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Sprint's iPhone 4S was being sold unlocked, won't be anymore

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The SIM card in Sprint's iPhone 4S — used for international roaming — will be locked to the phone on new activations starting today.

iPhone 4S press shot
iPhone 4S press shot

Up until now, Sprint's iPhone 4S was being sold to customers with the SIM card unlocked, meaning you could theoretically slide a non-Sprint SIM in there while overseas and avoid the carrier's standard roaming fees — but that's not happening anymore (at least, not without jumping through some customer service hoops). A new document obtained by SprintFeed suggests that starting today, the phones are being sold SIM-locked as you'd normally expect. Interestingly, customers who've already picked up and activated their 4S won't be impacted; in other words, their SIMs remain unlocked.

A little background is in order, though: Sprint had originally said that the iPhone 4S would start out SIM-unlocked, suggesting that an update would be pushed to lock those phones "shortly" after launch — so the fact that this document says existing iPhone customers won't be impacted is a notable change. If you need it unlocked, most major carriers have a policy in place that allows customers in good standing to go through a process and have that done, but if you buy a 4S from Sprint starting today, you'll need to call into customer service to kick off that process.

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