Sprint is finally getting into the unlocking game. Today Sprint changed their unlocking policy to state a change will come in 2015. All devices purchased from Sprint after February 11th, 2015 will be able to participate in a new domestic unlocking service.
You’ve always been able to unlock Sprint devices for use in overseas markets, but you’ve never been able to unlock your device and say, move to T-Mobile. Now you’ll be able to. There is unfortunately a small catch though.
Any devices purchased before February 11th, 2015 will not be eligible for this program. So if you buy a Galaxy S5 or the HTC One (M8) now, you won’t be able to unlock it next year. Future devices from those manufacturers and others will be able to be unlocked though. Here is the language from Sprint’s unlocking FAQ:
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’s unlocking policy appears to apply only to postpaid customers. I am a prepaid customer. Am I eligible to have my device unlocked?
Neither Sprint nor its prepaid affiliates (Virgin Mobile, Boost Mobile, and Assurance Wireless) currently unlock devices for prepaid customers. However, in accordance with the Unlocking Commitment, Sprint and its prepaid affiliates are working to create new policies and procedures in order to unlock prepaid devices, or to provide the information necessary to unlock the devices, after certain eligibility requirements to be established are met. Consistent with the Unlocking Commitment, Sprint and its prepaid affiliates will implement these new policies and procedures no later than February 11, 2015.
So it looks like Sprint’s policy might also apply to their prepaid brands as well. That’s excellent for consumers who might find a cheaper plan elsewhere and want to move without having to buy another phone.
Sprint is doing this because of the CTIA’s Consumer Code for Wireless Service arranged late last year. One of the requirements for signing this agreement is that a carrier must agree to adopt a more consumer-friendly unlocking procedure. But at least Sprint is now going to let you use your devices on other networks in the US.
So Sprint customers, are you glad will finally be able to use devices on other networks starting next year? Let us know in the comments below.