A reader, Carina, asks…
I have a problem. My brother upgraded to a new phone. He uses Sprint and gave me his old Sprint iPhone 5s. My mom and have been looking to activate the phone. We know about Straight Talk, but are wondering what other options we have.
Your Sprint iPhone 5s is the A1547 model. This iPhone is technically compatible with all four major networks: AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint. However, this phone may be locked. If the iPhone is locked you should be able to use that Sprint iPhone 5s with Sprint. You may be able to use it with other prepaid wireless services that use the Sprint network such as Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile, or Ting. Sprint also as prepaid service but unfortunately it seems they require you to buy a phone to use their prepaid service.
If your phone is unlocked, you have more options. There are dozens of prepaid wireless services that use the AT&T. Verizon, or T-Mobile networks and you could use this iPhone A1457 with one of those.
I recommend that you first check to see if this iPhone 5s is unlocked. One simple way to do this is to borrow a nano-sim card from a friend that uses AT&T or T-Mobile. Put their SIM in your iPhone. If you can make a call with it, your phone is unlocked.
If your iPhone isn’t unlocked you can try resetting the iPhone and restoring it to see if it unlocks. You’ll need s PC or Mac with iTunes. See . Once you do this check again to see if the phone is unlocked. You could try this first too.
If the iPhone is still locked, your brother may be able to get Sprint to unlock it. He can contact Sprint Customer Care and if he meets their eligibility requirements. If he does, they should unlock it for you and provideany instructions you need to complete the unlock. You can find a link to Sprint’s unlocking policy at the bottom of my carrier unlock article, see Unlocking Your AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon or Sprint iPhone, Android, or Windows Phone
If you want to use that iPhone 5s with the wireless company that uses the Sprint or Verizon networks, you’ll need to check the phone’s serial number or IMEI with that company to make sure it can be activated. You’ll need to get a SIM kit with a nano SIM, pick a plan, and you can activate the phone online.
If you choose to use a service that uses the AT&T or T-Mobile network, you don’t need to check the MEID, you’ll be able to buy a SIM, pick a plan and activate the phone.
In most cases, you can transfer your existing phone number if you want to.
As far as picking which wireless company to use, well that is up to you. I’d say first decide which network works best where you want to use your phone, is the AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, or Sprint. Once you decided you’ll need to pick a plan based on how much talk, text, and data you’ll need and how much you are willing to spend per month.
If you want to use the Sprint network, you can use your phone with Sprint, but not Sprint prepaid. You could look to have your brother add a second line for you and save a little money with a family plan. Both prepaid wireless companies Boost Mobile and Virgin use the Sprint network. You should be able to use the phone with Boost’s BYOD plan, but it looks like Virgin Mobile won’t let you use a Sprint phone on their network to avoid competing with Sprint. You may also be able to use it with FreedomPop’s Sprint network or possible Ting too.
To use it with the AT&T,Verizon, or T-Mobile networks there a dozens of options.
All of this may be a bit overwhelming. First try to find out if the iPhone is locked or not and see if Sprint will unlock it. Once you do this you can concentrate on finding a wireless company and service plan.
I hope this helps. If you have any other questions, leave them below.