Author Topic: Cell phone unlocking--how to tell if it's unlocked?  (Read 13941 times)

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Offline ZENGHOST

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Cell phone unlocking--how to tell if it's unlocked?
« on: February 14, 2006, 07:03:48 AM »
Okay, I did do a search on HowardForums but this is one of those subjects that seems to set off some nerves over there and since I'm unlikely to ban myself for this thread I figured I'd ask here.

Here's the deal--I have Nextel and I currently own an i830.  The stupid thing is falling apart so I decided to get a new phone.  My friend told me I should pick up the i835, which is the black version of my phone (bronze/copper color).  Only problem is that the i835 is a Boost mobile phone.  He tells me he bought one for his wife who has the same phone as me and broke it as well, and he says just get an unlocked one and it'll work with my Nextel sim.  Okay, so I go to the bay where he got the wife's, and the seller he got his from wasn't selling anymore so I just got one from someone else that was selling a used, but mint, one.  I win the auction and get the phone, but when I pop my sim in, it asks me for a "secret code" and the front LCD says "subsidy lock."  Thinking I got scammed, I contact the seller asking if it really was unlocked.  Girl tells me that she has Nextel and it worked fine for her.  Now, looking around on the cell phone forum, it looks like that "subsidy lock" means the damned thing isn't unlocked, but I can't very well just say "hey, you f**king liar, give me my money back!"  Well, I could, but I'd rather not get into a feedback war.  So the gist of this long winded post is, am I correct in that it is still locked, or could it have miraculously locked itself on the flight over here, or can there be a problem with my sim that causes it to look locked when it isn't?  I'm going to get my friends wife to try it out with her sim since her's apparently works, but until then i thought I'd seek some advice.  Any recommendations on how to proceed?  If there's anything you want to share but don't want to post to the thread then feel free to email me, but I'm not looking for anything illegal or anything, just want to find out if I'm an idiot or if I just got scammed--though I wouldn't mind finding out where I could get it unlocked (assuming that it's legal).  I might just end up selling it off and buying another one (or just living with the broken one).  Thanks.
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Offline Yaesumofo

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Re: Cell phone unlocking--how to tell if it's unlocked?
« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2006, 07:16:37 AM »
your phone is an att or tmobile or cingular, GSM phone. ask sombody ...a friend who is on another one of those systems not the same as yours.
Try  to use his sim card on your phone. If it works the phone is most likely not locked.
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Offline Darkgear

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Re: Cell phone unlocking--how to tell if it's unlocked?
« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2006, 09:30:12 AM »
Unlocking generally refers to removing the subsidy lock on the phone. A subsidy lock is what providers put on a phone so that the phone can only be used with that specific provider's service. For example, if your phone is locked to Cingular, then it will only work with a Cingular SIM. If you attempt to put in a T-Mobile SIM, your phone will not work with that SIM and it will instead ask for a subsidy code. An unlocked phone would be able to use any carrier's SIM without problems.

Now it could be that it is unlocked to a a GSM provider.  Nextel is NOT on a GSM network... Southern LINC and Nextel/Boost have an iDEN network. Remember: just because they use a sim card doesn't technically mean they are on GSM.

You could try a T-mo or Cingular sim and see if it works.  Then you will know if the phone is a Boost phone or GSM.  Call me and I can help you figure it out.

Randy

Offline Darkgear

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Re: Cell phone unlocking--how to tell if it's unlocked?
« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2006, 09:33:02 AM »
BTW you don't get banned on HoFo for asking about locked phones.  You get banned for asking for help with unlocking a phone.

Offline Geologist

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Re: Cell phone unlocking--how to tell if it's unlocked?
« Reply #4 on: February 14, 2006, 11:26:54 AM »
Of course - I have come across many sites over the years with software for overcoming these obstacles.  Currently, the best place to find this type of software is on the file sharing networks.  Just be carefull for Viri, Trojans, etc...
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Offline bwaites

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Re: Cell phone unlocking--how to tell if it's unlocked?
« Reply #5 on: February 14, 2006, 02:49:14 PM »
As someone who is completely naive on this, why is unlocking them treated as a sin or breaking the law?

I have an extra Cingular razor, which I would like to use on the old ATT GSM network, but can't. Cingular says they can't unlock it, they don't know how at the local level. So I'm stuck with a phone that I can't use.

Bill

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Re: Cell phone unlocking--how to tell if it's unlocked?
« Reply #6 on: February 14, 2006, 03:23:30 PM »
Withdrawn
« Last Edit: February 14, 2006, 05:13:43 PM by Lips »
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Offline zens

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Re: Cell phone unlocking--how to tell if it's unlocked?
« Reply #7 on: February 14, 2006, 03:47:29 PM »
I just smashed my unlocked black razr in frustration.  The new razr v3x looks pretty sweet though.

Offline Geologist

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Re: Cell phone unlocking--how to tell if it's unlocked?
« Reply #8 on: February 14, 2006, 04:42:03 PM »
Welcome zens to Flashlight-Forums.com!

I don't think it is illegal - they just want the phone that they payed for to earn revenue off their network.  Here in Germany, you can by lots of phones that you preload the sim card account with money.  People then buy these phones (nice phones btw) for ~50-100 Euros, then when the included money runs out, you unlock the phone and then sell it.  Hard to do with some models....
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Offline bwaites

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Re: Cell phone unlocking--how to tell if it's unlocked?
« Reply #9 on: February 14, 2006, 06:07:18 PM »
If it is not illegal, why all the fuss?

So is there somewhere to go to find out how to unlock them?

Bill

Offline ZENGHOST

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Re: Cell phone unlocking--how to tell if it's unlocked?
« Reply #10 on: February 14, 2006, 07:30:28 PM »
You could try a T-mo or Cingular sim and see if it works.  Then you will know if the phone is a Boost phone or GSM.  Call me and I can help you figure it out.
I'd say the phone is definitely a Boost--it has boost written on it and when it starts up you get the boost logo.  So I'm thinking I just got screwed.  But I'm curious if I got flat out lied to or if there's some way for the seller to have been able to use it with Nextel (as she claims) and yet not have my card work with it.

BTW you don't get banned on HoFo for asking about locked phones.  You get banned for asking for help with unlocking a phone.
Yeah, I read that, but it was one of those subjects that gets a lot of flack for regardless.

If it is not illegal, why all the fuss?

So is there somewhere to go to find out how to unlock them?

Bill
Actually, I think on some forums they don't allow it because they have paid advertisers that sell the service and that's why they don't let you discuss it.  I just wasn't positive about it's legality.
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Offline MR Bulk

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Re: Cell phone unlocking--how to tell if it's unlocked?
« Reply #11 on: February 14, 2006, 08:32:04 PM »
Zenny, I got a lightly used Sony Ericsson LOCKED but it wass locked to Cingular which is the service I use so I went ahead.  And so when I got it and stuck in the SIM card it STILL said "phone locked" but asked for an unlock code.  Got that 4-digit code from the seller, input it, and it all works fine now.  Yours?
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Offline bwaites

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Re: Cell phone unlocking--how to tell if it's unlocked?
« Reply #12 on: February 14, 2006, 08:51:24 PM »
MRBulk, there's a difference between the LOCKED you are talking about, which is a user feature to keep others from using your phone, and the locked we are discussing here, which locks a phone to only one service.

I have an unlocked Razr, and a second locked one that will only work on Cingular. The frustrating thing is that my kids are still on ATT wireless, (don't ask, it's an ATT/Cingular thing!) and I would love one of them to be able to use my locked phone. (They can't use my unlocked one as it is a business line and owned by my boss.)

Bill

Offline MR Bulk

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Re: Cell phone unlocking--how to tell if it's unlocked?
« Reply #13 on: February 14, 2006, 09:06:55 PM »
Dang, thanks.
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Offline gregw

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Re: Cell phone unlocking--how to tell if it's unlocked?
« Reply #14 on: February 15, 2006, 10:05:09 AM »
As someone who is completely naive on this, why is unlocking them treated as a sin or breaking the law?

I have an extra Cingular razor, which I would like to use on the old ATT GSM network, but can't. Cingular says they can't unlock it, they don't know how at the local level. So I'm stuck with a phone that I can't use.

Bill

Bill,

You should be able to call Cingular and ask for an unlock code.  Just tell them that you are going to Europe for business and need to use a foreign SIM card during your stay..  I got this info off the Motox Forum:)