Sprint will offer an unlocking service for all devices on its network released after February 11, 2015, according to the company’s unlocking policy (via Android Police). This means that Sprint will support unlocking a device to use it on other carriers in the United States, as the company calls this a “domestic unlock.”
This change is due to various factors. More devices offer compatibility with both GSM and CDMA networks than ever before. More importantly, however, are the newer agreements between carriers. Sprint has signed the CTIA’s Consumer Code for Wireless Service, which includes an Unlocking Commitment statement. These new policy changes bring Sprint’s stance on unlocking devices in compliance with these standards.
Below is the relevant language 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.
I have been told that my device is not capable of being unlocked and/or does not have a corresponding MSL code. What can I do? Many devices that have been manufactured for Sprint simply are not capable of being unlocked, or will not have a corresponding MSL Code. For example, Sprint-branded iPhones have been manufactured in a way that prevents them from being unlocked to allow the device to activate on a different carrier’s network in the United States. This is because, prior to the development of the voluntary commitment contained in within CTIA’s Consumer Code for Wireless Service (“Unlocking Commitment”) carriers were not required to, and many carriers did not, develop their devices to be capable of being unlocked. Sprint strongly encourages owners of such devices to consider Sprint’s Buyback Program, which may enable them to trade in their old devices to receive an in-store credit towards the purchase of a new device or to receive an Account Credit. For more information, visit sprint.com/buyback. To help resolve this problem, Sprint has committed to ensure that all of its devices produced after February 11, 2015, are capable of being unlocked.