Sprint to Lock iPhone 4S SIMs Starting November 11th
Sprintfeed reports that Sprint will be SIM locking their iPhone 4S SIMs starting on November 11th.
Starting tomorrow, all iPhone 4S devices will have the SIM locked. The locking occurs during the activation process and is invisible to the customer (no extra action is needed by customer or rep).
The status of the Sprint iPhone 4S SIM slot has been the subject of some confusion. One early report claimed that the Sprint iPhone 4S SIM slot would be ship unlocked. While true at launch, Sprint then clarified that they would be locking the SIM shortly after launch.
Indeed, the Sprint iPhone 4S will ship with its micro-SIM slot unlocked. However, Sprint now says that it will be locking that slot “shortly after launch” via an update pushed to those devices. After the slot has been locked, Sprint says that it will allow customers in good standing to unlock the SIM for international use in the future.
Curiously, the new memo notes that "this SIM lock update will not impact any current iPhone 4S customers (activated prior to 11/11/11)." Taken at face value, that suggests that those who purchased and activated an iPhone 4S prior to 11/11/11 will be able to keep their unlocked SIM slot.
An unlocked SIM slot allows customers to use different SIM cards from other networks in their iPhones. This is most frequently used when traveling abroad where local SIM cards can be purchased to avoid international roaming fees. Meanwhile, Apple has stated they will be officially selling unlocked iPhone 4Ss sometime in November.