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Sprint iPhone 7 unlocked, not recognized by Tmobile


Has anybody had success unlocking a Sprint iPhone 7 and switching to Tmobile?  It's been a nightmare getting this done. Sprint and Apple assure me that the phone is unlocked, yet the phone will not recognize my Tmobile nano SIM.  Is this just me?

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Best answer by metro1361 29 August 2017, 20:14

Update 8/29/2017. So, after countless phone calls (between 15-20) between Sprint, Apple, and T-Mobile, I finally have 2 Sprint iPhone 7 that have been domestic carrier unlocked and functioning normally on the T-Mobile network. Yay!!!!! I'll give you 3 guesses as to whose fault it was:

1. Apple - No, of course not. Why would it be Apple's fault. They just make the phones. I did reach an uninformed, yet arrogant Senior rep who told me no Sprint phones would work on T-Mobile however. So, be careful with that guy.

2. T-Mobile - Nope. Not their fault either. They couldn't do anything until Sprint unlocked my phone.

3. Sprint you say? Well, of course it was Sprint's fault. It's so obvious why this company is by far the worst of the 4 major U.S. carriers. What a despicable process to unlock a phone.  They told me 3 or 4 different times that it was unlocked, only to call Apple to confirm it was not. Customer Service reps at the initial level are robots. They take zero initiative and only escalate you to a supervisor after your blood pressure reaches 150/90. Every new phone call to Sprint requires that you start from square one. I can't honestly say if they give former customers a hard time on purpose, but I encountered dozens if not hundreds of former Sprint customers that had a similarly rotten experience.  In conclusion: Sprint, never again. Happy to be with T-Mobile.

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Userlevel 7
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If it doesn't recognize the sim and you already swapped the sim then more than likely it's the device that is problem and not the sims.

Just a WAG. I've heard Sprint users refer to unlocking for use overseas. It seems they have two types of unlock: 1) for overseas travel when you will be using local prepaid SIMs and 2) full unlock for use on another US carrier. Getting unlocks from Sprint has always been a pain. It may be that your phone was unlocked for international travel but not for domestic. Again, this is just a guess.

Update: 8/23/17. I spoke to both Apple and T-Mobile today. My Sprint iPhone 7, model A1660 is programmed with CDMA technology and will NEVER work on T-mobile's GSM network, even though the salesperson who reviewed my phone and my Sprint account ensured me that it would work fine with T-mobile, which is why I switched when T-Mobile offered to buy out my contract. I contacted T-Mobile and spoke to several customer service agents, the last one being of the 'Senior/Experienced' type, and they told me that I should try to sell my Sprint iPhone back to Sprint or on the open market and buy a new phone with T-Mobile.  Imagine that? Fantastic customer service you say? I know!!  Both my wife and I made the switch, so now we have 2 useless iPhones, not just one. 

Conclusion: DO NOT BELIEVE ANYTHING A SALESPERSON TELLS YOU REGARDING ANYTHING TECHNICAL WITHOUT FIRST CHECKING WITH ACTUAL TECHNICALLY-CAPABLE PERSONNEL.  Sales people will tell you anything to get you to switch/make a sale.

Attention T-Mobile! You are lying to your customers. Shame on you. Herein begins my campaign to steer as much business away from your company as any one lowly customer such as myself can do.

This information is just flat wrong. CDMA is one feature of the A1660. It also has GSM, WCDMA & LTE. Our Nexus 5x has CDMA, in addition to GSM, WCDMA and LTE. It works just fine on T-Mobile. Just forget that anyone told you anything so stupid and go back and get the right answer.

Userlevel 7
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Here's the specs for your phone and it has bands 2/4&12.

Like a previous poster stated it might not be unlocked for domestic carriers.

iPhone 7 Models (A1660, A1661, A1778, A1784, A1779, A1785) Differences

Userlevel 6
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https://www.sprint.com/legal/unlocking_policy.html

So you are stating the device was paid off in full with no outstanding balance on the account for a service agreement or device payment correct?

Maybe the information is flat wrong, but it still doesn't work.  I spent 2 hours in T-Mobile yesterday with 2 Sprint iPhone 7s, and neither works.  So, either we're all stupid (I can be forgiven since I'm just a customer), or it actually will not work like the Senior Support analyst from Apple told me.

Yes, that's a given. Sprint would not have unlocked the phone if the account was not paid off.

By the way, I've yet to see someone with an iPhone 7 from Sprint tell me or show me that they were able to transfer their phone successfully to T-Mobile. Yes, I understand, it's supposed to work, everyone says that.  But, guess what?  It doesn't!.

By any chance is your Sprint account still active? If so, the phone may continue to try to connect to Sprint's CDMA signal until the account is deactivated. This may not be what's wrong but it's something I've heard happened to people who tried other SIMs while their Sprint or Verizon account is still active.

What exactly happens when you insert your T-Mobile SIM? Does it act normally but not connect or does it tell you something like "invalid SIM"? If the phone actually objects to the SIM, then it is not fully unlocked.

The Sprint account is not still active. Once I paid the final bill, they even revoked my online access. When I insert the T-Mobile SIM, it says Activation Required and I can only hit 'Dismiss' to continue, and then I get the Invalid SIM message.

So, is Sprint lying to me? Did they only unlock my phone internationally, and still have it domestically locked?

I'm not exactly sure if "Invalid SIM" means the phone is still locked or if the SIM is bad but I think it's the former. I don't have an iPhone to try to duplicate the problem. If I were there, I'd try inserting one of my foreign SIMs to see how the phone reacts to it.

I'm going to suggest you try something different. Sign up on HowardForums.com and pose your problem on the Apple phone forum on that site.  I think you will find someone who has done exactly what you are trying to do. Here is a thread on a similar situation.

Userlevel 6

Hey, @metro1361​! Just wanted to check in on your Sprint iPhone. These mixed messages sound bonkers, it's such a bummer to read about the back and forth you've gone through.

Our online Compatibility Checker shows a Sprint iPhone 7 as being compatible when unlocked. I have to say that in my experience, "Invalid SIM" can mean either that the device isn't unlocked, or that the SIM is bad/incompatible -- but it's typically the former, though I certainly wish there were more descriptive error messages to rule out one or the other. Were you able to find the answers you were looking for in the forum that @drnewcomb2​ suggested? If it's not too funny to ask to borrow a friend or family member's SIM card for a carrier other than Sprint or T-Mobile for a few minutes, it might help to know if you're getting the same error message or if everything works fine! I'm sorry to read this was such a frustrating experience, and we'd love to know how are things are going for you now.

- Marissa

Unfortunately, drnewcomb2 is correct. Sprint "unlocks" their devices for use in international networks and discreetly leave out the fact that you can't use it on domestic networks. It has always been a pain successfully connecting an iPhone from Sprint even with all of the iPhone 7's LTE bands and frequencies.

Here is Sprint's unlock policy. AFAIK, they are the only carrier that tries to weasel their way around their legal requirement to provide full phone unlocks for paid-off phones this way. If the customer requests the phone be "unlocked", they just provide international unlock. The customer must insist on full domestic and international unlock and hound them about it before they do it. You can Google "sprint international domestic unlock" to find a raft of discussions from people who have found themselves in your situation.

Update 8/29/2017. So, after countless phone calls (between 15-20) between Sprint, Apple, and T-Mobile, I finally have 2 Sprint iPhone 7 that have been domestic carrier unlocked and functioning normally on the T-Mobile network. Yay!!!!! I'll give you 3 guesses as to whose fault it was:

1. Apple - No, of course not. Why would it be Apple's fault. They just make the phones. I did reach an uninformed, yet arrogant Senior rep who told me no Sprint phones would work on T-Mobile however. So, be careful with that guy.

2. T-Mobile - Nope. Not their fault either. They couldn't do anything until Sprint unlocked my phone.

3. Sprint you say? Well, of course it was Sprint's fault. It's so obvious why this company is by far the worst of the 4 major U.S. carriers. What a despicable process to unlock a phone.  They told me 3 or 4 different times that it was unlocked, only to call Apple to confirm it was not. Customer Service reps at the initial level are robots. They take zero initiative and only escalate you to a supervisor after your blood pressure reaches 150/90. Every new phone call to Sprint requires that you start from square one. I can't honestly say if they give former customers a hard time on purpose, but I encountered dozens if not hundreds of former Sprint customers that had a similarly rotten experience.  In conclusion: Sprint, never again. Happy to be with T-Mobile.

Userlevel 7
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Wonder what you would say if you heard my 2 experiences with Sprint.  Yah I gave them a second chance lol. 

Userlevel 6

Thanks for the update, I'm so glad to read that you're up and running after all that! 😀

hi metro1361,

I am having the exact same issues trying to port from sprint to t mobile with my iphone 6 and 6s plus. They claim it is unlocked but the T-mobile sim card is not being recognized. I have called them numerous times about it as well

What was your trick or solution to fixing this?

Thank you!

Userlevel 7
Badge +12

hienpham wrote:

hi metro1361,

I am having the exact same issues trying to port from sprint to t mobile with my iphone 6 and 6s plus. They claim it is unlocked but the T-mobile sim card is not being recognized. I have called them numerous times about it as well

What was your trick or solution to fixing this?

Thank you!

Make sure it's domestically unlocked and not internationally unlocked there's a difference.

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