The new iPhone 15
Yet7gn's profile

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34 Messages

Friday, November 10th, 2017 12:39 AM

What is the difference between an unlocked prepaid iPhone SE and a post-paid iPhone SE?

If I buy a used iPhone to use on the ATT prepaid plan, does it matter if it is an unlocked post-paid, unlocked prepaid, or a factory unlocked iPhone?

ACE - Expert

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64.7K Messages

6 years ago

No, no difference between any of them. 

ACE - Sage

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116K Messages

6 years ago

    You may have noticed the prices are different.  Phones sold for prepaid are discounted and will not be unlocked until used for 6 months of consecutive paid service.  If you paid full price you could get an exception to the unlock policy after the 14 day return period expires.  

     An unlocked phone will work on another carrier.  So if traveling or switching carriers your phone will work if compatible.  

    We have noticed all iPhones will lock to ATT once used on the network unless they were specifically purchased as a Sim free phone from Apple.  Apple doesn’t seem to be selling Sim free iPhone SE.  

I hope that covers the whole confusing mess. 

 

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34 Messages

6 years ago

@lizdance40  What do you mean they will lock to ATT? Even if you bring your own unlocked device? What happens when it locks to ATT? How would I then unlock it again? My daughter will be traveling and plans to buy a local SIM in each country. Will she experience any issues?

ACE - Sage

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116K Messages

6 years ago

@Yet7gn  We’ve had some weird reports from customers who paid full price for “unlocked” iphones, usually at Best Buy or other retailer.  They’re  thinking they paid full price and have an unlocked iPhone and can use It anywhere.  Some even use it out of the US before using it on ATT.  This triggers the ATT lock.  They can get It unlocked but it’s a hassle.

     Apple seems to have done something with the last few phone generations which causes iPhones to lock to the first US carrier used.  (Except Verizon as they can’t lock phones).  But especially to ATT.  

   But if the phone is purchased (full price) from and registered on Verizon first It won’t lock to ATT.  

Since Verizon prepaid allows Wifi calling, and the phone can be used on any carrier later, it provides more freedom is she want to change to ATT, or travel in Europe, etc.  

 

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34 Messages

6 years ago

@lizdance40I just re-read your answer here - after reading several other posts on the forum. I am so dense! Now I finally can wrap my head around your answer and understand what you are saying about the Verizon iPhone SE not locking to ATT while other iPhone SE phones will. Thanks for that info. Very strange hiccup, it seems.

So, it sounds like buying a used Verizon iPhone SE is the best course of action if I am on a prepaid plan and I want to remain unlocked if I later try to sell or if I travel a lot out of the country? Or does it really matter? Is that hiccup just a minor inconvenience that can be easily resolved? What if ATT finally brings VoLTE and WiFi to the prepaid plan. Do you think I would be out of luck with a Verizon branded phone?

 

Also, my daughter is actually taking an iPhone 5S out of the country - not the SE I'm looking for, which is for me. It was, I believe, ATT branded. So, will she have any particular issues overseas or when she comes back to ATT next summer?

ACE - Sage

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116K Messages

6 years ago


@Yet7gn wrote:

@lizdance40I just re-read your answer here - after reading several other posts on the forum. I am so dense! Now I finally can wrap my head around your answer and understand what you are saying about the Verizon iPhone SE not locking to ATT while other iPhone SE phones will. Thanks for that info. Very strange hiccup, it seems.

So, it sounds like buying a used Verizon iPhone SE is the best course of action if I am on a prepaid plan and I want to remain unlocked if I later try to sell or if I travel a lot out of the country? Or does it really matter? Is that hiccup just a minor inconvenience that can be easily resolved? What if ATT finally brings VoLTE and WiFi to the prepaid plan. Do you think I would be out of luck with a Verizon branded phone?

 

Also, my daughter is actually taking an iPhone 5S out of the country - not the SE I'm looking for, which is for me. It was, I believe, ATT branded. So, will she have any particular issues overseas or when she comes back to ATT next summer?


@Yet7gn

No sweat.  It’s a complex couple of issues.   ATT and Apple have further mucked it up with their lock/unlock quirks.  

Which to buy?    It depends on how much you want to pay -vs- need for it to be unlocked in under 6 months.   $160 is the going rate for the SE on prepaid.    A used Verizon 5s will work on ATT, it’s just older tech.  It has a lot of bands and will work fine almost anywhere.   No problems.   My mom is actually using my sons old 5s here and for travel.

 

 

 

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34 Messages

6 years ago

@lizdance40 ,  I think I confused the issue. I am only considering buying an SE for me, not the 5s. So, I'm wondering if I should go with a Verizon because it won't ever have lock problems if I travel, or if I should get an ATT branded phone so I can take advantage of VoLTE if it ever comes to the prepaid plan - say in the next 2 years.

 

I have been looking for one that has 128 gb because I plan to backpack and don't want to worry about how many pictures I have on the phone before I have to download it. So, I'm trying to find that instead of buying the 32gb that is for sale from ATT prepaid - though I am still considering that one, too.

ACE - Expert

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64.7K Messages

6 years ago

@Yet7gn The Verizon iPhone SE is fully functional on ATT, including VOLTE and WiFi calling (on postpaid). If they ever extend that to prepaid, it will work fine. You do not need an ATT branded iPhone for advanced calling services. iPhones are the one exception.

Mentor

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34 Messages

6 years ago

That sounds great, @sandblaster. I appreciate it very much!

Now, on my daughter's iPhone 5s, I believe that it was originally an ATT branded phone, though not absolutely positive since it was used. She is currently on the ATT prepaid plan, but will be traveling to several countries, with a brief 2 week stop between countries back here in the U.S. before continuing on with other countries. Will she have to do something to unlock it from ATT before she can use it with local phone plans in the various countries she is going to be traveling in?

Contributor

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2 Messages

6 years ago

I am on the att NEXT plan.  Can I buy the prepaid att iphone se and pop in the sim card from my contract phone? The prepaid phone is about $200 cheaper than the NEXT upgrade price.

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