iPhone 4s change carrier Q's (jailbreak/unlock?)

Hi All

I have a pair of iPhone 4s's running v7.1.1 (11D201) that have completed their contract with Verizon, and I'd like to get a new contract with the much cheaper T-Mobile (via Walmart).  

I've heard from multiple sources that this is not possible with me manipulating the iPhone myself, or even a Verizon rep, but requires a process known as jailbreaking to remove the hard-coded dependency (imagine me using air quotes) between the iOS and the Verizon carrier.  

The Walmart rep said that all that was needed was for Verizon to unlock the phones, but the Verizon rep says that the phones have to be jailbroken.

Can anyone confirm this, and make any recommendations on how to proceed?

Thanks in advance.
Jim
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Jim HornMicrosoft SQL Server Developer, Architect, and AuthorAsked:
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Leo AlexanderCommented:
I have been "jailbreaking" the iPhones since 2G. This is certainly one solution; however, jailbreaking gives you the ability to unlock the iPhone. Just because it has been jailbroken doesn't mean you are done.

To my knowledge, a bill has been just passed that forces the carriers to do an over the air (OTA) unlock for your device once out of contract. This would be the easiest method. Have you tried to call Verizon and request that they unlock your device?


Leo
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
You might want to check with the Apple store. They (Apple) put the SIM card from my carrier into the phone to activate it. As far as I know you can change the SIM card at the end of a contract to a different carrier without jailbreaking the phone.
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Jim HornMicrosoft SQL Server Developer, Architect, and AuthorAuthor Commented:
@smarturtle - Yes, and the Verizon rep said that it required a third-party jailbreak.  Seemed sincere enough, especially since he didn't try to sell, but you never know..

@John Hurst - Sounds like a plan, and it'll give me an excuse to go to the Mall of America
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
I went into the lake with my phone in my pocket. It was a goner and I got a new phone for the out of warranty price. Apple took the SIM card from the old phone and put it in the new one. The SIM card was not damaged.
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Jim HornMicrosoft SQL Server Developer, Architect, and AuthorAuthor Commented:
Appointment at the Genius bar made, will let you know how that goes.
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Jim HornMicrosoft SQL Server Developer, Architect, and AuthorAuthor Commented:
Visited the Genius bar, and they said that the iPhone 4s uses a software (name escapes me, sorry) that cannot be used by Sprint or T-Mobile, which makes any other discussion moot.

So our options are essentially to stick with Verizon and pay the higher rates, even though we are out of contract, or get new phones.

Thanks for your help guys.
Jim
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Leo AlexanderCommented:
Basically they advised you that the phone is CDMA, a network that Verizon utilizes. This prevents you from choosing a carrier such as sprint /tmobile/ at&t that are on GSM. I didn't advise of this previously as it was my understanding that the 4s was supposed to be a world phone and accept both? Perhaps that's my misunderstanding. .unless that change came with the 5? I went with Samsung after the 4s/jobs died since the innovation went with him...
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Jim HornMicrosoft SQL Server Developer, Architect, and AuthorAuthor Commented:
Correct, CMDA, correct, and Sprint/T-Mobile doesn't accept it.

So, looks like it's new phone time, and the 15-year old also gets a new phone instead of my iPhone 4s hand-me-down.  

The Apple store said if we go through them they'd give us $150 credit for each of the iPhone 4s's.
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