Unlocked Cell Phone Discussion - Page 2 - Canadian TV, Computing and Home Theatre Forums

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post #16 of 66 (permalink) Old 2010-08-07, 01:03 PM
 
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I have a very basic question. Here's the scenario:

I walk into a Bell store and purchase, say, an iPhone4. I buy the phone outright. A month later I go to Italy for 3 weeks. Can I walk into a phone shop in Rome, buy a SIM card and I'm on an Italian carrier's network? Or am I stuck with Bell's roaming and data charges?

IOW, does locked mean the same thing as "you can't use a SIM"?
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post #17 of 66 (permalink) Old 2010-08-07, 01:22 PM
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Even iPhones purchased outright from a carrier are carrier locked, meaning that you would not be able to use another carrier's SIM card in your phone regardless of where you are.

If you buy an iPhone 4 outright directly from Apple it would come unlocked, so you would be able to use your choice of carrier, so you could use another carrier's SIM if you were to visit Italy.
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post #18 of 66 (permalink) Old 2010-08-07, 01:38 PM
 
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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 (?).
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post #19 of 66 (permalink) Old 2010-08-07, 01:43 PM
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Almost all carrier branded phones in Canada are sold locked, with a few very minor exceptions (Mobilicity's Sony Ericsson TM506 for example). While none of the Big 3 carriers will provide unlock codes, you can get the unlock codes for many phones through third parties.

The iPhone though cannot be unlocked through a code and must be jailbroken to use it with another carrier, unless you buy it outright directly from Apple.
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post #20 of 66 (permalink) Old 2010-08-07, 01:48 PM
 
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Thanks for all the information. I'm surprised the regulator permits carriers to sell locked phones only...but that's a discussion meant for another thread.
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post #21 of 66 (permalink) Old 2010-08-07, 02:01 PM
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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.
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post #22 of 66 (permalink) Old 2010-08-07, 02:16 PM
 
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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.
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post #23 of 66 (permalink) Old 2010-08-07, 03:05 PM
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in terms of unlocking price, usually for BB is about $3, iPhone about $10, Android about $20.

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post #24 of 66 (permalink) Old 2010-08-07, 05:07 PM
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People are charging $20 to unlock and Android phone? I need to get me some of that action.

Android rocks!
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post #25 of 66 (permalink) Old 2010-08-07, 05:11 PM
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yeah, I know. Various places at Pacific Mall charge $20 for unlocking Android phones ::screwy::

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post #26 of 66 (permalink) Old 2010-08-07, 06:42 PM
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So where should people be unlocking Android phones for cheaper?
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post #27 of 66 (permalink) Old 2010-08-07, 06:47 PM
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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

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post #28 of 66 (permalink) Old 2010-08-07, 07:47 PM
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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?
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post #29 of 66 (permalink) Old 2010-08-07, 07:54 PM
 
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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.
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post #30 of 66 (permalink) Old 2010-08-09, 12:18 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jpaik View Post
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.
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