In a recent update to its unlocking policy FAQ page, Sprint revealed plans to make all new devices unlockable starting early next year on Feb. 11. Any smartphones or tablets sold by the carrier after that date should be easy to unlock — though for now you’re pretty limited on where you can take those phones, considering Sprint operates a CDMA voice network. Unlocking a device on AT&T or T-Mobile is more beneficial most of the time, since you can then use it on GSM networks around the globe, so long as your phone supports the proper bands.
Sprint says it’s still struggling to make all its devices unlockable. Specifically, the carrier points to the SIM slot on the iPhone, which it says can’t be unlocked. “Sprint has no technological process available to do this,” the carrier explained.
Today’s news is just the latest update in the ongoing smartphone unlocking saga. Back in 2013 the U.S. government made it illegal to unlock your smartphone as part of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Later that year, the FCC and the four major carriers came to an agreement that would allow customers to unlock their devices once they had paid for the entire phone or tablet. Clearly, Sprint is still struggling to meet these new guidelines, though it looks like the carrier is closing in on a solution.
Until it can make all its new devices unlockable, Sprint will still unlock any eligible phones or tablets, though the company says it can’t guarantee the device will even work on a competing carrier’s network.