In a few months, Jessica and her fiancé will move to his native London. This wasn’t in her long-term plans when she bought an iPhone 4S and signed a contract with Sprint. Life happens. At least she will be able to keep her newish iPhone after unlocking it and swapping in a UK SIM card…right? Well, no. Maybe. No. Yes, but for $300. Nobody, including Sprint employees, seems to know what Sprint’s actual policy is.
I sent an email off to Sprint and advised them that I
would be cancelling my contract soon and inquired if there would be a
termination fee. Sprint said that there was not, and I moved on.
Last month a friend told me that Sprint had sneakily changed their
policy, and while the change was discussed in iPhone forums Sprint
never formally advised their customers that their iPhones were no
longer unlocked. I contacted Sprint via chat, and everyone seemed to
be incapable of answering my questions. First someone told me that it
was impossible to unlock the iPhone 4s. I advised the Sprint rep that
I knew he was wrong and a quick Google search proved it. I was
immediately transferred to another representative.
I have been bounced around quite a bit, and finally I sent a mass
email to Sprint outlining my issue and difficulties. Its been nearly a
month now and I still have not been able to get a straight answer from
Sprint. I have been told by one person that they can’t unlock my
iPhone, but they will waive my need to return my device if I terminate
my contract early. A different representative informed me that they
can unlock my iPhone, but they won’t because of the age of my plan. I
have been told by a third representative that I could pay $300 and
have my iPhone unlocked.
We recommended that Jessica call the Sprint Consumerist hotline, and she received a letter back from the executive customer service team. Their verdict: no unlock code for you, missy.
Are there less than legal options? Yes, those exist. But when Jessica bought her phone, it could be unlocked. Now it can’t.