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Virgin Mobile's Disapointing New Phone Unlocking Policy

Tomorrow, Feb 11, 2015 is the day that the CTIA's new voluntary unlocking policies for participating carriers take effect. The promise of the new policies is that any user will be able to have their phone unlocked by their carrier if they meet certain conditions like the phone being fully paid for. Or in the case of prepaid phones, that the phone has been used on the operator's network for a requisite period of time of up to one year.

Sprint, which up to now has had a policy of not unlocking prepaid phones, posted new unlocking policies for its Virgin Mobile prepaid brand today.

Sprint's Boost Mobile brand's unlocking policy hasn't been updated yet but I expect it will be similar to Virgin's. Update 2/11: Boost Mobile's updated unlocking instructions have been posted and they are identical to Virgin's.

Virgin Mobile waited until the next to last day to unveil their prepaid unlocking policy and it's just about as restrictive as the CTIA rules allow. Virgin Mobile will unlock their prepaid phones provided:

  • The phone hasn't been reported as lost or stolen or deemed by Virgin Mobile to be ineligible for unlocking.
  • The phone has been active on account of the user requesting the unlock for a minimum of 12 months and is currently active on that account.
Virgin Mobile is saying that the only phones it can currently unlock for use on domestic GSM networks are the iPhone  5c, 5s, 6 and 6 Plus and that unlocks will be available for those phones starting Feb 19, 2015.

Virgin claims that they can't unlock any of their other dual-mode CDMA/GSM phones, like the iPhone 4s and 5 or the Samsung Galaxy S5 for domestic GSM use. I believe this is for business rather than technical reasons. That's especially true for iPhone 5 as the Sprint/Virgin Mobile iPhone 5 is the same A1429 model that's sold by Verizon, and the unlocked Verizon iPhone 5 does work on T-Mobile and AT&T for voice, messaging and 3G data. iPhone unlocks are done by Apple through iTunes. I have a hard time believing that Sprint can't request that Apple unlock a Virgin Mobile A1429 iPhone 5 for domestic GSM use.

The Samsung Galaxy S5, like many Sprint Android global phones, was probably specified by Sprint to be shipped by Samsung with custom baseband software that blocks connections to domestic GSM networks. That means it can't be unlocked by simply entering a code like locked GSM phones can. However if Sprint really wanted to I suspect they could, with Samsung's help, OTA update the S5 with a baseband file that allowed it to be used on domestic GSM networks.

For other phones eligible for unlocks Virgin will only provide the MSL code which, is mainly useful for manually programming phones for use on Sprint MVNOs. The good news is that Sprint says that new models of GSM capable prepaid phones that it releases in the future will be fully unlockable.

If you don't like Virgin Mobile's unlocking policy, don't expect any help from the  CTIA, which is the US mobile operator's trade association. The uniform unlocking policy was created by the carriers and the CTIA only after the FCC threatened to require all mobile operators to unlock phones for their customers. It's a voluntary agreement that AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile and U.S. Cellular and several regional operators have signed.

I think by refusing to unlock hardware capable phones like the iPhone 5, Sprint is likely  in violation of at least the spirit of the CTIA unlocking agreement. But I doubt that the CTIA, which is largely funded by the carriers, including Sprint, will do anything to force Sprint to unlock older GSM capable phones.

Related: Updated: Get Your Prepaid Phone Unlocked For Free - US Operator's Prepaid Unlocking Policies

110 comments:

Comment Page :
  1. Boost Mobile as predicted is basically the same policy. Domestic unlock? What about if I want to take the phone overseas for an international sim?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Unlocking a phone for domestic GSM use will also unlock it for international use.

      Virgin Mobile's unlocking page doesn't say whether they will unlock GSM phones that can't be domestically unlocked like the iPhone 5 or Galaxy 55 for international use.

      Delete
    2. I recently bought a moto g 3rd gen from Virgin Mobile, but I had no service in my area, so I contacted them to see if I could unlock it for use in another network. I was told it could not be unlocked, but I could return it. I got a really good deal on the phone for only $99 bucks so I wanted to check the facts first. I contacted Motorola and they told me that all moto g 3rd gen phones they manufactured were unlocked and changing providers was a simple matter of network comparability and switching the Sim card.
      So if you are ever in doubt, just contact the manufacturer and you'll be very likely to get a satisfactory answer.

      Delete
    3. Interesting. Have you tried using your Moto G with an AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon or other non-Sprint based SIM? Did it actually work?

      Delete
  2. I'm surprised to see those models specially from Sprint since their iPhones on Virgin and Boost are $100 less than Apple's unlocked or buying it off contract from any other carriers and most of the time Boost has an additional $100 OFF when porting your number to them. Let's see how other carriers will do theirs.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Can unlock codes from third parties unlock Virgin or Boost iPhones?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Generally not but their might be some exceptions.

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    2. will my galaxy s5 from boost mobile be unlocked if i buy an unlicking code for sprint galaxy s5

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    3. Maybe, maybe not, either ask the unlocking code vendor if they unlock Boost S5a or gamble and see.

      Delete
  4. At least they are willing to unlock those newer phone models... This is still a step forward, even if it is a small one. I'd also be willing to bet that this will increase the resale value of their phones. Right now, Sprint/Boost/Virgin phones have some of the lowest resale values out there, probably due to lesser demand for them on account of their being locked totally and forever to the Sprint network (especially with the poor reputation it has in terms of performance/reliability). With the potential for use on more networks, I should think this would lead to greater demand and thus higher resale values. This in turn might lead to higher first-hand sales for Sprint (due to there being less difference between new/used), which I should think would give Sprint additional incentives to go further with unlocking!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No they weren't willing to unlock the phones. They were mandated to do so by the FCC.

      Delete
    2. Yep I agree I got to galaxy s3's from Virgin Mobile and one for Virgin Mobile one Virgin Mobile from Amazon and both of your CD amazed and I for the last three years all I've been doing is using about home on Wi-Fi to play games because I can't get them reactivated Virgin Mobile stealing money out of my account instead of $35 top up once a month they were taking it out to his free time so I dropped him and now I'm screwed now I'm going to have to suck it up I don't know what to do I mean I don't know if I can sell them to somebody else and they can activate them I mean I love him but that's cheesy as hell for them to do that is not how you keep customers Android or Samsung should have went over their heads and given some way to Unlock or switch carriers on CDMA phones seeing as how I paid 400 each roughly for both of them and I'm only going to get $35 if I turn them in?! Yeah and Samsung should I went over there heads and done something to Unlock or help CDMA people they should just stop making CDMA phones is my if you're not going to change the laws instead of have people pay hundreds of dollars for devices and in the end get screwed! That dude need to spend less time trying to fly is balloon around the world and more time focusing on his business!

      Delete
  5. It's kind of funny to see the hubris of the Sprint prepaid group. They are bottom of the barrel, yet they behave as if they are the be all end all.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. More like "they behave as if they are the be all end all, WHICH ULTIMATELY CAUSED SPRINT TO BE THE "bottom of the barrel..." in comparison to the big 4.

      Delete
  6. I called Boost Mobile today requesting to unlock my iPhone 5S. The customer care rep was a little confused so shy looked up some sort of help guide on her screen and found an 8 digit Puk code and a 4 digit pin code. She told me to turn off my phone put in the new sim and enter in the puk and pin code when prompted. Is this the procedure to unlock or was I given the wrong directions? I have yet to try.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sounds wrong which makes sense as Virgin Mobile says iPhone unlock won't be available until Feb 19.

      iPhones don't use unlock codes. Unlocking is handled over the air. After the carrier unlocks the phone it should either just work when you insert a non-Virgin SIM or after you use iTunes to backup, erase and restore the phone.

      The 4 digit PIN is for locking/unlocking the phone so others can't use it. The PUK code can be used to unlock the phone if you forget your 4 digit PIN.

      Network unlock codes on the phones that use them are longer, Samsung uses 8 digits and LG's are 16 digits.

      Delete
    2. After Virgin requests that Apple remove the lock and you insert the SIM card you want to use, you should be able to just plug the phone into iTunes and get a confirmation that it is unlocked. If you get a failure message, disconnedt the iPhone, then reconnect it to iTunes. The unlock will work on the second attempt.

      Delete
    3. iPhone are unlock trough iTunes not will a code provided by a carrier or unlocking providers. APPLE is that one will unlock at the requested of one of them but is done using iTunes and Apple database.

      Delete
  7. Why can't I use my unlocked phone sprint phone on virgin mobile

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  8. Virgin Mobile along with Tracfone's always had the most restrictive byod policies. PERIOD. The entire industry is moving more and more towards byod , even Tracfone (as long as its outside phones going onto Tracfone, not the other way around). This comes as no surprise as Sprint has always been a problematic carrier on byod anyway. They have the most restrictive byod policy of all of the big four for prepaid/mvno use too on their cdma side though there are rumors that is to change in late February (on their mvnos, not prepaid divisions meaning expect nothing from Boost/Virgin). Just stick with a gsm carrier or Verizon as in my brutally honest opinion Sprint is last of the big four for prepaid anyway. in coverage, value and byod.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Because Sprint won't activate a Sprint phone on Virgin Mobile,

    Phones on CDMA networks aren't locked. They don't need to be, because the CDMA networks themselves are tightly locked down. When you activate a CDMA phone, you give the operator the phone's MEID serial number. The activation process will check to see if the MEID is in the operator's database of phones that were made for and sold by that operator and permited on the plan or service you are trying to activate on. If the phone's MEID is not in the database, activation will fail. Nothing in the CTIA unlocking agreement requires CDMA operators to accept phones from other operators or on plans or services the operator deams they aren't eligible for.

    There's a rumor that Sprint may start allowing Sprint phones on Boost and Virgin Feb 15.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A poster on SlickDeals said that he/she is using an unlocked AT&T iPhone on Verizon, simply by swapping in a VZ LTE sim. I wonder if this would work for Virgin. It doesn't have to, but I am curious.

      Delete
    2. Dear Dennis, you seem to know a lot about unlocking the iphones, I hope you can help me. I have an iphone4s from Virgin Mobile which I used in US for 3 years. I fulfilled the contract requirements, and took the phone with me to Costa Rica, tried to get service through local provider, who said that Virgin mobil has to unlock it. Virgin Mobil refuses to unlock it but provided a code for the new carrier to use to unlock it, however all the carriers I have spoken to, both here in Costa Rica and USA, say Virgin Mobil has to unlock it. Do you have any advice or a solution for me?

      Delete
    3. Try telling Virgin Mobile that you are traveling internationally and would like your phone unlocked to use non-US SIMs. I don't know if they will do it or not but they are more likely to if to tell them that you only want to use the phone internationally.

      Delete
    4. You can already activate sprint phones onto Boost

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    5. Some models only and it's hard to find a Boost dealer or CSR who knows how to activate Sprint phones on Boost.

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    6. Some models only and it's hard to find a Boost dealer or CSR who knows how to activate Sprint phones on Boost.

      Delete
  10. The funny thing about restrictive Sprint is that for years they went Java apps on their feature phone while Verizon (which used to allow ANY cdma phone to be flashed to their Verizon mvno side before completely killing it on January 15, 2015 . However many feel it was a necessary tradeoff to get lte, though it still hasn't come to but two mvnos, both Tracfone ones: Straight Talk and Page Plus) used even more restrictive BREW app standards on their feature phone devices. Now that the feature phone market is large irrelevant replaced by low end Androids, Sprint still loves to play the anti byod guys even though they are the weakest of the big four and have the least attractive prepaid options on their mvno side (Boost is strong but could be Sprint is intentionally dragging its feet on the mvno arena).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Of course, the trade-off is that Sprint offers the lowest rate out of all the MVNOs I believe.

      Delete
  11. i'm a little confused, isn't iphone 5S is a dual-mode CDMA/GSM phones as iphone 5? shouldn't the iphone 5S work on tmobile/at&t network albeit refarmed tmobile network?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The iPhone 5S has all the right bands for T-Mobile and AT&T. You don't have to rely on 1900 Mhz for T-Mobile high-speed data. The only band missing is Band 12, which should be supported in the next iPhone. By Sept, Tmo will have deployed Band 12 to many areas.

      Delete
  12. i'm glad I bought an VM iphone 5s for 25% discount when it first came out. so technically it should work on all carriers?(including tmobile refarmed areas) by feb 19?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nope! There is a chance that it might work with Sprint and one of their other MVNOs... and that's a big fat MAYBE. But it's highly unlikely they would work with the other carriers and their respective MVNOs. Sorry, you should've went GSM instead of staying with CDMA.

      Delete
    2. Actually, Virgin Mobile has stated that they will unlock the VM iPhone 5s for use on domestic GSM operators after a year of service beginning Feb 19. Once unlocked it should work for voice, messaging and 2G, 3G and faux-G data on T-Mobile. LTE won't work as the Sprint iPhone 5s doesn't support any of the LTE bands used by T-Mobile or AT&T.

      Delete
    3. Correction, the Sprint iPhone 5s DOES support LTE bands 2, 4 and 5 which are used by T-Mobile.

      Delete
  13. Dose anyone no if lg nexus 5 can be used on boost Mobile or can be activated ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, Boost won't activate the Nexus 5 currently.

      Delete
  14. This will not win me over. Their new policy (which they had to be forced into making) are still too restrictive and anti-consumer in comparison to T-Mobile and AT&T, and their respective MVNO (minus América Móvil MVNOs such as TracFone, Net10, PagePlus, StraightTalk, etc.)... the freedom that GSM carriers and handsets offers. CDMA carriers... Verizon and Sprint, along with their respective MVNOs, is by nature very restrictive and not consumer-friendly. I always advise people to stay away from CDMA carriers!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Sprint got me really worked up about iPhone 4S unlocking. The 4S was a dual-band GSM/CDMA world phone for which Apple sold only one model for all US domestic carriers. I had bought my phone through Apple's online Apple Store and had it delivered to my house to then set up with Sprint.

    I waited my two years till the contract was up with the hopes of jumping to a GSM network of my choosing but Sprint refused to unlock the 4S stating it was not possible (never mind that they could already unlock for international GSM usage).

    What followed was several months of frustration wading through Sprint's stream of lies about why they could not unlock the iPhone 4S (their unlocking policy was an evolution of excuses as well). The CTIA agreement was made but they claimed it would not cover existing phones. I ended up escaping to Ting so that at least my money wasn't directly going to Sprint. I then left Sprint completely for iPhone 6.

    Sprint has by far the worst unlocking policy and I would not be surprised if the MVNOs they own (Virgin/Boost) follow their same draconian policies. I will never be on Sprint's network again after that experience.

    I'll be heading back to Ting once they pick up the GSM network from T-Mobile. Ting was amazing, just hate Sprint.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would stay away from any MVNO associated with Sprint, Verizon or any carrier that's still on the restrictive CDMA spectrum. GSM (AT&T or T-Mobile) MVNOs are the way to go!! If you like Ting, try the T-Mobile version... U.S. Mobile instead, if you get T-Mobile coverage where you live.

      Delete
    2. I have a similar problem with my iphone4s and Virgin Mobil. How do I get to Ting? will they offer service in Costa Rica?

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    3. You can check if your phone will work on Ting at https://ting.com/byod. RingPlus is another MVNO where your Virgin iPhone might work: Check Your Device | RingPlus. Neither operate in Costa Rica.

      Delete
  16. I was a VM customer and referred many to them over the years. I left them a few years ago, just like how I left Verizon because of their consumer unfriendly attitude.
    Tmo is looking friendlier and friendlier...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I did the exact same thing about a year ago! I was on VM's grandfathered $25/month plan with unlimited text, 300 voice minutes (10 cents for overage), and unlimited 3G data... on the condition that I don't upgrade to any 4GLTE-capable phones lest I want to pay the current $35/month rate. After being a VM customer for 9+ years and referred many customers to them, they refused to grandfather me in the $25/month rate when I wanted to upgrade to the Samsung Galaxy S3--even knowing that the $250+ phone won't work with any other network or MVNO and hence have no resale value. Needless to say, I jumped ship and went to T-Mobile. Signed up for their secret plan that gives me unlimited text, 5 GB of LTE data (100 MB of those allotted for courtesy tethering) + 100 voice minutes (10 cents for overage) for $30/month... which I actually pay less for because I always get my refill cards from Target when they go on sale AND I get an addition 5% REDcard discount. I got T-Mobile's Samsung Galaxy S3, and they unlocked it for me just after 3 months, since I already added more than $100 to my account. Now I know that if I'm unhappy with T-Mobile, I can always jump ship to AT&T and still use the same handset. If I were to travel overseas (except Japan), I'd also be able to use the same handset. Virgin Mobile or any of the Sprint MVNOs would never allow their customers to do that!

      Delete
  17. here's hoping this would lead to more price wars

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  18. When people bought these Virgin and Boost phones, there was no promise or plan for them to be unlocked EVER. So the fact is, no one really has much room to complain. It is a bonus people!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Interesting side note:

    Michael: Thank you for visiting Virgin Mobile today! We appreciate your business, but we no longer offer iPhones on our Virgin Mobile site. I’m glad to help you find another phone with comparable features though, do you mind if I ask a few questions to help you find a great match for your needs?

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  20. Sprint/Virgin We Will Never Do Business Again, You Greedy Pigs!

    ReplyDelete
  21. It's the 19th... Any luck on unlocking today?

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  22. Boost Mobile will not unlock my iPhone 5S despite having it active for over a year with them. Each time I called or emailed I was given a different story. I filed a report with the FCC on Friday but takes a long while to investigate. Shame on Boost Mobile. I was only going to port one of my numbers but due to their own arrogance I will port all my lines.

    ReplyDelete
  23. My daughter have a Iphone 5 purchased from Virgin Mobile. Now she left Virgin and I am trying to reuse this phone for T-Mobile. I called Virgin several times. They give me 6 digit MSL code for the phone. T-Mobile technician can not activated this phone. Does anyone know if there is a way we can get phone unlocked?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. To use a Virgin Mobile iPhone 5 on T-Mobile, Virgin would have to do a "Domestic SIM Unlock" with Virgin claims is impossible. I don't believe that but it's Virgin's policy.

      Delete
  24. My iPhone 5 is on Virgin USA. I called Virgin and they provided me a 6-digit MSL code (for the use in other countries). But they don't tell me how to use it to unlock the phone. They say I have to ask the new career to unlock it. Is there instructions posted anywhere for iPhone 5? I only could find ones for ancient iPhone like 3.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The MSL code is basically useless. It allows you access to some hidden menus but doesn't unlock the SIM card slot to accept non-Virgin SIMs. You need a SIM unlock.

      Virgin claims that they can't unlock the iPhone 5 for use with non-Virgin domestic SIMs. They might be willing to unlock it for international GSM use. Tell them you need an "international SIM unlock".

      Delete
    2. Can i buy a sprint iphone and use it on virgin mobile?

      Delete
  25. can I buy the htc One m80 from sprint and use it with my virgin mobile account

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No Sprint only allows Virgin Mobile phones to be activated on Virgin Mobile.

      Delete
  26. I have a Verizon iPhone 5...can I use this with virgin mobile?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No Sprint only allows Virgin Mobile phones to be activated on Virgin Mobile.

      Delete
  27. can i use a virgin mobile zte for a boost mobile services

    ReplyDelete
  28. I'm wondering the same thing. If I have my Virgin Galaxy S2 unlocked by Virgin, can it be activated on Boost, or will Sprint/Boost not allow it? Also, Virgin says here that they charge $50 to do the unlock? Is that allowed? Seems like robbery and would discourage lots of people from having cheaper phones unlocked, because many may not be worth much more than $50 in resale value.

    http://www.virginmobile.ca/en/support/faq.html?q=048


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Virgin Mobile USA Galaxy S2 in not GSM capable so there's nothing to unlock. Virgin will give you the MSL code for it and call that unlocking but the MSL is of almost no use for getting a Virgin Mobile phone on another network

      Virgin Mobile USA phones can not be used on Boost Mobile, Sprint Prepaid or Sprint postpaid. It may be possible to used Virgin Mobile phone on a Sprint MVNOs like Ting or FreedomPop. See Sprint Partially Fixes the BYOSP Mess It Created for details.

      The page you linked to with the $50 unlocking fee is on Virgin Mobile Canada's site. Virgin Mobile USA does not charge for unlocking.

      Delete
  29. I see I can't get iPhone 6 on virgin,in states.
    It is available on Canadian plan.
    Anyway I can do it from states?or should I change carriers and try to sell my virgin 5s,and4s?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you are asking if a Canadian iPhone 6 will work on Virgin Mobile USA, the answer is no.

      Delete
  30. I contacted Virgin in February to unlock an IPhone 5c. They offered to do it, but said that I would be loosing my phone service as they don't allow unlocked phones on their network. I insisted that I wanted to keep their service, but swap out the SIM when abroad, the just said I'd need to find a different network. I didn't go through with the unlocking, since I wasn't sure if I'd loose my phone number in the process. What crappy service.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Virgin Mobile USA gave me a MSL code for my iPhone 5. The rep said I should take it to the new career to unlock it. I needed to unlock mine to use it in Argentina. I asked one of the major carriers there about unlocking using the MSL code and they don't know anything about it. I contacted Virgin and they just repeated the same nonsense. I filed complain to FCC and the Sprint Executive office took care of the case. Their response says iPhone 5 cannot be unlocked because of an Apple's decision. I think it's untrue. I asked, if iPhone 5 cannot be unlocked technically, why do they list iPhone 5 as thought it could be unlocked using MSL code, and they ignored my question. I am going to appeal to FCC and suggest that the industry self-regulation is failing, and FCC should regulate them more strongly.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You need a carrier unlock for the GSM-LTE slot; they gave you the programming lock code for the CDMA side. Virgin and Sprint have to unlock phones (GSM-LTE slot) for troops being deployed overseas, but the FCC does not mandate that they unlock for anyone else. Apple controls the unlocking in their database, and will unlock your iPhone only if Sprint/Virgin tell them to do it.

      Delete
  32. Well I called Virgin mobile trying to get an unlock code and instead they just unlocked my iPhone 5s for me, no issues, no hassles, literally effortless. They told me that the only issue that I might have is that some carriers may not be able to provide me service but I know for a fact that T-Mobile can provide service to sprint phones now. call (855) 639-4644 and ask for the MSL code and they will transfer you to their customer resolutions line and they will unlock your phone if you have been using their service without any interruptions for at least 6 months to a year and the phone is still active and hasn't been reported lost or stolen. Problem Solved.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. because you have the 5s.... for iphone 5 and 4s, they only provide you the MLS code which is useless as far as i know right now.

      http://www.virginmobileusa.com/unlock/

      Delete
    2. You can get your Sprint phone unlocked to use foreign carriers if you are deployed military overseas and provide a copy of your orders. Sprint may also unlock the SIM slot for foreign SIM use for some of their other customers. A Sprint phone that is unlocked for US carrier support via the GSM/LTE slot is still pretty rare, I believe. You can buy the new iPhone 6 phone SIM-free from Apple. That is the same as a fully unlocked Sprint iPhone with all the Sprint bands, and can also be used with other carriers.

      Delete
  33. I have many questions about this, not techie at all. 1. I though virgin was cdma so why are they mentioning gsm. 2. As my phone is currently an iPhone 5 I've come to understand that virgin will not allow me to unlock it and use it for another service . Will they allow me to use this iPhone 5 from virgin mobile from sprint or is it strictly for virgin mobile use ? 3. As I have no problem wiTh buying a new phone, can I just buy an unlocked iPhone 5s from eBay working for gsm and activate it with t mobile as I want to switch services there: ?

    ReplyDelete
  34. I have been costumer of Virgin mobile for 2 years now, the service its excellent, no doubt about that, but i need a new phone and i'm an apple person so when i saw they don't sell them anymore, I asked if there was the possibility of me buying a phone at the apple store and getting it unlocked so i don't loose neither my number or my contract with virgin and their response was this:

    Hello S.........,

    Thanks for contacting Virgin Mobile Customer Care.

    We are always happy to help you with any questions that you may have
    regarding our service.

    Devices from other carriers are not recognized by our system. Devices
    that are not originally sold and distributed by Virgin Mobile USA,
    cannot be activated on our network, since our devices work with unique
    serial numbers. Even if the device has been unlocked, our system will
    not recognize it. This means that even if the phone belongs to our
    partner company Sprint, we will not be able to activate the phone under
    our network.

    If you would like to buy a Virgin Mobile iPhone (even though we do not
    sell them any more) you can still find Virgin Mobile iPhones at retail
    stores like Target, RadioShack, Best Buy or any online retail store like
    Amazon, HSN or Ebay. Just make sure that it is a Virgin Mobile phone and
    that it is free to be activated before you buy it.

    If you need additional assistance, feel free to let us know how we can
    assist further or contact us at 1-888-322-1122 (or *86 from a Virgin
    Mobile handset). You can reach us Monday through Friday from 6:00 AM ?
    10:00 PM CST, Saturday and Sunday from 6:00 AM - 9:00 PM CST. As a kind
    reminder, always make sure to include your Virgin Mobile phone number
    and PIN on all replies.

    Thanks,

    Efrain V.
    Virgin Mobile At Your Service
    www.virginmobileusa.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Virgin phones only has been the rule at Virgin ever since the beginning.

      Delete
    2. Please forgive me if I'm repeating this question, but I have a verizon galaxy core prime, can I activate that phone on my virgin mobile plan? Or is that phone only compatible with verizon? Thanks

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    3. No Virgin Mobile will not activate non-Virgin Mobile phones.

      Delete
  35. I was a Virgin Mobile customer for a few years with 2 lines. I was really excited when they started to sell Iphone 5s. I was able to purchase one for my wife, but once i was able to afford one for me, they went "temporarily out of stock" and then completely fell off the face of the earth. Then at the beginning of the year, the data service near my job and near my wifes job went completely limp. I was paying for no service through 8-9 hours during the day. I decided to wait it out a bit hoping it would get better. That never happened. I started doing my homework and found out about cricket wireless being owned by AT&T. And their plans were better than what Virgin had to offer. So I decided to purchase an Iphone 5c for only $299.00. The data coverage is great! I have no problems at work, but now the dilemma. My wife was jealous and upset. What was i going to do, buy another iphone when i just payed $600.00 + for hers. I heard stories that Virgin will not unlock. Until I read this article. I gave it a shot, and after first being bounced around on the phone by Virgin customer care, (which they claimed they are now Assurance Wireless when i told them what I wanted them to do) and was put on hold numerous times, after waiting a total of 1:36 minutes on the phone with them, they told me my phone was now unlocked and my service was terminated on my wifes 5s. They kept telling me that even though it is now unlocked, it does not mean that it will work to perfection with another carrier. And that I had to wait 2hrs for the completion of unlocking. After the 2hrs, I got my sim card from my Cricket iphone 5c and inserted in my wifes 5s and Viola! It worked to perfection. Strong signal with LTE!. All thanks to this article and comments. Again, if you have a 5S, Virgin Mobile will unlock, with hassle, expect to wait long on hold, and call from a another phone so they can do the unlock on the iphone. If you have a 5s it will work perfectly with AT&T and Cricket Wireless.

    ReplyDelete
  36. The Apple store told me they were fooling with my settings after unlocking it that's why I had slow downloads.I am going cricket

    ReplyDelete
  37. Virgin mobile really stinks. We have had our iphone 5S service for 1 year. we got the applecare plan and used it 6 months after we got the virgin phone and had the device replaced due to damage.. now they are telling us since the device was activated 6 months into being with them, it does not qualify. I used very strong explitives beginning with "F" and "Y". we will be leaving them now anyway and hope we can get this 5S unlock somehow, but we have an unlocked 6 anyway that we will now use.

    ReplyDelete
  38. I say call again,if you have time,and try a little sugar,till they give in.

    ReplyDelete
  39. i have repeatedly called virgin mobile to get help with unlocking my iphone 4s that I had pruchased from them when i had their service. I moved to where there is NO virgin mobile service at all, they of course needed to verify this, and they refuse to help. after my boyfriend and i giving them a hard time they gave me a code. Told me to give the code to the service provider that I was switching to, well it seems that no other company will or are able to unlock the phone. They stated they dont unlock another company's phone. So after all the months of hassle and even conversing with Apple, I now have a 350.00 dollar paper weight that i only used for a month.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sell your paperweight on Swappa for ~$185 minus their $10 sales fee.

      Delete
    2. Try telling Virgin Mobile that you are traveling internationally and would like your phone unlocked to use non-US SIMs. Several people have reported that after Sprint, Boost or Virgin unlocked their iPhones for international use they also worked with AT&T or T-Mobile SIMs.

      Delete
  40. I had Sprint unlock an iphone 5 for international use. I connected with Cricket Wireless yesterday. Only one minor flaw, it does not pick up LTE, only 4G. Everything else works perfectly.

    ReplyDelete
  41. I have a Samsung Galaxy s5 I bought at radio shack a couple months back and I deactivated it because I got an iPhone 6 with sprint I was wondering if I could unlock it and sell it.

    ReplyDelete
  42. So if I purchase an IPhone 5s from ATT can I use it with Virgin Mobile?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, only Virgin Mobile phones can be used on Virgin Mobile.

      Delete
    2. The article above states that VM is only going to let you unlock one of their own phones, and only after you have been using that phone for a year while it's locked. Sounds really stupid and parental to me. Especially since they are too cheap to even sell a Galaxy S6 yet. LOL

      Delete
  43. Is this info still accurate? Can a iphone 5 be used on virgin mobile?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The information in the post is still accurate. However it doesn't say anything about whether you can use an iPhone 5 on Virgin Mobile.

      You can only use Virgin Mobile phones on Virgin Mobile. So if the iPhone 5 you want to use was originally sold for use on Virgin Mobile you can use it, otherwise you can't.

      Delete
  44. So to date is there anyway to unlock a virgin mobile IPHONE 5???

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There are 3rd parties that will do it for a price.

      Delete
    2. Could you list some safe third parties??

      Delete
    3. Google is your friend. I recommend calling local phone repair shops and independent cell phone dealers first. You are more likely to get your money back if something goes wrong.

      If you can't find anyone local do a Google search for "unlock virgin mobile usa iphone 5" you will find a few sites that claim to do it. I won't post links to them as I don't have any experience with any of them.

      Delete
  45. As of today has there been any update on whether "some" CDMA VMUSA phones can be activated under Sprint? I left VM early 2015 and they also unlocked my S3 I had with them as well which I found to be silly because at the end of the day I wasn't able to use it anyway. No network would activate it and I ended up buying a GSM S4 and moved to At&t. What I don't get is, what was the purpose of the unlock if I couldn't use it? I understand not being able to use it with certain companies but not being able to use it with "Sprint or Boost" was stupid and a waste of $400.

    ReplyDelete
  46. So they will unlock an iPhone 6s? Is there a fee? Or can I just put my VM SIM card in? I'm buying a phone that was a pay as you go Verizon phone. Hoping I can transfer it to VM as I'm paying $30 a month for unlimited everything.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You cannot use that phone on Virgin. They do not support non-Virgin phones.

      Delete
  47. Is it possible to switch a new iphone se bought with virgin and not activated onto boosts network

    ReplyDelete
  48. Can a Boost Mobile phone be unlocked for Straight Talk? Would I have to tell Boost Mobile I need it unlocked for international travel?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, depending on whether the phone can be "unlocked." 12 monthly payment to Boost first, or pay for an online GSM unlock for dual-mode phones that you plan to use for ST BYOP with a GSM SIM. A Boost international-only unlock will not help you use a GSM SIM with a USA carrier code. Finally, you have to have an unlimited plan, not All You Need plan.

      Delete
  49. apologies if this has already been addressed/asked

    my girlfriend has a sprint samsung galaxy s5. it was her old contract phone. she's not using it anymore and said i could have it.

    unfortunately i'm a virgin mobile customer (prepaid) is there any way that i can activate this phone on virgin?

    i have an htc desire 816 currently that leaves A LOT to be desired. it's FULL of bloatware that can't be removed. i can't update ANY apps whatsoever and i can't download any apps whatsoever. it's like the phone was planned to be obsolete right out of the box

    thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sprint phones can not be used on Virgin Mobile. You could use the S5 on Boost Mobile or a Sprint MVNO like RingPlus, Real Mobile or Ting.

      Delete
  50. forgive my ignorance, but isn't virgin, sprints "prepaid division" for lack of a better phrase? i mean i know they're exclusively on sprints network

    the htc desire 816 i have has left a really bad taste in my mouth. it's only about a year old and i can't update anything because of all the bloatware that cant be removed. i spent a lot of money on the 816 too. i don't understand why they cant just activate the s5 i have. i've been shopping around and for a "virgin mobile" s5 it's like $200-$300. not trying to spend that kind of money, when i already spent that on the 816, and i already have an s5 granted its sprint but that shouldn't matter in my opinion.

    it's the epitome of greed if you ask me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, Virgin Mobile is part of the Sprint Prepaid Group along with Sprint's other prepaid brands (namely Boost, Sprint Prepaid, and Lifeline provider Assurance). Of the four nationwide carriers, Sprint is the most restrictive over which services' phones' can be activated where. To make matters worse, Sprint is in the middle of "relaunching" Virgin although no specific date other than "this year" has been given. Sprint has already stated that in the meantime VM isn't a priority for them. If you have the time/inclination the previous VM coverage here is worth a read.

      My candid advice from one reader to another is if you'd like to use the S5, consider activating it on a Sprint MVNO. You may get a less expensive rate, better customer service, and/or both although VM perks like free music streaming aren't available. There are quite a few MVNOs and the list of the best on this site is the best list anywhere (what you want is a service with "yes" in the BYOSD column):
      http://www.prepaidphonenews.com/2013/02/sprint-and-sprint-mvno-plans-compared.html

      I realize the decision is between keeping your VM plan or using the S5, which one you decide is up to you.

      Delete
  51. u could switch to boost mobile and use the sprint s5 on that service

    ReplyDelete
  52. Hey I'd actually like to use my Boost Mobiles S5 on Sprint as Boost took extra money out of my account and still haven't refunded me or given me my full service including mobile hot spot. Such crooks after 16years of my loyal service they decide they should steal extra money of my card. So sad for their business tactics. They urge customers to please sign up there debit cards for Auto-Reboost for a $5 discount however, they restart your plan and take money although you just made payment day before. They disagree with wrong doing saying you signed up for Auto-Reboost thus consenting to restart the account resulting in card being charged. Sorry but all we can do is give you a $5 discount if you switch from $60 a month plan to the $50 unlimited as long as you keep your card regestered for Auto-Reboost. Some loyal service they offer. So I need to know how I can get MSL code for Samsung Galaxy S5 to activate service with Sprint, without having to contact BoostMobile ?....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Having the MSL code would not let you activate a Boost Mobile phone on Sprint.

      Delete
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