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Verizon says iPhone is unlocked, still rejects SIM cards
Hashrocket
Member

I called up Verizon Global Services to have my phone unlocked, and they went ahead and flagged the phone for an unlock next time I sync with iTunes. I synced and it didn't present the unlock message. I tried using my AT&T SIM card and it told me the SIM was invalid.

When I called to have my phone unlocked, I was sent an email with new terms and conditions to be added to my agreement (screenshot attached). Included in these terms were the words, "Once unlocked, You may insert another wireless carrier's SIM Card (Other SIM Card) into the Global Phone to obtain service from that carrier." Also, there were numbered terms and one term was this: "4. You agree that these Terms and Conditions become part of your Verizon Wireless Customer Agreement and Calling Plan." I have repeatedly called Verizon Global Services to double check, and each time they've told me my phone is unlocked.

As I understand, it's now a material term of my contract that my phone will be unlocked so that I am able to insert a SIM card from another carrier (no list of supported or blocked carriers was provided) and have service from them. The message I receive when I insert my AT&T card is that it is unsupported and I need to use my original SIM card, which Apple's support document shows as meaning that the phone is not unlocked.

All of my conversations with Verizon representatives, up to and including Brenda Raney herself, have stated that AT&T SIM cards are not allowed to be used. I've asked the CSRs if the phone is specifically locked from AT&T, which they say it is, so then I explain that if it's locked then it's not unlocked. Nobody has been able to understand that "locked" and "unlocked" are mutually exclusive, except Brenda Raney. She took a different tone with me.

We are not going to unlock the phone to allow you to use it on a competing carrier network. My intent in escalating the issue is to initiate research into your particular situation to see what recourse we may have regarding your account but it will not end in our unlocking your phone. In the U.S. iPhones sold by carriers are locked to carrier networks. While Apple representatives may have shared information with you to the contrary, they are not authorized to speak for Verizon Wireless.  Additionally, the comment in context [the policy stated on October 13th, 2011] means the decision by Verizon Wireless and all the U.S. carriers was one made prior to launch, which is true, it is not a comment that can be applied to a single device.  As I've stated before, we do not unlock global phones in this country to use on competing carrier networks.

It is my understanding now that Ms. Raney (a Verizon spokesperson) is stating that the company is willfully refusing to comply with the term of the contract, as amended for customers with unlocked phones, that they be allowed to use SIM cards from third-party networks to use their phone in GSM mode. The last CSR I've spoken with has stated that Verizon's definition of unlock does not include domestic SIM cards. He told me that the only way I can verify that my phone is in fact unlocked, other than taking his word for it, is to travel to another country, purchase a SIM card, and insert it into my phone. The word "unlock" isn't defined anywhere in the original or amended contract, so the most likely definition is understood to be the definition used, that being the definition from the phone's manufacturer.

Verizon seems to be having enough issues with contracts being canceled due to the raising administrative and federal universal service fees. I would appreciate them unlocking my phone as the contract specifies. I've already reported this incident to the Better Business Bureau, and I would be thrilled to report that Verizon fulfilled their contract, but so far, their public relations spokesperson is stating the company's open refusal.

Labels (1)
Re: Verizon says iPhone is unlocked, still rejects SIM cards
Ann154
Expert
Expert

The Verizon iPhone 4S can be SIM unlocked for use on carriers outside the USA.

It will still not work for any GSM carriers within the USA including ATT and T-Mobile.

I'm most definitely NOT a VZW employee. If a post answered your question, please mark it as the answer.

Re: Verizon says iPhone is unlocked, still rejects SIM cards
rcschnoor
Sr. Leader
Sr. Leader

Good luck. If you want a completely UNLOCKED iPhone, you will need to go to the Apple website and purchase it there. Unfortunately, you will also find this statement about the UNLOCKED iPhone on the Apple website : "The unlocked iPhone works only on supported GSM networks, such as AT&T in the U.S. When you travel internationally, you can also use a micro-SIM card from a local GSM carrier. The unlocked iPhone will not work with CDMA carriers such as Verizon Wireless or Sprint."

Of course all of this information is available on the Apple website, including the part stating if you choose a carrier specific iPhone, "your iPhone will only work with the carrier you choose."

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Re: Verizon says iPhone is unlocked, still rejects SIM cards
kaebfly
Leader

As mentioned, you can only get a truly unlocked iPhone 4s through Apple and it will only work on GSM networks. What Verizon does is a sim unlock that allows you to use foreign sim cards while traveling abroad, but it will NOT let you use domestic GSM cards. So your report to the BBB was done in error as you did not understand what you were getting done versus Verizon not doing what they were supposed to. Also, I am not aware of anywhere in the service contract that VZW is obligated to provide a sim unlock in the 1st place (since you made the statement that you wanted them to live to what the contract specifies).

If you are past the 14 day return policy you can return your device, cancel your VZW service and switch to AT&T if you ultimately prefer to use the gsm network. Then you can purchase the unlocked gsm device from Apple directly (you can not purchase it from AT&T). You need to understand the difference between a sim lock and an unlocked device. You also need to be fully aware that no carrier in the US will provide fully unlocked devices that can be used on competing domestic carriers networks. If you research the info on the Apple website and actually talk to Apple directly you will be told that the iPhone is tied to the carrier you activate with in the US and your only option for fully unlocked iPhone would be to purchase from Apple AND understand that you can not use it with any CDMA network (Sprint, VZW).

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Re: Verizon says iPhone is unlocked, still rejects SIM cards
Hashrocket
Member

Respectfully, that's not quite correct.

The screenshot I attached to my original post contains the "Verizon Wireless Global Phone SIM Card Terms and Conditions", which Verizon and I agreed to. That T&C is amended to my customer service agreement. As I said above, the terms only state that I will be able to use SIMs from other carriers, but it does not specifically exclude or include any carriers, so it's assumed that I can use any carrier with the correct GSM bands. Since Verizon doesn't operate a GSM network in the United States, we're outside of the "Global Phone Service Area".

An example I could use would be paying a locksmith to open a safe for me. There are two locks on the front, and we sign a contract simply requiring him to unlock it, and for me to pay him $250. He unlocks one of the locks, tells me the work is done, and demands payment. Sure, he certainly unlocked part of the safe, but only the part that he deemed necessary. My safe is still not able to be opened by me, and is still locked shut (regardless of him performing an unlock of some degree), and you can certainly bet I will not be paying him.

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Re: Verizon says iPhone is unlocked, still rejects SIM cards
Hashrocket
Member

On one of my many calls to Global Services, they weren't able to find out why my phone was behaving this way (I'm not sure anyone at Verizon tier 1 knows how to use an iPhone - perhaps a memo is in order?) so I had them three-way AppleCare. The AppleCare CSR told me, with the Global Services CSR listening, that my phone would work with AT&T and T-Mobile once Verizon applied the unlock, and the Global Services CSR didn't refute that.

Regardless, Apple's documentation still shows that my phone is locked. I trust Apple over Verizon in this case to tell me if the phone is locked or not, because Apple manufactured the phone and has four years of experience dealing with iPhone unlocking (UK and Canadian carriers have been unlocking for a long time), not to mention that Verizon is a corporation with a direct interest in my wallet and doing as little for me as possible while holding on to it.

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Re: Verizon says iPhone is unlocked, still rejects SIM cards
kaebfly
Leader

You have to know that "global" would not include the continental United States. At any rate, you can contact the cs for Sprint and AT&T and you will be given the same information. You can contact Apple and also be given the same information. If I'm not mistaken the VZW global terms mention the ability to use foreign sims while traveling abroad (or this statement is on the global services website). If that is the case you have to know that there is no where in the United States that a Verizon customer would be considered traveling abroad and roaming. For curiosity sake, why do you want a contract with Verizon if you want to roam on the AT&T network or just use it? If it's a speed thing (data) then why not get AT&T service? Unless your plan was to switch the sim card when you use data and then switch back to the VZW one for voice...

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Re: Verizon says iPhone is unlocked, still rejects SIM cards
Hashrocket
Member

Agh, that'd be a huge pain, swapping all the time.

The reason for getting it unlocked completely is twofold. First, it hugely increases the resale value once my contract is over, or iPhone 5 comes out. My sales pitch goes from "You can use it with Verizon" to "You can use it with Verizon, as well as every GSM carrier in the world". The second reason is because Verizon signed a contract with me obligating themselves to do it, and I'm not paying them half my monthly salary to give me the run-around.

It really just comes down to, if Verizon wanted to mean "enable the phone to be used with third-party SIM cards from outside of the United State's Mobile Country Code (MCC)", they should have said that in the contract. I was arguing with a CSR last night because he said I had to use an international SIM, and I told him that AT&T does operate networks internationally, and their SIMs work internationally, hence they are an international SIM. Verizon is not at liberty to put terms in their contract with no definition and then define them ad-hoc at the time of enforcement. In fact, the ambiguity would be decided in favor of the non-author of the contract, so if anyone is entitled to ad-hoc redefinition, it's the customer.

As to the "global" issue, I'd simply make the case that the United States is, in fact, on the globe. If I buy a shaving kit that says it works globally (it includes multiple power adapters for use in different countries), and it includes both a trimmer and shaver (CDMA and GSM), I have a very reasonable expectation for them both to work both domestically and abroad, even if the company I bought it from prefers trimming over shaving.

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Re: Verizon says iPhone is unlocked, still rejects SIM cards
bontarest
Member

You are wrong Kaebfly, if you look at the statement made by Brenda Raney, Verizon Wireless Public Relations back on October 13, 2011 (the day before the iPhone 4S came out) she said: "It is our standard unlock policy for all Global Phones. You have to have been a customer for 60 days and in good standing (meaning your bill is current) and the phone you want to unlock must be on our network at the time of the request. You call Verizon Wireless before you leave the country and we unlock the SIM. We will honor one unlock every 10 months."

Brenda made no mention of it ONLY being a international unlock, Brenda made no mention that it could not use domestic SIMs. Brenda made no mention that you can only use it on the carriers Verizon Wireless approves. She simply said "[..]call Verizon Wireless before you leave the country and we unlock the SIM[..]". I tend to believe representatives of companies when they state something (maybe I should no longer believe Verizon Wireless representatives). If you look up the definition of unlock (in the New Oxford American Dictionary) it means to "make (something previously inaccessible or unexploited) available for use" which has not been done since AT&T and T-Mobile can not be used for service. If you look up the definition according to Apple (the manufacture) the phone is not unlocked, and Apple provides the technical definition of unlock when pertaining to iPhones.

If that is not enough evidence for you, take a look at the actual "standard unlock policy for all Global Phones" which Hashrocket uploaded in the original post, and that Verizon Wireless customers have to agree to to get their Global Phones unlocked. In that policy yet again it makes no references that it is ONLY a international unlock or that it can not use domestic SIMs. It makes no references that you a limited to only using select carriers. This policy also becomes part of your contact. By Verizon Wireless not unlocking the phone (they are not since I can not use it on my selected carrier) Verizon Wireless is no fulfilling their end of the contract and dare I say would constitute a breach of contract.

What Verizon Wireless is doing however is getting people to agree to the policy (which, again, is uploaded in Hashrocket's post) and then telling people what they define "unlock" as after this the agreement has been signed. They are defining parts of the contract to benefit them and fool their customers which is seems you have fooled you Kaebfly.

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Re: Verizon says iPhone is unlocked, still rejects SIM cards
kaebfly
Leader

Wow you're really reaching on this subject. Your priorities are really out of whack also if you're paying half of your monthly income on wireless service, but that's your prerogative. Anyway, good luck thinking you can spin this in your favor. As I stated, you can contact each iPhone carrier and will be told the same thing. You can contact Apple and be told the same thing. Oh...FYI, the same way the AT&T sim will work on global networks and supports your theory that it should be considered an international sim...the same can be said about the sim included in the VZW iPhone 4s...

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