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SJJ1978 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

Our family has the Verizon Iphone 5, model MD655LL/A, which as everyone knows is the A1429 phone on the verizon network.  I have seen numerous posts about this particular phone being unlocked when purchased.  We are looking to move service to T-mobile as the plans are much cheaper and need to cut back on our budget due to a family member layoff.


Through research I have seen posts that the iphone 5 on verizon can be taken to t-mobile, but then again, other posts say that the phone can not be transferred. If we were to transfer the phone, what problems could we potentially have? 


Posts I have seen all say that the 4g coverage via T-mobile would not work, instead we would be limited to 3G service, essentially making our iphone 5's work like a iphone 4.  This is not a problem to us as we are on Wi-Fi service approx 85% of the time.  The main concern with the 3G service would be worrying if the GPS is still going to work on the phone, as we use this for driving directions often. 


Are there any other potential problems we could be facing with transferring the service over?  We talked to t-mobile and they assured everything would be fine, but, we could ease our thoughts by going to a store and letting them try the phones. The nearest T-mobile store is a hour drive, so we decided to look for help online first. 



THanks for any information as your time is greatly appreciated!

iPhone 5, iOS 6.1.4
  • wjosten Level 10 Level 10 (94,020 points)

    Yes, a Verizon iPhone 5 will activate on T-Mobile's network, with a T-Mobile nano sim installed. However, you will NOT get LTE on T-Mobile's network, only 3G. To get LTE, requires the Verizon sim be installed & the phone be used on Verizon's network.


    The sim slot on all Verizon iPhone 5's is unlocked out of the gate.

  • SJJ1978 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)



    Would you forsee any problems with apps, such as GPS?  Or would the data just be slower?


    Thanks for your above answer, the time is appreciated.

  • wjosten Level 10 Level 10 (94,020 points)

    No, you won't have any issues at all. You just won't be able to use T-Mobile's LTE network, that's all.

  • David Wess Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

    Follow up question - I also have the Verizon IPhone 5. I would like to take advantage of T-Mobile's new international plan. I propose to order the sim from T-Mobile and install it in my Iphone. I will enroll in the Simple Choice plan and utilize it while overseas, for approximately 2 weeks. Upon my return to the US, I will cancel the Simple Choice plan, remove the T-Mobile sim and reinstall the Verizon sim.


    Will this program work? Does the sim swap do anything to the phone itself? When I reinstall the Verizon sim, will the phone function just as before?


    Lastly, have you actually installed a T-Mobile sim in a Verizon Iphone? In other words, is your response based upon your personal experience?


    Thanks for your assistance, much appreciated.

  • mizelly41 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I am in the process of doing what you are planning on doing.  I have a Verizon iPhone 5s.  I just received my T-Mobile sim today.  After putting in the phone, the T-Mobile network came up, but as mentioned, I could not get LTE to work. Only GPRS.  I put my Verizon sim back in and restarted and everything went back to Verizon as normal.


    I have not gone overseas yet, so I am not exactly sure how it will work over there, but we shall see.

  • luv2mtb Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I purchased an iPhone 5, model MD654LL/A from Verizon in October/12. I moved overseas in January/13. I returned Stateside to Northern VA/DC area for two weeks in August and purcahsed a T-Mobile sim card and activated my iPhone on their network. The sales rep explained that many of their towers were not equipped with the specific 4G antennas that my particular model had but that they were in the process of retro-fitting their towers and that many towers in my home area would support my phone on their 4G network. Sure enough, I had 4G service in most places. They packed a lot of antennas into the Verizon iPhone 5's but they couldn't possibly fit all of the availability of 4G service depends on what antennas your area cell towers have.

  • RlCO Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Hi wojosten,


    I had my iphone5 model MD654LL/A, When I put my Tmobile or ATT sim card into this phone, it works as normal when I turn off cellular. The problem comes when I turn on cellular, and using browser, the signal will decrease to no signal, then I could never open browser. I googled online, people say this model can only support tmobile and att 3G not LTE, but for me, it does not work with any cellular related functionality. Is my iphone with special problem. I am consider changing an iphone in apple store.

  • David Wess Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

    I have the Verizon IPhone 5S/64GB. I traveled to SE Asia, Singapore and Hong Kong from 12/5/13-12/22/13. Prior to my trip, I telephone T-Mobile and requested a SIM card, which arrived the next day. I removed the Verizon SIM card (using a small paper clip since I do have not the tool) and inserted my T-Mobile SIM. I did nothing else at all, no changes in configuration whatsoeer, simply replaced the SIM.


    When I turned the phone back on, I got a voice message instructing me to connect with T-Mobile (using the IPhone) which I did immediately, by pressing the keypad number as instructed. A representative came on the line, and I explained my situation. The representative placed me on hold and set up my account. He asked me which area code I preferred, and when I responded he assigned me a phone number. Within about ten minutes the number was active and I was able to make and receive calls on it. On my trip, the phone functioned flawlessly in all respects. Of course, coverage was spotty and/or unavailable in some areas, but that is to be expected. Data was slow, but I knew that would be the case.


    A few days ago I received my bill covering the period I was overseas. As advertised, all calls were billed at twenty cents per minute, and data was provided no charge. I am very pleased with the T-Mobile service. Their new international plan enabled me to call back to the US numerous times and stay in touch.


    You are using an Iphone 5, not a 5S, but I somehow doubt that your cellular issue relates to the phone model. I would start by calling t-Mobile, and if that does not work, contact Apple. You should definitiely (based upon my experience) be able to get T-Mobile cellular service on your Verizon Iphone.

  • icetherice Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Hey David,


    Quick question for ya.  When you were overseas, did anyone from the US ever call you?  And were they charged with making an international call?



  • David Wess Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

    I received many calls, probably at least twenty. My travel buddy received several calls from his wife on my phone. Some of the calls were long, up to forty minutes. To my knowledge, none of the callers were charged any more than the usual rate for their regular plan, either home or cell. People who called me were not making international calls. They were making local calls to an area code 914 number. It makes sense, since they would have no means of knowing if I was a mile away or ten thousand miles away.


    I received no unsolicited calls because I gave my T-Mobile number only to a few people. That was for my protection, since I would pay for the airtime, and if the calls came in while I was on the cruise ship, it would cost me several dollars per minute. I also suspended my regular Verizon number, though callers would only have been able to leave a message. This saved me two weeks of Verizon charges while I was away and not using my Verizon phone anyhow.


    Message was edited by: David Wess

  • katclutise Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Hi David,


    I am going to China for a month and considering do the same thing and purchase a T-mobile sim to use on my Verizon Iphone 5. I have couple questions if you don't mind sharing your expertise.

    -Were all calls 20 cents/minute or only outgoing calls? Someone had told me that T-mobile only charged for outgoing calls to land lines.

    -Did you do anything to your verizon plan while your were gone? I didn't know if I would be able to suspend service in the middle of my active contract.

    -how did messaging work? were you charged extra?



  • NikaP Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    From T-Mobile Site:

    Roaming Rates — China

    See coverage map for this country

    Simple Choice Plan


    Includes international roaming at no extra charge. No additional service required on qualifying Simple Choice Plans.

    Talking: While roaming in this country, the following charges apply:

    Calls to the US:

    • Cellular calls: $.20 per minute
    • Wi-Fi calls: FREE

    Calls to countries other than the US:

    • Cellular calls: $.20 per minute
    • Wi-Fi calls: $.20 per minute
    Calls received from any country:
    • Cellular calls: $.20 per minute
    • Wi-Fi calls: FREE

    • Texting: Unlimited, included at no extra charge
    • Data: Unlimited, included at no extra charge*
  • NikaP Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks for this information David, I think I will do this also for my overseas trip.

  • Sleep doc Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I can add to this by confirming that I've used a tmobile SIM internationally, and it works beautifully, and without extra charges.


    I happen to be in Vietnam currently, and was in Hong Kong last week. I was in Egypt last fall. Each time I had reliable voice and 3G data. It sets up seamlessly when you arrive overseas - just come out of airplane mode and after searching, you're connected.


    As far as handsets:

    I have used

    1) an AT&T iPhone 4S, which was unlocked by AT&T at my request

    2) a Verizon iPhone 5, which, as above, is carrier unlocked (international) by default


    After seeing that it worked so well, I now have bought a carrier unlocked iPhone 5S to use as a primary phone on tmobile both at home and overseas.....


    And interestingly, I have also found that my Verizon iPhone 5 works in the US with a tmobile SIM. I wasn't expect ting that to happen.....


    So, in summary, having tmobile service it works beautifully, as advertised.

    For my trip to Egypt, I skeptically got a no contract plan to use just for my trip on the ATT unlocked phone, and cancelled on my return. In January when my contract ended I ported my verizon number to a new tmobile acct with the unlocked 5S and I could not be more satisfied. No more searching for SIMs on arrival to foreign lands.....

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