Only the carrier that the phone was locked to in the US can unlock your phone! look at your reciept and see which carrier it references on the reciept. What store did you buy it from. And there are no unlocked phones sold in the US yet.
No. Apple did NOT advertise that all iPhone 5's were unlocked. You misunderstood badly.
Unlocked iPhone 5's are not currently available in the US.
To the OP. Return the phone and buy one you can use. Preferably in the country where it will be used.
The last sentence is critical.
Do you understand what roaming it?
Nowhere in there does it state that the phone is unlocked or that it can be used on a carrier other than the one the phone was sold for other than for roaming.
Roaming means that your carrier, AT&T for example, has an agreement with a carrier in another part of the world. Let's say Vodafone, for example.
With you AT&T SIM card in the phone, you can "roam" onto the Vodafone network, provided you have your account provisioned to allow international roaming.
You will pay outrageous charges to AT&T for making calls while roaming, but you will be able to make and receive calls.
Some carriers, primarily the CDMA carriers, may unlock the SIM slot so that you can use a local SIM while in a foreign country.
No where does it state that all iPhone 5's are unlocked. In fact, NO iPhone 5's sold in the U.S. are officially "unlocked" at the moment.
The Verizon iPhone 5 does have an unlocked SIM slot due to an agreement between the U.S. government and Verizon regarding purchasing additional spectrum for their network. There are also reports that an AT&T iPhone 5 purchased as a no-commitment phone will become unlocked if you plug it into iTunes and restore it before activating. That is NOT, however, written in stone. AT&T has made no public statement to that effect and is not legally obligated to do so.
Not entirely, no. It is not advertised or sold as "unlocked" No CDMA iPhone is truly, completely, unlocked. They are legally prohibited from preventing SIM cards from other carriers from working in the iPhone 5 (and any newer phones). However, there are some 'issues' surrounding the use of some features on other networks.
Apple does not sell any iPhone 5's in the U.S. as "unlocked". The Verizon iPhone is not an "unlocked" phone. It has an unrestricted Nano-SIM slot. It's splitting hairs, maybe, but it is what it is.
Did you specifically purchase the Verizon iPhone 5?
Do you have a "real" Nano-SIM from your carrier, or did you try cutting one?
What carrier are you trying to use?
What is the EXACT message you get when you try to activate the phone.
Sorry to jump in so late, but I have been trying to get a definitive answer to the question of using a Version provided iPhone 4S (and possibly a new iPhone 5) in France and Spain this summer. I also have a WiFi only iPad 2 (and am thinking of getting an iPad mini.)
If I understand the preceeding correctly (and some other posts I have seen) I will NOT have any issue securing a local (Orange or some other - any suggestions) sim (micro sim) card for either the iPhone 4S or 5. Am I correct in my understanding?
If so, what about using the Hotspot feature of the OS to link the iPad to it?
With the iPhone 4S you may be able to use any microSIM that is compatible, you will have to ask Verizon for a definitive answer.
The Verizon iPhone 5 is unlocked. You can use any nanoSIM that is compatible.
The Hotspot feature depends on the cell carrier you are using.