: Unlocked Cell Phone Discussion
2010-08-07, 02:01 PM
jpaik, as mentioned you definitely should not buy a full price iPhone from the carrier - get it from Apple instead. But if you do get a phone from your carrier (whether it be a subsidized iPhone or some other smartphone), look online for an unlocking service before your trip to Italy. For example, most Android phones can be unlocked for less than $20 online.
I have an unlocked Nexus One and was recently in the UK. Upon arriving at LHR, just went to the Vodafone store in the terminal and got a dirt cheap pay as you go SIM. So before I even walked out of the terminal, I was up and running with a phone number, text messages, and full internet on my own phone (not some cheapo crap dumb phone). Since it was my own smartphone I had Google maps, GPS access, full web browsing etc - things you won't get from an off the shelf pay as you go phone from them.
The only thing is that you might want to look up the pay as you go APN settings for the Italian carrier before hand and know how to punch that into your phone when you get there.
2010-08-07, 02:16 PM
Good advice, NOC. A couple of years ago in Europe a family member and I walked into a phone store. He bought a sim for his BB, and was up and running in minutes.
2010-08-07, 03:05 PM
in terms of unlocking price, usually for BB is about $3, iPhone about $10, Android about $20.
2010-08-07, 05:07 PM
People are charging $20 to unlock and Android phone? I need to get me some of that action.
2010-08-07, 05:11 PM
yeah, I know. Various places at Pacific Mall charge $20 for unlocking Android phones ::screwy::
2010-08-07, 06:42 PM
So where should people be unlocking Android phones for cheaper?
2010-08-07, 06:47 PM
let me know which model and carrier is your phone and I'll search around.
I've just found an unlocker on eBay that unlocks HTC phones for US$11
2010-08-07, 07:47 PM
I don't actually need anything unlocked as I have an unlocked Nexus One. I was just asking theoretically as I thought $20 was reasonable.
And I thought that the new Samsung Galaxy S and the HTC Desire weren't unlockable at all yet. Don't really understand why that is though - unlockers have to wait for their unlock databases to be updated from the manufacturers or something?
2010-08-07, 07:54 PM
I would love to unlock my new TELUS HTC Desire, PM me if you know where/how. What are the pros and cons besides international sim card usage? Thanks in advance.
2010-08-09, 12:18 PM
Thanks, TColin. So to ensure I understand: a smartphone from Bell (BB, Android-based, iPhone) is carrier-locked (regardless of an outright purchase, or a contract). Does this death-grip apply to all Canadian carriers?
The fact that one can't travel, go to a phone store and buy a sim with prepaid minutes seems crazy. I'd be better off buying a phone in Europe when I'm there! OTOH, presumably people go to 3rd. parties to have their phone unlocked (?).
For the tech-savy, it's not a cahllenge to ensure the phone you are buying overseas is compatible with North American frequencies. Others have been known to end up with phones that don't work when they return to Canada, wondering why and asking questions in forums like this to which they don't like the answer. :)
Another problem with buying a phone in another country is that you may find yourself without warranty when if and when you need it back in Canada. It may not seem to make sense as the phones could be identical, but warranty repairs are usually handled locally through arrangements with the Canadian distributor. If the serial number says it wasn't purchased here, the repair shop can't get paid and/or the distributor will not authorize a replacement. Check the warranty terms carefully if this matters.
As for the cost of unlocking ($20 is what I paid throuigh a very reputable Canadian source), well people have to make a living and the reputable shops that offer this service (guarantteed results or money refunded) have determined what customers are willing to pay. Every phone and unlocking code is unique. The unlocking service needs the algorithm to generate the code based on the phone, model, IMEI, etc. Its not like they are selling the same code over and over.
2010-08-09, 12:22 PM
I've bought many phones in Indonesia and Australia. As long as they are quad-band GSM, they WILL work in the US and Canada.
2010-08-09, 04:09 PM
If its quad band, it will work on rogers/fido in Canada. That's it.
For 3G bands, if it runs on 1900/2100 it will work on Robelus
and if it runs on 1700/2100 ("AWS") it will work with Wind/Mobilicity/(and soon to be) Videotron.
If the 3G band doesn't match and it's a smartphone, you're looking at just voice/text on rogers/fido and very slow data.
2010-08-09, 04:11 PM
For 3G bands, it needs to support 850/1900 to work on Robellus - not 1900/2100).
2010-08-10, 12:29 PM
Sorry, the phones are all compatible with 2100 so I assumed they actually used it :p
The important frequencies, as you said, are 850/1900 or 1700.
2010-08-10, 03:01 PM
See why I said it's easy for the tech-savvy but the ordinary customer can run into trouble. ;)
2010-08-12, 03:26 PM
New article on CBC.ca regarding unlocked cell phones -> http://www.cbc.ca/technology/story/2010/08/11/unlocked-cellphone-service-plan.html
2010-08-12, 05:51 PM
I read that article. The author doesn't seem to understand the concept of carrier-locked.
2010-08-12, 06:38 PM
It's fun to read that joke of an article though. It shows that too many people aren't supposed to have a particular job are in position.
If you read the comments, you'll see that not a single one of the ones I scan through posted anything positive regarding the article.
2010-08-13, 01:14 PM
...If you read the comments, you'll see that not a single one of the ones I scan through posted anything positive regarding the article.
Not only no positive comments about the article, but also a major venting on the sorry state of the wireless business in Canada. Yes, many of the posters are more tech-savvy than the "average" person, but so many of the comments are deadly accurate.
2010-08-13, 05:06 PM
New article on CBC.ca regarding unlocked cell phones
Here's another article:
‘Death-grip’ contracts mean Canadians pay double for cellphones, study says (http://www.thestar.com/business/article/847526--death-grip-contracts-mean-canadians-pay-double-for-cellphones-study-says)