Unlock a Spint iPad mini

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions - Site Assistance' started by pp1253shore, Feb 5, 2013.

  1. pp1253shore
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    pp1253shore iPF Noob

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    I found this forum by posting the title in Google.

    I received an iPad mini, 32 Mb wi-fi that is tied to Sprint. I want it on my ATT plan, if any plan at all. They said to ask Sprint for the unlock code, but Sprint refused. I can use it on my wi-fi at home without a plan, but I want it on ATT if I have to use cellular data.

    How can this be done?
  2. Penandink
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    Penandink iPF Noob

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    I'm amazed so few people are asking this sort of question about their ipads. There is a ton of information on the internet about unlocking iphones (a lot of it just plain wrong) but almost nothing about ipads. Why not?

    Even if Sprint agreed to unlock your device (which they won't), you could not use it on an ATT cellular data plan network. Sprint is CDMA, ATT is GMS (same as cell phones). They are not compatible systems. Sorry, but your only options at present seem to be to use your ipad on WIFI, trade it in if you can, or sell it on ebay.

    I was given a Sprint ipad as a gift. I've been trying to get it unlocked so I can add it to my Verizon Share Everything Plan @ $10 per month instead of paying $35 dollars per month for the Sprint cellular data plan. I've used the Sprint plan and got very spotty LTE and even poor 3G. Sometimes nothing at all would load. This in Chicago, not the Rocky Mountains, but I do travel a fair bit. Yesterday I cancelled my Sprint cellular data plan.

    Because Sprint and Verizon are CDMA, I thought it might be possible to make a switch. Even though I thought I might not get access to the Verizon LTE network, I figured the service couldn't be worse than I was getting with Sprint.

    No one in the Sprint store could answer my questions or knew who should ask. I called Sprint tech support, supplied the MEID number and explained my problem. The guy seemed very helpful and I thought it had been sorted out. Wrong.

    Today I was told by an assistant in an Apple store that the Sprint ipads won't work on the Verizon network. Even though both are CDMA they use different chips. In other words, the hardware is different. They can't be "unlocked". I'm now researching whether this is true, which means hours of phone calls to the tech support people at Apple, Sprint and Verizon. I'm even fielding questions to various computer computational wizards I happen to have access to.

    Unlike iphones that are sold by cell phone companies at a subsidized price under a 2 years contract, ipads are sold to the customer at full price, no contract.
    Why are consumers falling for this scam of ipads being locked to only one cell phone company? If the Apple store assistant is correct, why is Apple making a different model for each company, instead of one CMDA model (Sprint and Verizon) and one GMS model (ATT and Tmobile)? Why is it so hard to get information about this, and why are consumers silent about it?

    BTW, a few weeks ago I traveled to Australia with my CDMA Sprint ipad 4, popped out the SIM and replaced it with a SIM from a local GMS carrier. It worked a treat. I don't expect to be able to switch between CDMA and GMS in the U.S. But this problem of devices locked to only one carrier is unique to the United States. Why?
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2013
  3. Mickey330
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    Mickey330 Administrator Staff Member

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    This is your answer as to why you can't move around between US carriers (or, if you can use the iPad on another carrier, it's not as good as on the carrier for which it's designed). The iPads ARE built differently; they are designed/created by Apple for each major carrier.

    And, it's not really Apple's fault. It's how each carrier operates their bandwidth and signal (etc.). They are different, so, to optimize an iPad on that carrier, Apple makes them to "fit."

    Just so you know...

    Marilyn
  4. Penandink
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    Penandink iPF Noob

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    Thanks for your response, Marilyn.
    I understand the different bandwidths and frequencies for CMDA in the U.S. -- bands 1(2100MHZ), 3(1800MHZ), 5(850MHZ), etc.
    These are used by both Sprint and Verizon. They are the same as GMS internationally (but not GMS in the U.S.), which is why I could use my Sprint ipad in Australia on a local GMS carrier.

    What I'm still not understanding is: If Sprint and Verizon operate on the same frequencies, why can't my ipad be used with either carrier?
    I would expect speed to be affected by switching from Sprint to Verizon, but that is all.

    Can you explain what you mean when you say "it's how each carrier operates their bandwidth and signal"?

    If Sprint and Verizon use different technology to operate CDMA in the U.S., so therefore are not compatible (and I can well believe that is true), how come a Sprint OR Verizon ipad will work equally well on CDMA in Japan (or so I've been told by both companies)?

    I'm pretty much a novice at this technical stuff so I think I'm still missing an important piece of information. If I have to ditch my Sprint ipad and replace it with a Verizon one, I really want to understand the backroom story as to why this is a problem unique to the U.S. -- for both CDMA and GMS devices.

    Thanks,
    Penandink
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2013

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