Verizon iPhone 5 Comes Unlocked, Ready To Accept GSM Nano SIMs.

As T-Mobile prepares for its big push into the unlocked iPhone world, news hits that Verizon Wireless is currently selling the iPhone 5 unlocked, and it works on T-Mobile’s 1900 band with HSPA+ connectivity. That’s great news, if you’re in area that’s being refarmed, or retrofitted to support T-Mobile’s HSPA+ network on their 1900MHz PCS frequency.

The boys from iDownloadBlog take credit for the Verizon discovery, as they cut their AT&T Micro SIM and placed it in their Verizon iPhone 5 and voila, grabbed a signal. Furthermore, they confirmed that a T-Mobile SIM works as well.

I can confirm that the Verizon iPhone 5 is indeed GSM unlocked. Even though I bought an iPhone 5 from Verizon under contract, I was able to cut down my AT&T Micro SIM, and use it in my Verizon iPhone 5 to pick up an AT&T signal. By doing so, I was able to hop onto AT&T’s HPSA+ network, or “4G” as they so ridiculously name it.

Realistically, we can’t recommend cutting down your own MicroSIM as you’re better off finding a MicroSIM to NanoSIM converter as they begin to appear for sale online, or wait until T-Mobile carries them in store.

Verizon has confirmed that their iPhone 5 devices are being sold unlocked, but we urge caution before proceeding down any route of getting your hands on a Verizon iPhone 5 as the unlock status is just a software’s update away from being nullified. At least, that’s how this very same situation played out once before as Sprint shipped the iPhone 4S unlocked, only to locking it later.

Still, it’s an alternative if you’re looking to go the iPhone route on T-Mobile in your area when the refarming is up and running, this is something to consider.


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  • Clifford Martin

    Isn’t it a lot easier and more certain just to purchase a GSM unlocked iPhone from Apple? Yes it will cost more than buying from Verizon, AT&T or Sprint, but with them you are locked to a contract with early termination fees. Besides T-Mobile’s reframed network isn’t as fast as everyone is hoping it will be.

    • Guest

      Isn’t as fast? I’ve seen the 4S on refarmed networks getting comparable speeds to Verizon’s LTE.

      • Bryan Sandoval

        The 4s is rated for 14.4 HSPA+ comparable to Lte I don’t think so sir.

        • the iPhone 5 however, is an HSPA+42 device, so speeds will be on par with the GS3 which mine in my area gets 20 to 25Mbps so yea it will be comparable with that particular device.

        • kk888

          Not really, some area only have 10mhz of PCS spectrum refarmed, which can only do HSPA+ 21Mbps

      • Clifford Martin

        I have a reframed TMO tower that serves the area around my house. My tests with the Speedtest app shows only 5.53Mbps download and .38 Mbps upload on 3G for my 4s phone. To me, that isn’t fast.

        • MacRat

          That’s a limitation of the radio in your iPhone 3G which only does HSPA.

          The iPhone 4 and newer have HSPA+.

        • Vic

          Take your time to read. He said for his “4s phone,” and nowhere mentioned or suggested he was using an iPhone 3G. He has the 4S which supports HSPA+.

        • setzer715

          The 4 and 4S are just HSPA, 14.4 phones. They are NOT + or ++. The new 5, however, is a ++ 42Mbps device.

          5.56Mbps on a 14.4 device is exactly what you will always get. IF that is not fast enough, good luck getting better with ATT.

        • Vic

          The .iPhone 4 and 4S are HSPA+ devices, which is why the AT&T version was allowed to use the “4G” icon when in HSPA+ areas. HSPA+ started with 14+Mbps. 5.56 wasn’t what you always got on the iPhone 4/4S and if you actually used one in an area with great backhaul and capacity with AT&T, you can see speeds 10+Mbps.

          “HSPA+ 4G
          3GPP Release 7
          Non-MIMO 14 (16QAM) 5.8 (QPSK)
          Non-MIMO 21 (64QAM) 11.0 (16QAM)
          MIMO 28 (16QAM) 5.8 (QPSK)
          11.0 (16QAM)”


        • Mirad77

          Don’t know where you got this from. Ip4 is not hspa+ only ip4s is. Check it again and there is a difference between haps and hspa+.

        • Vic

          I’m aware of the difference between HSPA and HSPA+, which is evident by the link I provided. You are correct the iPhone 4 doesn’t support it, in a sense. The AT&T model is HSPA, and I was thinking of the chipset in the Verizon model which does support HSPA+ but was disabled. That was my mistake.

        • JustinCrouch

          It is when you consider hardware limitations of the device. Which I believe is 14.1Mbps on the iPhone 4/4S. i

        • Fabian Cortez

          14.4 Mbps of which you should see ~55%. So 7.92 Mbps on a really good day.

        • tinky_30

          5.53 Mbps is ALOT faster than the edge speeds people were getting before the refarm smh

  • Sean W

    Spotted a typo “…only to locking it later.”

  • Omin97

    Verizon can’t update & lock the phone up, they have an agreement with the FCC to make all their future LTE phones unlocked, that’s how they were able to buy up all that spectrum, & t-mobile signed off on it, Tmo will be able to piggy back off Verizon’s 700 MHz spectrum LTE

    • Get_at_Me

      how can tmo piggy back off of VZWs 700mhz spectrum when they dont use that spectrum?

      • theking_13

        Cause they will be able to, once they start out their LTE network.

        • turb0wned

          You are completely wrong. Att and verizons lte bands are different you can’t use one of those two on the other. T-Mobile will only be able to you att’s LTE.

        • theking_13

          Show me where you found/saw the future LTE bands for T-Mobile, please.

          Just because T-Mobile and AT&T share the same 2G and similar 3G bands, doesn’t mean that the LTE bands will be the same too.

        • AT&T will be using 1700 as an extra capacity frequency for areas where they don’t have enough 700 coverage. T-Mobile’s entire LTE rollout will be in the 1700 band.

        • SouthernBlackNerd

          I do not think ATT will be using AWS. Unless they have an AWS auction real soon, they do not have enough AWS to cover their capacity needs. They did give tmobile a huge amount of their AWS holdings. I believe the more likely thing would be them using WCS for capacity. They already purchased Nextwave’s WCS, and I believe sprint is the only other owner of WCS.

          The iPhone 5 probably had 1700, because at the time of making the device, ATT was still in talks of buying Tmobile or they thought that they would grab the CableCo spectrum. Next year iPhone will probably lose LTE1700 on the ATT model, while the Verizon model will get LTE1700.

        • bleeew

          Unless if they make it global lte bands inside the phone.

        • setzer715

          Yes, T-Mobile will LTE will be 1700. That is why they are launching U1900 (UMTS 1900) right now. Once it is launched the 1700 can be turned down to be used on LTE. Dave is exactly right here. As for ATT, who cares!

        • Fabian Cortez

          Not all of T-Mobile’s AWS will be used for LTE.

          T-Mobile cannot just shut out all of their 3G/”4G” phones (2008+) which were AWS-only.

        • setzer715

          Correct, I was being less technical. They will shut down a portion of 1700 that is currently being used for dual carrier once 1900 is up and use that portion for LTE. That plus the extra spectrum T-Mobile is getting elseware.

  • ody

    it is better to get att unlocked iphone 5,because next year it can use for tmobile lte will have unlock iphone 5 very soon.

    • Mirad77

      Your best bet is to wait for apple’s factory unlocked ip5.

      • setzer715

        The ATT phone IS the unlocked version, see my post above.

  • steveb944

    I’m thinking if it’s cheaper to sign up, get the iPhone, and cancel on Verizon paying the ETF. All instead of buying it at Apple. Those are some numbers someone should look at before making the jump.

    At least you’d get a GSM and Verizon compatible iPhone.

    • Jason Crumbley

      32GB i5 is what? $300 plus tax on the full price of the phone? The ETF to leave Verizon is $350 for a smartphone. It’s about even.

      • Farhan

        Not sure how that evens out. What you’re saying is about $650 plus a little tax. The 32gb iPhone 5 costs $750 retail plus tax.

        • App

          What he means is to get it with a 2yr contract $299 and then cancel and pay ETF $350 = $650.

        • Farhan

          That’s not what Jason Crumbley meant. That’s what the original poster (Steveb944) meant. Jason implied the cost of buying the phone at full price is about even if we sign a 2 year contract and pay ETF. Which is simply not true since you’re saving over $100 by not buying retail.

        • SouthernBlackNerd

          I believe you gotta pay one month of service if you are going ETF route, which means you are going to have to tack on another 90 bucks minimum.

    • setzer715

      I looked into doing this a while back (during the original 4 days) with ATT. With ATT if you got the iphone for say $300 and paid the ETF ($150 back then) and broke the contract you couldn’t keep the phone. You either had to give it back or pay the difference for full cost.

      I don’t know if Verizon is the same but I would guess it is.

  • Trevnerdio

    AT&T’s HSPA+ is ridiculous, yeah, but not T-Mo’s :D

  • Aurizen

    even if you have this it wont pick up the LTE when tmobile has it.

  • od312

    Micro Sim to nano Sim converter?How would that work? What sim card converter could possibly make something bigger, into something smaller?

    • od312
      • No you didn’t speak too soon. The converter is for if you already have a nano sim and need to put it into a phone that hold a regular sim. Not the other way around.

      • od312

        Right. Too much kush while I wrote this earlier haha. So yea. No such thing as a micro to nano converter going on sale, fellas

  • Brian

    Act now, and you’ll get several scratches and scuff-marks with every iPhone 5, out of the box, at no extra charge! XD

    • tomnewtn

      Mine is perfect. The first one (black) had a scratch on the screen. I traded for the white 64 gb and very impressed with it. Looks better than I thought. Putting a clear silicone skin on it.

  • MatthewMurawski

    I dont want any strings attached. When is the factory unlocked coming out?!?!?!

    • GwapoAko

      It is already out. Just go to AT&T buy the off-contract iPhone 5.

      • MasterTan

        This is not entirely true. At least going based on last year. I bought 2 iPhone 4S’s from ATT at full off contract price. One as unlocked, the other was not. Later it was determined, according to some, that some managed to get to ATT in unlocked status, which ATT quickly fixed.

  • ray

    Im already doing this using a verizon 4s and Gevey sim on tmobile. edge is slow as poop though, good thing im around wifi often

  • Michael Lococo

    Verizon would not be able to lock it once you switch carriers!

  • setzer715

    The ATT version is unlocked too. I bought my wife one release day (Friday). Just went to the apple store, told them I was an ATT customer but wanted full contract free price. They sold me the phone without wanting my ATT customer info (this was the same when I bought her the 4s). Told them I wanted to wait on activation (they had ATT reps inside to activate) because it was a gift. They said ok and we left. Went to T-Mobile store in same mall and got a spare Micro SIM. Got home, cut it down using provided ATT SIM already in phone as guide, put it in the phone and powered it on. Voila, after setup it’s working great on T-Mobile. Now we just need U1900 launched!!!

    • Justin

      It sounds like you didn’t buy an ATT iPhone. Sounds like they just sold you an unlocked iPhone. Especially if they didn’t get any of your ATT info.

      • setzer715

        They can’t sell you an unlocked phone. I told them “Off contract, full price ATT 64Gb White iPhone please.” Girl at the door said, “Your lucky, we have just 1 left!”. Plus the thing came with an ATT SIM in it. Listen, they did the same thing last year with the 4S when I bought my wife’s 4S. They said it was the ATT phone and the Unlocked versions would be out at a later date”. Truth is, the ATT, like the Verizon, version IS the unlocked version but Apple cannot officially state that due to contracts with ATT.

      • GwapoAko

        When you buy it off-contract it is unlocked. :0)

        • setzer715

          I don’t know how that could be true. I asked the girl at the front door for a 64GB, and pay attention to this part of the wording I said to her, AT&T White iPhone. She said, “Your in luck, we have one left!” Did you catch the part where I asked for an ATT phone and she said they only had ONE left?

          And again, I have been told by several Apple employees from 3 different stores that they do NOT have unlocked phones yet. Personally I think they are ALL unlocked and just sell them as locked so Apple doesn’t have to mess with it anymore.

          Like I mentioned before, it was the same with the 4S when it released. I asked for unlocked for TMO, they said they aren’t out yet. Went to a different store and asked for ATT off contract (30min later) and they sold me an ATT version. Got home and it worked.

    • Dave Tedrow

      How much did it cost you?

      • setzer715

        With apple care and tax (9.3% here) $1036.xx our the door. Yes my wife is spoiled and that’s ok!

    • James

      I think Apple is saying they’re not selling unlocked iPhones because of demand. They want actual customers using AT&T, Verizon and Sprint to get them first…

  • macman37

    Although it’s great to hear about this capability, it should be noted that the Verizon iPhone 5 will only be able to access the 4G HSPA+, DC-HSPA, HSPA, 3G and 2G {EDGE} speeds; not the 4G LTE. One reason for this is that AT&T and T-Mobile will running their 4G LTE Networks through LTE Bands: 4 {aka “AWS” 1700 & 2100Mhz frequencies} and 17 {700b Mhz frequency}. These 2 LTE bands are not included in the Verizon iPhone 5 model; and are only in the AT&T model. As setzer715 pointed out earlier, the AT&T model is also sold unlocked.

    So T-Mobile subscribers have these options: 1) buy a AT&T iPhone 5 model, settle for 98% support and wait until T-Mobile launches their 4G LTE and becomes an official carrier to get full support; 2)wait until T-Mobile launches their 4G LTE and becomes an official carrier for the iPhone 5 and have it subsidized for a 2 year contract and get full support; or 3) buy a Verizon iPhone 5 and settle for not accessing T-Mobile’s 4G LTE, just only their 4G HSPA+, DC-HSPA, HSPA, & EDGE speeds.

    If I were going to remain a T-Mobile subscriber for the next 2 years, I personally would choose option 1 or 2; and that is due to wanting full support for my device.

    • Mirad77

      I would go with option 3. Ip5 hasn’t been out for a week and we don’t know how lte plays on battery life. Only time will tell plus the fact that time difference in download speed between lte and hspa+ is what 2 seconds?

    • Fabian Cortez

      Just an FYI: T-Mobile doesn’t have any 700 MHz spectrum.

      • macman37

        As part of the getting the SpectrumCo deal passed, Verizon also agreed to give T-Mobile portions of the 700b Mhz block. When it will be put in place for consumers to use? I suppose when T-Mobile launches their 4G LTE Network. This will help give the network better indoor coverage as lower frequencies travel further and have deeper obstacle penetration.

        • Fabian Cortez

          I was under the impression that they purchased and exchanged AWS licenses in 218 markets.

          There is no mention of 700 MHz.

        • macman37

          Here’s a quick mention of it. There’s more when you do a web search.

        • Fabian Cortez

          Huh? Maybe I didn’t truly read that article. But did you?

          There’s no mention of any 700 MHz spectrum transfer to T-Mobile.

        • GinaDee

          Wrong. It was AWS 1700/2100 MHz not 700 MHz. You retail store mall kiosk employees shouldn’t spread false information like that.

  • tmobill

    The reason why Verizon released a factory unlocked iPhone5 because, On February 23, 2012, during the Q4 Earnings Call, the future of the
    T-Mobile 4G upgrade path was laid out. T-Mobile’s LTE network will be
    rolled out on the AWS spectrum, and their HSPA+ network will transition
    to the PCS band, in order to achieve compatibility with other networks
    and phones in the USA, T-Mobile plans to begin this transition in early
    2013. On August 21, 2012, The FCC approved a deal between T-Mobile and
    Verizon in which T-Mobile will gain additional AWS spectrum licenses in
    125 Cellular Market Areas. This is a great news!

    • Unfortunately, this is not the case. The reason is because Verizon made a deal with the government that requires all phones on the 700MHz band with LTE unlocked. It has nothing to do with T-Mobile, though I wish it did.

      • mikkej2k

        Thank you for stopping the misinformation train.

  • Singleweird

    tmobile’s hspa+ network isn’t bad – i don’t really see why apple would not wish to maximize their revenues. seems like a silly business decision

    • bob90210

      Apple does want to maximize their revenues and, more importantly, their profits. I doubt they are refusing to sell the iPhone through T-Mobile but more likely they are charging a price higher than T-Mobile is will to pay.

  • Josue

    I love how Sprint is not even mention on this post lol

  • eanfoso

    hahaha glad that finally @davidtmonews:disqus decided to post the story I had suggested back in friday :)

  • fsured

    I really don’t see why it matters to them if you take the phone elsewhere? They made a sale on the phone at either full retail, early termination fee, or from contract expiring which earned them more money anyway. They can count it as a sale on their books if you buy the phone and go somewhere else. It will fluff their numbers for Iphone sales.

  • tomnewtn

    I was sent the black iphone 5 and it had a nice scratch on the screen. Been reading about others with scratches or dings on the body. Traded it for a white one (64 gb) and very impressed with it. Still have my UNLOCKED 4s.

  • MasterTan

    I bought a Verizon iPhone 5 last night from Craigslist. It was sealed and I paid a pretty penny but boy is it sweet having 3G on the iPhone 5 ON T-MOBILE. I cut down the SIM using a template I found online and really, a few good shaved on the back of the SIM with sandpaper brought it down to proper thickness.

    • tomnewtn

      I like that it can work in Europe. I’m actually shocked that Verizon allowed that.