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Thread: How to unlock phone for use in Europe

  1. #1
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    How to unlock phone for use in Europe

    My son will be going to Europe for 2 weeks to travel. I don't expect he will be in Europe again in the near future. He is upgrading his current Cingular phone to the Samsung D807 when it comes in this week. I know he can have his phone activated to be used in Europe, but is there anyway to unlock the phone so that he can use one of the SIM cards from Europe?

    I have heard different things about Cingular and unlocking phones. First I was told that you can not have an unlocked Cingular phone, but of course I see people with unlock codes all the time. If he uses his current Cingular phone and SIM card, he will be charges a per minute charge; this includes calls that go to his voice mail and are retrieved. Plus, text messages are 20 cents a pop. I am afraid with all the friends he has, he could end up with hundreds of text messages and god knows how many voice mails.

    I would prefer him to have a prepaid SIM from the countries he is in. So how can I do that with his own phone? I know he can rent a phone there, but he will be traveling to different areas and would have to get a phone and SIM from each area (I think.) I also figure if he has a local pre paid card, he will not be giving the number to his friends back home-only us parents and the group he is traveling with. If he uses his own number I am sure the phone bill will not be pretty!!

    So what I would really like is to have his phone unlocked so he can buy a local SIM card. Are unlock codes phone specific? Is there even an unlock code available for the Samsung D807?

    Thank to all that can help.

  2. #2
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    To use SIM cards from other providers, the phone must be unlocked. I see no reason why there wouldn't be one for the Samsung. Ask Cingular, explaining why. But your son will still have to buy a SIM from each country he goes to, if he wants to avoid roaming, which might not even be available anyway on pre-paid SIM cards that he'll buy in Europe.
    Eric

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    What phone does he have now? That is the one to unlock and take to europe.
    Cingular usually will not unlock a phone unless it has been in use for at least three months. Calling to get an unlock code, with the reason that you will be
    traveling in europe is the easiest way to get a phone unlocked. I got a rep who had never done it before, had to fill out a form and teach herself as she went, but I kept her on the phone until it was done and received the unlock code within three days in an email.

    As to prepaid SIMs. Most of them work in all european countries. Incoming calls are free. Just google prepaid SIMs or check out a student travel site for all the ins and outs. My daughter is going this summer and I have a lot of info already. I'll look up some of it and post it here.

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    One other thing to consider, besides unlocking. Do you have a European charger for the phone? Some higher-end hotels may have plugs for American electrical devices, but many won't, and you certainly won't find them outside hotels.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ALCingularUser
    One other thing to consider, besides unlocking. Do you have a European charger for the phone? Some higher-end hotels may have plugs for American electrical devices, but many won't, and you certainly won't find them outside hotels.
    It's a good point, seeing as 220V will kill a 110V device in a quick puff of smoke.

    My Nokia travel charger is 110/220, so I only need a plug adapter, but most devices don't support both. If the phone is sold in Europe currently he could buy a charger there.

    Or do what I have also done and carry a car charger. The 12V of cars has been standard for quite awhile. Of course, this only works if a car is being rented.

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    Here is the requirment if you want to unlock the phone for international travel. In addition, you must have at least the basic international roaming on your line. If not, tech will not release teh subsidey code. I got into an argument with a tech agent about that. Had international add it, and then got the unlock from tech.. Was a pain in arse but worked.

    The handset was purchased at a discounted (subsidized) price and the contract period is not complete but the customer has qualified for and has an International Roaming feature on their account which is in good standing, and the new equipment has been active for 90 continuous days.

    edited to add: Yes, I know that you plan to use a sim card, but you still need to have international travel on it. FYI, you CAN remove international roam when ever you want. :cough: after you get the code :cough:
    Last edited by holaDude; 06-04-2006 at 09:17 PM.




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    Please review this thread from the Cingular forum FAQ.

    http://www.howardforums.com/showthread.php?t=831239

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    Thanks for all the information; sorry I didn't see the FAQ posting before. I didn't know before that Cingular could unlock a phone; that will be the route we take. My son's current phone died Saturday so he is using my husband's old Nokia 6200 that was replaced by a Treo 650 (that he doesn't like!) We will check with cingular today about adding international roaming (although I think it might be on there already from a trip to the Bahamas.)

    Do I understand holaDude correctly-Should I remove the international roaming after the phone is unlocked? If I use a prepaid SIM from Europe, does it matter if international roaming is on or off? I just want to make sure I am doing this right. While this trip is a graduation gift, I don't want him coming home with a $5000 phone bill

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    Quote Originally Posted by pokey
    ...
    Do I understand holaDude correctly-Should I remove the international roaming after the phone is unlocked? If I use a prepaid SIM from Europe, does it matter if international roaming is on or off? I just want to make sure I am doing this right. While this trip is a graduation gift, I don't want him coming home with a $5000 phone bill
    Removing international roaming is an insurance policy against the $5000 bill. Since your son would probably take his Cingular SIM, to be able to call on the way to and from the US airport, there would be a risk of the phone being lost or stolen and big charges rung up.

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    Once you put a different sim into the unlocked phone, the phone takes on a different identitty. In this case, the one of the european provider. Whether you have international roaming does not have any effect. The only time it matters is when you have Cingular's sim in the phone. You already had the right idea...get the phone unlocked, and then have him buy prepaid sim for the country he is visiting. If he will be visiting more than one country, he may be better off with one of the international sims. Such as riiing, yackieMobile, etc.

    More info for country specific and international cards respectively here:

    http://www.prepaidgsm.net/en/operators.html

    http://www.prepaidgsm.net/en/international.html


    As for the chargers, a lot of the world phones already come with 110 - 240V chargers. if yours does, all you need will be a $3 adapter at walmart or so.
    Last edited by mrcamp; 06-05-2006 at 02:15 PM.

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    To get your unlock code ON THE SPOT, call CS, have them transfer you to TECH SUPPORT and they'll pull the unlock code right out of their system while you're on the phone with them. Have your IMEI ready!

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    True, it very well might happen as you've described. Or, you might have to wait for them to send a code via email. YMMV. My friend had to wait for his. Another work colleague got hers the next day with an actual honest to goodness call back.

    cheers,
    P

    Quote Originally Posted by CrunchDude
    To get your unlock code ON THE SPOT, call CS, have them transfer you to TECH SUPPORT and they'll pull the unlock code right out of their system while you're on the phone with them. Have your IMEI ready!

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    I'm sorry I never got back to you with my research. The links that have now been posted are the ones I would have. I will add this: With international roaming active on your account, any powering up of the phone with the Cingular SIM card installed out of the U.S. will cause it to register with the network. Then all calls will be forwarded, including voicemails. You get charged for all forwarded calls, including voicemails. So, it's alright to have the international calling active, just don't turn on the phone with the Cingular SIM installed. It's going to be a neat trick to get your son a new subsidized phone and get it unlocked so soon. Good luck!

  14. #14
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    Sorry for the stupid question, but if the phone frequency is 850/1800/1900 and he will be in a country that operates on 900/1800, does that mean either 900 or 1800? Will a triband phone with only 850/1800/1900 work?

    We can use the Nokia 6200 we have here at home and get in unlocked with an unlock code. I am having a harder time finding someone with an unlock code for the Samsung D807 that we can get before this weekend. I think the best thing to do is for him to use the Nokia phone for this trip; I just want to make sure he can use in in both Germany and the Netherlands before we get it unlocked. Will triband be good enough for this trip?

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    I'm not sure about Atlanta, but there are shops in many major cities that will unlock phones for you, for a fee of around $20 or so. If you can't get the code from Cingular, that may be an option. Also, when you get the code, you'll need to insert a SIM from another provider, such as T-Mobile, so you'll be prompted for the unlock code. Better to do that before he leaves, just to make sure the code is correct. And if it isn't, don't try guessing. You only get a certain number of tries before the phone becomes unlockable.

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