1

Background

  • I live in the USA and I have an iPhone 5S (version A1453). It was bought under contract to Sprint and is currently locked.

  • My girlfriend lives in the NETHERLANDS and has an iPhone 5S (version A1457). It was bought for full retail price and is unlocked, but currently on the Netherlands' T-Mobile network.

We are thinking about switching phones, because I have more gigabytes of storage and I don't use that extra space.

Questions

  1. Will her European iPhone 5S (version A1457) work in the USA (and on which major carriers)?

  2. Will my American iPhone 5S (version A1453) work in the NETHERLANDS T-Mobile network?

  • It will, but yours has to be unlocked first, since there is no Sprint service in Eu. – Ruskes Mar 13 '15 at 3:26
  • @Buscar웃 Good point, but this might not isn't necessarily true in all countries. I think Sprint uses a slightly different technology than other caries, and it might not be supported in every country. – Vladimir Mar 13 '15 at 4:55
2

It's not going to work because Sprint will not let you add her phone to their network. Sprint limits subscribers to phones specifically sold for the Sprint network. Verizon has a similar policy.

You may, however, be able to get the phone to work with a different carrier. Many European companies typically sell unlocked phones, so if the phone was purchased in Europe, it may already be unlocked. In that case, the only issue would be to find a network that supports the phone in the United States. Considering that European countries often use GSM networks, you may be able to use AT&T, T-Mobile, and possibly some other carriers. If you need to use the phone for only a short time in the United Staes, you may want to buying an AT&T GoPhone sim card or a similar contractless service from another carrier.

If you do, however, need to use the Sprint network then you should keep in mind that the two phones support different LTE bands so it's likely that you both would lose access to LTE. It's not certain because there is some overlap but it's quite likely.

https://www.apple.com/iphone/LTE/

Here's the FAQ for Sprint unlocking:

http://www.sprint.com/legal/unlocking_policy.html

2

Buscar웃 brought up a good point in his comment. You can theoretically get your phone unlocked to use in other countries, but there are two caveats:

  1. Sprint uses a slightly different technology than some other carries. This means that the phone itself might not actually be compatible with the networks of the country you want to travel to.

    Here is an article from PC Mag that talks about the difference between CDMA and GSM cellphone technologies. You may also find this world list of CDMA networks helpful when checking if you phone will work in the country you want to visit.

  2. If your phone is supported in the country you would like to travel to, you will still need to unlock it. This poses another potential problem: unlocked phones are usually considerably more expensive than locked ones. This is because when you buy a phone on contract, your cellphone company actually pays for most of the phone's real cost for you, and therefore generally locks it to their network. They do this because they know that as long as your phone remains locked, you cannot use it on other networks. Because of this, many carriers will not unlock a phone until you have fulfilled your contract with them (generally two years).

Here is a page about Sprint's Unlocking Policy.

Lastly, your best option will probably be to talk to Sprint directly since they will be able to provide you with the exact details related of your particular contract and cellphone model.

  • @tubedogg Thanks for the edit! I like the way you rephrased that! – Vladimir Mar 13 '15 at 18:13

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .