I have iPhone 6S. My mobile phone and data plans are with Ting, a US-based mobile virtual network operator that uses the framework of the US-based Sprint Corporation telecommunications company. I'm currently not in the US. I've turned on Airplane Mode, and then switched on Wi-Fi. The caption "Sprint Wi-Fi" appears on the top left of the screen, and I am able to access the Internet over Wi-Fi.

  1. How does my phone know to show the word "Sprint" in the caption? Does it read it off the SIM card, or does it get this information over Wi-Fi, or some combination of both?

  2. If I discontinue my Ting/Sprint membership, and stop paying my monthly subscription fee, but keep the SIM card inside my phone, without ever turning off Airplane Mode, will the caption still read "Sprint Wi-Fi"? Will my phone continue to behave as before?

  3. Are the answers to the questions above specific to Ting/Sprint, or will they remain true regardless of the mobile company I'm a member of (with the difference that, instead of "Sprint Wi-Fi", the caption "XXX Wi-Fi" will appear, where XXX is the actual mobile company)?


The reason it says "Sprint Wi-Fi" at the top of the display is that you currently have "Wi-Fi Calling" enabled. This means that your calls and text messages are sent via Wi-Fi over the public internet to Sprint instead of being transferred via a cell signal. This is a helpful feature when you haven't got a cell signal, but have an internet connection over Wi-Fi.

  1. The word "Sprint" comes from the packet gateway that the phone connects to over Wi-Fi. It is not read off the SIM-card as such. Your provider Ting has a cooperation with Sprint to use the packet gateways of Sprint to enable this feature.

  2. If you cancel your subscription with your provider, Wi-Fi Calling will also stop working. It doesn't matter if you're in AirPlane mode or not - when you try to place a call using Wi-Fi Calling it will be rejected by Ting/Sprint if you have cancelled your subscription.

  3. These answers are not specific to Ting/Sprint, but are true for any cell provider that supports Wi-Fi Calling.

  • 1
    What @jksoegaard said. Being the IT guy at a small company I have a collection of older phones which can be used quite successfully with 'expired or 'cancelled' SIM cards in them. You have what is essentially an iPod Touch and anything that needs just wifi (including the App Store) works just fine. – Steve Chambers Aug 19 at 13:24

You must log in to answer this question.

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