Explaining Sprint's iPhone 4S Unlocking Policy Will Make Your Head Spin

Sprint's policy for unlocking the iPhone 4S is a confused mess. First it was reported the handset would be sold unlocked, then it was said this report was false. Now a third report claims both statements, though contradictory, are true. Confused? Let's explain.

The first report from Macworld claimed the Sprint iPhone 4S would be sold unlocked. And it will be according to Sprint's latest press statement. But this unlocked handset wont stay unlocked very long. An update will roll out shortly after launch that will lock the handset.

After a certain amount of time, customers in good standing can then ask for the handset to be unlocked again when they need to travel internationally. Depending on how you use your phone, it could be unlocked, locked and then unlocked again in a short amount of time.

So there's no more confusion, here's Sprint's statement for you to read and decipher yourself:

Sprint's policy is to have the iPhone 4S SIM locked to our network domestically and internationally. At launch, the International SIM will be unlocked. We do expect a SIM lock to be pushed to the devices shortly after launch. We will then allow existing customers in good standing to unlock the SIM for international use if needed in the future.

Customers can sign up for one of our international rate plans and use this phone all over the world. When traveling internationally, there is a setting that must be turned on within the device to connect to GSM. The phone will work with a SIM that is provided within the device out of the box. International voice and data charges are on a pay-as-you-go basis and vary based on the country where the customer is using their phone; a list of rates is available at www.sprint.com/international.

Sprint offers two international voice plans that customers can subscribe to for discounted voice rates:

The Canada Roaming add-on is $2.99 per month and all calls placed from Canada are only 20 cents per minute. Without this add-on, calls from Canada are 59 cents per minute.

The Sprint Worldwide Voice add-on is $4.99 per month and offers discounted rates in countries around the world. For example, calls from Italy are $1.69 per minute with this add-on or $1.99 per minute without the add-on; calls from Peru are $2.29 per minute with the add-on or $2.49 per minute without it.

[Macworld]