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Thread: GSM Phone unlocking FAQ

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    iPhone IIIgs
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    GSM Phone unlocking FAQ

    Well here is the unlocking FAQ that I've been preparing
    It is a bit incomplete, but something is better than nothing. I will be adding information to it as time progresses and GSM matures in North America.

    First of all,
    What is unlocking?
    Unlocking is a procedure by which you can make a GSM phone accept another provider's SIM card.

    Why are phones locked anyway?
    GSM by it's nature is a very "portable" technology, allowing you to change handsets in a flash. Because of this I can get a handset from company A, and a SIM from company B and be able to be a cell phone user in a snap. Usually phones are subsidized, which means you get them for less than they are actually worth in the market. It's a way for the provider to make it easier for you to come onto their network and become a customer. Since phones are subsidized, the provider of the services is putting a trust in you, the consumer, to not get the cheap phone from them, and then immediatelly jump ship and go to another provider, so phones are locked to prevent fraud.

    But I bought the phone! How can it be fraud if I want to cancel my subscription and move on elsewhere? The phone is mine! I paid for it! Right?

    Well sort of. You paid for it, but you also got it cheaper because you are
    (1) A new subscriber
    (2) In a plan
    People who are with a provider and want to get another phone (to replace their current one) they must pay a higher price for their phone than the average joe that just became a customer. There must be some contract clause (although to be honest I have not read my contract through).

    OK, it's locked, what are my options?
    There are several options but we are going to focus on the (most of the times) free way of getting it unlocked from your provider. -- This is by far THE SAFEST way

    I've seen person xyz on this board offering to do it for xxx amount, what's the deal?
    There are people who have unlocked phones and are members of this board. I neither recommend not discourage talking to them about unlocking your handset. Just be aware that by "flashing" a phone, if something goes wrong, your phone is unusable.

    I've seen "do it yourself" unlocking kits and instructions on the net, should I go for it?
    Since you are reading this, chances are that you are a newbie to the world of cell phones. If you want to flash yourphone yourself, it's your choice since you paid for your phone, but be aware that the chances of damaging your phone are HIGH, so I HIGHLY discourage you from doing this!

    Thanks to everyone that made this FAQ possible!!!!
    Last edited by Baldilocks; 08-25-2012 at 08:27 PM.
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