Sprint plans for their BlackBerry smartphones to be SIM unlockable in February 2015

Sprint
By Derek Kessler on 22 Apr 2014 11:40 am EDT
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American carriers are making progress in being more open and customer-friendly — particularly T-Mobile — but Sprint is preparing to take a significant step forward by ensuring that the devices they sell to customers are able to be SIM unlocked. Eventually. In 2015. In an FAQ on Sprint's unlocking policy, the company states that they are "working to ensure that all devices developed and launched on or after February 11, 2015 are capable of being unlocked domestically."

Seeing as more and more phones these days (including high profile devices like the Apple iPhone 5s and Samsung Galaxy S5) are being built with the CDMA radios that Sprint and Verizon need in addition to the GSM radios that everybody else uses, the only thing holding them back are restrictions like these carrier locks. Even T-Mobile, the self-proclaimed Uncarrier — still locks phones sold in their stores to their network. By making the phones that they sell capable of a domestic carrier unlock, Sprint customers will be able to take their phones to other networks if they leave.

From Sprint's unlocking policy:

I've been told by another carrier that Sprint needs to unlock my SIM slot in order to use my phone on the other carrier's network.

For eligible devices, Sprint will unlock the SIM slot, to the extent that a device SIM slot is capable of being unlocked. It is important to note that not all devices are capable of being unlocked, often because of the manufacturers' device designs, and that even for those devices capable of being unlocked, not all device functionality may be capable of being unlocked. Specifically, devices manufactured with a SIM slot within the past three years (including, but not limited to, all Apple iPhone devices), cannot be unlocked to accept a different domestic carrier's SIM for use on another domestic carrier's network. Sprint has no technological process available to do this. In accordance with Sprint's voluntary commitment contained within CTIA's Consumer Code for Wireless Service ("Unlocking Commitment"), Sprint is working to ensure that all devices developed and launched on or after February 11, 2015 are capable of being unlocked domestically.

Sprint does note that many devices they currently sell will not be able to be unlocked. Sprint-branded iPhones, for example, "have been manufactured in a way that prevents them from being unlocked". So while phones that Sprint plans to sell in a year's time will be able to have their SIM locks lifted, there's no guarantee a phone you buy today or before February 11, 2015 will support such an unlock. And, of course, the phone actually needs to offer the radio support for it to be worth unlocking to begin with.

That said, it's still a step forward and a commitment to openness that other carriers haven't yet made. What do you think — is Sprint making the right move here?

Source: Sprint; Via: 9to5Google

59 comments

Jonathank

They already came unlocked

Posted via CB10

bigbmc26

My 9930 and my TouchPro 2 came unlocked. Sprint has been doing this for a while. I should know, I used to work for them haha.

mandony

..."open and customer-friendly — particularly T-Mobile"

LOL, TM abandoned BB's

Yes, you can buy unlocked BB's from ShopBB, maybe at a better price than carriers.

John Kastanes

Competition will drive openness and drive down pricing. Congratulations Sprint!

Posted via CB10

rajbir01

Coolio

Posted via CB10

Drmoe

Seems like a no brainer move to me.

Posted using the best phone ever, the Z30!

TranceRomance

At least ONE carrier is trying to push and promote BlackBerry. (Just from personal experience)

Posted via CB10 with my T-Mobile USA (Only T-Mo rep still pushing)  ‎BlackBerry Q10...SON! (Soon to be the almighty Z30!)

Gvo1975

Where have you been dawg?

Incurable Q10 infection

TranceRomance

Right!? I've been super busy! I'm DJing all the time now so I haven't been on CB as often as I would like to be. Wedding, school dance, raves etc. I can post a link if you want?

Posted via CB10 with my T-Mobile USA (Only T-Mo rep still pushing)  ‎BlackBerry Q10...SON! (Soon to be the almighty Z30!)

digitalmayhem01

What's your soundcloud? I DJ as well and wouldn't mind checking u out!

Posted from Thor's hammer...my Z30!

TranceRomance

Yeah I got soundcloud and mixcrate! You can find me with my screen name. Easy

Posted via CB10 with my T-Mobile USA (Only T-Mo rep still pushing)  ‎BlackBerry Q10...SON! (Soon to be the almighty Z30!)

TranceRomance

I like your signature! Thor's Hammer! Genius!

Posted via CB10 with my T-Mobile USA (Only T-Mo rep still pushing)  ‎BlackBerry Q10...SON! (Soon to be the almighty Z30!)

canuckbear

+1 beer

Posted via CB10

TranceRomance

Cheers!!

Posted via CB10 with my T-Mobile USA (Only T-Mo rep still pushing)  ‎BlackBerry Q10...SON! (Soon to be the almighty Z30!)

Dan Felice

F*$# Sprint! I tried asking them about when they would be getting a full touchscreen BlackBerry and the reps didn't even know they still sold BlackBerrys.. then they tried to sell me an iPhone! They started telling me how it was much better than the BlackBerry...I told the salesman to shove the iPhone up his a$$ and I walked out of the store, drive across the street to the Verizon store and am now sitting pretty with my Z30. Sprint can take their iPhones and go straight to hell where they belong.

Posted via CB10

Koepman

Cute story

Since 2010 

freddysrevng3

Good story, Danno...have you gotten your application in yet?

Founding Member of "Club Z30 "..... the most exclusive club in mobile

TranceRomance

Nice! I just ordered my Z30 last night from amazon and I get 12 months to pay it off! WHAT!?

Posted via CB10 with my T-Mobile USA (Only T-Mo rep still pushing)  ‎BlackBerry Q10...SON! (Soon to be the almighty Z30!)

evan_2k

My sisters Sprint Q10 uses a sim card. I'm guessing it can be unlocked.

Posted via CB10

scalemaster34

My Verizon Z10 came unlocked last year...

Glad to see this is becoming he norm.

raino

That actually had nothing to do with customer friendliness. Verizon Z10s (and, in general, all Verizon LTE band 13 phones) come unlocked because it was a condition of their spectrum purchase that they come unlocked. If this requirement was not in place, Verizon wouldn't give two shits about unlocked phones.

Jake2826

My Sprint Bold 9930 came unlocked directly from Sprint.

sentano

Welcome to the 21st century...sprint...

TranceRomance

Dude! Your picture is so awesome!

Posted via CB10 with my T-Mobile USA (Only T-Mo rep still pushing)  ‎BlackBerry Q10...SON! (Soon to be the almighty Z30!)

somerandombbusername

I didn't see anywhere in the article the word BlackBerry. If I could relate what I just read to the CrackBerry community it would be: If Sprint will continue to sell BlackBerry devices past Feb 2015, they, along with all other devices, will be unlocked.

somerandombbusername

Sorry, this is just me nitpicking the title of the article is a bit misleading.

00stryder

Nope, no need to apologize, I said the exact same thing to myself after I read through the article. I normally wouldn't care but given the way the carriers have treated BlackBerry here in the US, it's definitely misleading.

At this point, I'd be surprised if Sprint even *carries* BlackBerry devices in 2015, let alone sells them unlocked...

freddysrevng3

Sprint has a big pile of iToys to sell

Founding Member of "Club Z30 "..... the most exclusive club in mobile

paulmike83

Dan Felice that is an awesome story. Haha. Apple can go to hell couldn't agree more Apple sells overpriced crap, but they are good at one thing ripping people off and making them believe Apple is the best company in the world. Not.

Apple, The New Evil Empire

00stryder

I mean, overpriced or not, they know how to make money off people. A good quality to have for a business.

Can't knock the hustle.

raino

+1. I don't like them or their products, but I respect they money they've made.

DaedalusWren

Who really cares or even thinks about unlocking an iPhone? Their lifespan is not long enough and they flip out new models so fast it is useless for any of the owners to even invest the time and or money to get these inferior throw aways unlocked.

Posted via CB10 on my Q10

Prem WatsApp

Even though I'm looking forward to the Classic and high-end touch, your comment just makes me wanna keep my Q10 and Z10 for another year. I mean, not in a drawer, but actually in use.

Apple, yearly planned device rotation, hand-me-downs and planned obsolescence. The environment will thank them. /sarc

I wouldn't even wanna buy an iPhone past April, because in less than half a year you'll be sitting on last year's device.

"No Q10?" -> "Buy from Chen... "

kevin11420

Dan Felice! Lmao!

Posted via CB10

heywood57

WOW, Sprint will actually sell Blackberry phones in 2015 !

FrankDLR1972

Hi Derek, heads up there's a typo in the headline. "smartphones(s)"

BBM Channel: The Group Ride C00055B7C

Jeevan Batla

That's awesome news it's gonna be truly Spectacular

Posted via CB10

Gearheadaddy

My Verizon Z10 came unlocked...All Verizon Z10's are unlocked right out of the box...good job Sprint...(Sprint charged me an "early termination fee" when they combined wimax towers and completely killed service at my house and within 1 mile thereof. So I'm mad at them anyhow. Verizon Rocks here)

Trusted Member Genius

raino

So these m'fers WERE lying when they said the Q10s come unlocked!

raino

Learn to read, you troll. The Q10 could have been one of those "can't be unlocked" devices.
--
I wonder how accurate the "we don't have the technology" part is. Someone should get permission from Sprint to unlock (cite this decision, if necessary,) and go to a third party unlocker (who has a money back guarantee, perhaps.)

nbaliga

That is if Sprint is still in business then...

Posted via CB10

Alberto8

One of the reasons our company left sprint was because they force you to use their branded phones. Sprint does not even allow otherwise compatible CDMA phones on their network. They never have. It is ridiculous. In contrast, T-mobile and AT&T have an open door policy regarding devices.

Posted via CB10

raino

That's more a fault of CDMA. Verizon was and still to a large degree is like that too, except now they have to accept any LTE band 13 device on their network, regardless of what, if any CDMA bands present. But even they don't make it easy.

Brayan Morales

Interesting, I wonder what are Sprints plan with all of these notions

Posted via CB10

PegBerry

Yup, if Sprint will still be in business 2015.

TranceRomance

Ooooooo!

Posted via CB10 with my T-Mobile USA (Only T-Mo rep still pushing)  ‎BlackBerry Q10...SON! (Soon to be the almighty Z30!)

canuckbear

Tmo can suck my left T

Posted via CB10

TranceRomance

OOOOOOOh!!

Posted via CB10 with my T-Mobile USA (Only T-Mo rep still pushing)  ‎BlackBerry Q10...SON! (Soon to be the almighty Z30!)

rudedogg585

Oh yes. Sprint is doing the right thing. The only reason I'm with T-Mo is at the time, they had the best deal on the Z10. But they started disrespecting BlackBerry and myself. So I went out and bought an unlocked Z30 from CTI-NYC for $500, and BAM! I slapped my SIM from my Z10 (from Tmobile) and I'm perfectly happy with the phone I've been waiting for all these years. Tmobile dropped the ball here. Posted via my BlackBerry Z30. No one else can match it. And I tried Galaxy 5 iPhone 5. Gave them a chance even though I've been BlackBerry for 10 years.

Posted via CB10

TranceRomance

Yup! Same here! $434 and be here in 5 days! Bam!

Posted via CB10 with my T-Mobile USA (Only T-Mo rep still pushing)  ‎BlackBerry Q10...SON! (Soon to be the almighty Z30!)

jdcbomb

So I think this discussion is quite confusing unless one defines "unlocking.". The 2015 deadline is simply allows a device on Sprint to work on other domestic carriers...and even then it probably won't work on Verizon as they use entirely different radio bands.

For the "rest of world" outside the USA, Sprint has "natively unlocked" two different BB models and an assortment of older devices that worked on other GSM bands.

However...does ANYONE know why I have been unable to use any foreign GSM carrier on my Sprint Q10? They keep stating it's unlocked but any foreign SIM immediately brings up an error message. While a Sprint iPhone 5s works perfectly fine.

Posted via CB10

rudedogg585

@ jdcBomb. What this means is Now we can start seeing some Bad Ass Z30 s and Q20s out on the street. And not exclusively at Verizon. BlackBerry Revolution!! Well I'd like BlackBerry to come out with a tiny bit more screen. Not to much I like to carry my phone in my pocket.

Posted via CB10

leehardballer12

What is the point of this unlocking mandate? So if your carrier doesn't carry the model of phone you want, you can go buy it from another carrier and set it up with your own carrier? So you can switch carriers and use your old phones on the new carrier? I'm sorry, the whole thing sounds like consumer pandering to me.

Posted via CB10

quemo

I always thought that the locking of the device is a rip off to the consumers. If I buy a product, any product, I should be able to use it in any way I want within the capabilities of the product intent, i.e. if I would to buy a tv, I should be able to hook it up any cable company. Same with routers, modems (which they do). Cell phones on the other hand are not in any way just because companies have been allowed to scam the consumer in this way. I understand the mobile carriers, perhaps, subside devices and consumers (used to) get them free or at a "discounted" price, there for the two (or minimal) year contracts. Although, locking or restricting devices to a sole carrier has never made sense... at least to me it never has.

Posted from myZ30 via CB10 app

navillusc

Interesting...

I 'was' on Sprint for the past 6 years, but Sprint decided 'their' customers...even those like me who waited for the full touch Torch 9850...wouldn't want the Z10 after all. I chatted online for a little while with a Sprint agent to find out if factory unlocked Z10's I was about to buy could be activated on Sprint's network. The answer was "no...no Z10 can be put on Sprint's network."

So, now I have a Z10, updated to BB10 10.2.1, but not on Sprint. Oops...<G>

JTWJ

Anything Sprint does, at this point, is too little too late. They still won't even offer the Z10 or Z30, so to hell with them.