. I have used a Verizon phone on T-Mobile when a T-Mobile SIM was installed into the phone.

3. I have used an unlocked Verizon iPhone 6 in a foreign country after a sim from that country was installed into the phone.

4. All Verizon iPhone 6 and 6 Plus when purchased are unlocked.  Therefore a user does not have to go through an unlock policy.

Sprint Experiences

1. It is possible to unlock a Sprint iPhone.  In fact I have completed the process to unlock a Sprint iPhone 6 Plus.  Sprint personnel are just learning to unlock iPhones.  So it takes some patience by an individual wanting to do this.  I am sure that Sprint personnel will become better at this.

2. I have used an unlocked Sprint iPhone 6 Plus on the T-Mobile network.  If it would work on the T-Mobile network, there should not be any reason that an unlocked Sprint iPhone would not work on AT&T or Verizon network either.

Conclusion

1. iPhone 6 and 6 Plus unlocked phones can now be moved from one carrier to another.

2. US purchased iPhone 6 and 6 Plus unlocked phones will work on networks outside of the USA.

3. Sprint unlocked iPhone 6 an 6 Plus phones will work on AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon networks.

4. AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon unlocked iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus will probably have trouble on the Sprint network because they do not support all of the needed LTE frequencies.

Comments Are Welcome.  So please write a reply expressing you experiences with unlocking iPhone 6 and 6 Plus phone.

 




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