TL;DR “What consumers need to understand is that there are actually four different versions of the iPhone 4S: Verizon, Sprint, AT&T, and Apple. Only the Apple phone, available from their stores or on-line, is fully unlocked and can be used on any carrier. The other phones are permanently locked and cannot ever be used on another carrier in the U.S. Even if you spend $800 for an unlocked phone as I did and dedicate it to a single U.S. carrier, you are locked into that carrier forever if you want to keep using the iPhone. Neither Apple or the other carriers will fully unlock your carrier phone.” – How U.S. Carriers Fool You Into Thinking Your iPhone 4S Is Unlocked
Marc Weber Tobias tells a chilling story about how the major cell carriers are deliberately crippling iPhone 4S handsets bought directly from them so that the handsets can never be unlocked and used on any other carrier. Short-term solution? Buy your handset directly from Apple, however, the carriers have policies in place to prevent customers from doing just that, which Tobias also discusses. Long-term solution? The situation is simply one more symptom of our current crisis with mega-corporations run amuck. Only a return to collectively assuming responsibility and engaging in governing will address the crisis, nothing less will do.