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Unlocking Cellphones





LumberJack
Since there was a topic about how downloading music and movies is considered illegal, I was wondering how everyone felt about unlocking cellphones.

You pay full market price for a cellphone, and it is locked to only one company. Someone unlocks it, so you can CHOOSE any company. Is this illegal? Is this immoral? Is this another retarded way that corporations are trying to dictate to us how we use our things.

If you have been living in a box, read this:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20439105/site/newsweek/?nav=slate?from=rss

Quote:
------------------------ Excerpt
Aug. 25, 2007 - Hackers around the world had one goal this summer: "Unlock" the iPhone and allow users to ditch AT&T's exclusive service contract. The glory today goes to George Hotz, a 17-year-old New Jersey tinkerer who logged some 500 hours (and downed a river of energy drinks) to post detailed instructions on his blog on how to liberate an iPhone and operate it on any cellular network. It's an ingenious and fully functional solution, but be warned. Hotz's hack requires a soldering gun and some fairly technical know-how. Apple declined to comment.
woodenbrick
I don't think it's immoral at all. You already paid for it, unless you have some contract with a phone company, you should be able to do what you want with YOUR phone. Even if you do have a contract, if it's paid each month, why should they care?
The great thing about living in Bulgaria: cellphones aren't locked to providers.
Guelila
I think it's perfectly OK, and that the cellphone carriers are being greedy.
(Carriers = mobile phone service company... I think..)
coolclay
You bought the phone, if you want to change something about it then fine. As long as there was no contract signed stating otherwise of course.
roxys_art
As long as you acquired the phone legally, then I would have to say you should be able to do anything you want with it as long as you are not breaking any contracts with current cell phone service providers.
HollyK
I think that as long as the cell phone is legit, and the account is legit, it's perfectly fine.
paul_indo
I saw a story about this on CNN or FOX concerning unlocking the Apple I phone. Apparently it is not illegal in the USA to unlock a phone so why not, it's yours. Of course you will void the warranty though so if you damage the phone it's on your own head.
otiscom
In the UK it must be legal to unlock phones because all we need to do is take to a High Street shop and for about 10 pounds they will unlock it.

This is freely advertised so must be OK.
ThePolemistis
otiscom wrote:
In the UK it must be legal to unlock phones because all we need to do is take to a High Street shop and for about 10 pounds they will unlock it.

This is freely advertised so must be OK.


U sure?? I thought since 2003, phone unlocking has become illegal in the UK.
AftershockVibe
No, phone unlocking is legal in the UK.

It may break the terms of your contract (it's probably in the fine print somewhere) but since you still have to pay your contract anyway the phone company is still making money and isn't realistically going to object by cancelling is it??!
Bondings
By my knowledge unlocking a mobile phone is legal in the USA, but not doing it for money. It's also legal in most other countries.

In my opinion the governments should forbid phone companies to lock mobile phones in the first place since it's contradictory to a free market where consumers can easily switch between networks/services. Or at least make it mandatory to also sell the same phones (albeit for more money) unlocked.
Donutey
There's some bill coming up for vote (in the US) that makes it so it's easier to get out of cell phone contracts, however it goes a long way from banning "locked" phones. To my knowledge T mobile is the only carrier who actively accepts unlocked phones right now.
coreymanshack
Bondings wrote:
By my knowledge unlocking a mobile phone is legal in the USA, but not doing it for money. It's also legal in most other countries.

In my opinion the governments should forbid phone companies to lock mobile phones in the first place since it's contradictory to a free market where consumers can easily switch between networks/services. Or at least make it mandatory to also sell the same phones (albeit for more money) unlocked.


I think all of the corporations tend to try and bend the laws to their needs where they can make more money. I know if I were a big corporation, and I had a great product like the iphone, I would lock it to my network.
m-productions
It is not illegal (unless you signed something...ect) is it immoral... well... yes and no, they lock it for a reason, but at the same time, you bought it..so it is yours.

However, tho it is not illegal, you do void any warenty on your phone ^_~
Bockman
I'll start by saying that here in Portugal most of the cellphones are locked to the operator. only a few people buy unlocked phones due to their prices.

But buying those low (??.. well.. lower...) cost phones comes with a contract that states you must use their network for 18 or 24 months. to avoid scamming, the phones are locked (sometimes to the network (lock 3 i think), other times to the phone number (lock 4). I have unlocked a few phones just by calling them AFTER that period has passed and asking for the code.

Other have been unlocked (by me) from day one, but I still honored the contract.

I can understand why they lock phones. Here in Portugal a few years ago people would buy a phone from another operator just because it was cheaper and then unlock the phone and use it for their own phone card from other operator. Of course they didn't go through with the 18 month mandatory contract that came with the phone, but since it was a pre-payed card, they had no information on who bought them. This was loosing them money.
And up untill BB5 came along, the phones were unlocked by mostly everyone (some of them ditching the contract). Now the new phones are harder to unlock (for now) and not many people do it (because they don't know how or because it's expensive).

Be Well Cool
xkobram
Bockman wrote:
I'll start by saying that here in Portugal most of the cellphones are locked to the operator. only a few people buy unlocked phones due to their prices.



Thats very special, cause in Czech rep. are locked mobile phones with contract for 24 months and very high month tariff and most of the people can't afford it.

I think unlocking mobile phones is normal.
Jaan
It's OK if it's not illegal.

Right now it's illegal.
yo.hassan
no its not illegal to unlock a phone, atleast not in my place. it just fine if you can unlock your phone though its really quite expensive to unlock. erm.. what unlock we are talking about? sim lock or password lock? second one must be illegal
theem
How can I say its immoral !! Surprised because I am using one for myself !! Idea
teknotom
Ah, but to you it could be ammoral
junomica
i think it's not immoral... those companies are the ones immorals cause they are damn so selfish!! Twisted Evil Twisted Evil
m-productions
Jaan wrote:
It's OK if it's not illegal.

Right now it's illegal.


Umm where do you live, cause in most places in the world, it is not illegal.
ftv_flung
Here's something relevant...

READ!

I was thinking about getting my phone unlocked...

I got sent a SIM (for Pay As You Go) in the post by Orange (I'm on T-Mobile Pay Monthly, but my last phone was with Orange) - sooo I bought my phone nearly a year ago for my birthday... Orange just thought, "Hey this guy quit on us a year ago, let's see if he'll give us another chance" - I don't know, maybe, but it's wrong and I hate spam... So less than a week later, T-Mobile send me a SIM for Pay As You Go! WTF?! I'm using the T-Mobile one because it's WAAAAY less hassle, the woman from Orange, in India told me that the procedure was basically fu*ked up.... BOOORING! Anyway, monies-wise, T-Mobile PAYG is better...

Bit annoying though how everytime I swap the SIMs, my text messages are deleted!! grrrr
qscomputing
Wikipedia wrote:
In most countries, locking a handset is legal and may even be required. Some providers never unlock handsets, even after a customer has fulfilled their service contract.[citation needed].

UK network providers are permitted to charge a fee for releasing the unlock code. This has prompted smaller businesses to offer cut price unlocking on the UK’s High Streets, marketplaces and car boot sales.

In Belgium, the law doesn't allow sale of locked phones. All phones as a result are sold unlocked even if they feature a network's logo on their case.

In The Netherlands and Spain, providers must provide unlocking codes, but can charge a fee for this during the first 12 months after purchase; the unlocking code must be provided at no cost after this period of time.Source (in Dutch)

Hong Kong carriers are allowed to sell locked mobile phones. The Hong Kong Telecommunications Authority hasn't revised their 1997 ruling which allowed SIM locking.

http://www.ofta.gov.hk/en/tas/tas-bs-mobile.html

In Finland carriers are not allowed to sell locked mobile phones, except for 3G handsets.

In the United States, the two national GSM carriers, T-Mobile and AT&T Mobility will unlock your handset if you have an active account in good standing for at least 90 days [1]. This is a change in practice, as before merging with Cingular, AT&T Wireless was known for never unlocking handsets.


In other words... in no country is it illegal to unlock a phone, but in some countries you might have to pay the provider, and it may well be in breach of any contract you have signed.
ashish2005
I think that unlocking an iPhone and allowing people to use any providers is not a bad thing to do. The phone companies probably pay iPhone a lot of money to not allow people to use other providers and you can prove them wrong by just unlocking the phone. Hats off to the one who taught unlocking an iPhone to the world.
raine dragon
To me, this seems rather like modifying your PS3 so it will play Wii games. XD

If a certain company has a contract with a certain phone manufacturer, then I would imagine that forcing the phone to work with another provider, who didn't pay for that contract is a bit iffy, IMHO.

then again, I really don't see what all the fuss is about. a phone is a phone. it makes calls, and does a few other things..

but really, I don't see the draw of buying something like an iphone when you can just as easily get a a phone and another device with those extras for much less. it seems pointless to me.
dan751
I'm a Canadian resident with a Virgin Mobile cell phone. The Virgin Mobile phones are originally from Bell Mobility, Bell likes to lock so many features from the phones, it's not even funny. Having that said, I paid full price for my phone, and unlocked it. One should be able to do what they want with their phone. If one is on a contract, I can understand where a company would want that phone to work with that specific carrier, especially if one didn't pay full retail price for the phone. But, I don't believe that it's illegal to actually unlock the phone. It's possible that which software you use to unlock it might be. Also, I do not believe that it's immoral. The bottom line: Pay for it in full, you should be able to do what you please with it.
Solid_State
Has anyone been following the Apple incident whereby the latest update is bricking phones that have been unlocked.

It is interesting because I have seen a lot of Apple supports basically saying Apple are free to do what they want because it is in the EULA and that people have no grounds to complain if the update breaks their phone. I say it is interesting because Apple are about to release the iPhone in Europe.

In the EU it is mandatory for network providers to unlock phones at the consumers request. Therefore you will be able to request that your iPhone to be unlocked, legally, and the network provider has to comply.

How then are Apple going to defend any court case brought against them in Europe for any updates they release that relocks an iPhone. Personally I don't think they can. I have been informing the Apple zealots on various blogs and sites about this predicament Apple may find themselves in.

I usually get told about the EULA's. So I point out that EULA's are not laws. If anything Apple will have created an illegal EULA is they specifically state you cannot unlock their iPhone because it is the statute books in Europe that it is mandatory to provide unlocked phones to customers.

An EULA is at most a contract. And with any contract you can challenge this in court. Even if you break Apples EULA and unlock your phone (with permission) then this does not give them the automatic right to brick or relock your phone. Even if they wrote explicitly that Apple will brick or relock your phone in the event of an update you could still challenge this court for being unfair.

Personally I think Apple have entered the mobile market without any clue what they are doing. They have created a totally new way of doing business in the mobile market. After all, in the UK, you can get phones that are better or equal to the iPhone completely free. With the iPhone your basically paying full whack. And if that is the case I cannot see any judge not taking any consumer with a complaint that Apple have relocked or ruined their iPhone with an update on a phone they are legally entitled to unlock.

I guess its a matter of watch and see.
friuser
Phones should be unlocked period. It's no fun being in the us with 3 separate networks that unlocking phones really don't help you much depending on the wirless infrastructure.

I really like nokia phones because they are usually the easiest to unlock without having to reprogram the phone or something drastic. Unlocking is the way the go especially if you have a tri-band phone so you can use sim cards all over the world on prepaid. Howardforums have alot of information on that but I guess if you don't travel you will almost never need to unlock your phone short of hating your existing network enough to purchase an entirely new phone to work on the new network.
ankitdatashn
hi friend,

First of all I must congratulate because you have raised such an issue, I feel that you shoud first think about the fact that why do companies lock their mobile phones?..because they want long staying customers, If customers stay with the company then it means more profit for them. So it is just buisness my dear.

And by the way I don't consider it as illegal because they are not forcing you to buy their product, so you are always at your own discreation. Thus you can always opt for another company for the services.

Take care friend.
Srs2388
be careful doing it yourself i had to reflash my phone and re activate it.. Embarassed
WebKitten
Unlocking cell phones should be just as natural as never locking them at first place.
It is only fair to a person that owns the phone.
Times will come and people will read again! Wink
deeps2105
U are right buddy!!!Its always ur choice weather u want to stick to your service provider or u wann get rid of it.
And as much unlocking the Iphon,I know a guy in delhi he is my friend,he did Unlock the phon 3 months back and using it with Airtel.He told me that its preety simple to unlock ur iphon if u know a bit of microcontroler progrmming.Its an hardware lock which can easily be defused with byte programming.
Kitten Kong
AS far as im concerned, having a phone on contract is like getting a car or house by taking out a loan. If you ever fail to make the payments retribution is acceptable, but otherwise that car, house, phone is YOURS and yours to do with as you wish. Personally I have hacked my phone until it barely resembles the form I recieved it, lots of fun!
four4b
otiscom wrote:
In the UK it must be legal to unlock phones because all we need to do is take to a High Street shop and for about 10 pounds they will unlock it.

This is freely advertised so must be OK.



Without paying unlock your mobiles......
You can unlock your mobiles from the unlock website www.unlock-free.com for free of cost with free instructions also.The website has master reset codes for some mobiles.Try this instead of paying to unlock the phones.
deanhills
four4b wrote:
Without paying unlock your mobiles......
You can unlock your mobiles from the unlock website www.unlock-free.com for free of cost with free instructions also.The website has master reset codes for some mobiles.Try this instead of paying to unlock the phones.
This thread is a bit confusing to me. I have a very old Nokia phone and I always lock it when I'm not using it. It is not a big deal at all. Does this mean that there may be different "locking" systems in other countries where locking and unlocking activate payment or "illegal" avoidance of payment?
sansam
Thanks for the info's...
sonam
deanhills wrote:
four4b wrote:
Without paying unlock your mobiles......
You can unlock your mobiles from the unlock website www.unlock-free.com for free of cost with free instructions also.The website has master reset codes for some mobiles.Try this instead of paying to unlock the phones.
This thread is a bit confusing to me. I have a very old Nokia phone and I always lock it when I'm not using it. It is not a big deal at all. Does this mean that there may be different "locking" systems in other countries where locking and unlocking activate payment or "illegal" avoidance of payment?


I think you are on wrong way. For example: in my country when you buy phone from one operator you have contract on one or two years and you can get good phone for 1 Euro. After this period you are free but not your phone because you cannot insert sim card from some other operator because don't work and actually you must stay with same operator. This is reason why peoples looking to unlock their phones.

Sonam
deanhills
sonam wrote:
deanhills wrote:
four4b wrote:
Without paying unlock your mobiles......
You can unlock your mobiles from the unlock website www.unlock-free.com for free of cost with free instructions also.The website has master reset codes for some mobiles.Try this instead of paying to unlock the phones.
This thread is a bit confusing to me. I have a very old Nokia phone and I always lock it when I'm not using it. It is not a big deal at all. Does this mean that there may be different "locking" systems in other countries where locking and unlocking activate payment or "illegal" avoidance of payment?


I think you are on wrong way. For example: in my country when you buy phone from one operator you have contract on one or two years and you can get good phone for 1 Euro. After this period you are free but not your phone because you cannot insert sim card from some other operator because don't work and actually you must stay with same operator. This is reason why peoples looking to unlock their phones.

Sonam
Does not work the same in the UAE. We never have locked phones. We only buy SIM cards to insert into our phones. I've seen people from the UK battling to use their phones in the UAE however. That is when I first learned about locking of phones. Twisted Evil
cresvale
the company lock phones is stupid and wicked. they just care about money, so unlock it is better and nice.
mahirh
as long as you are sure that you haven't signed on any dotted lines regarding any contracts for you phone(just like get so and so mobile for free upon getting a two year contract or so) im sure its just fine because you own all rights on it. I mean , you've paid for it completely
And just like deanhills had said, we don't have much greedy people in the middle east, so it is rare to see a locked phone in showrooms (an exception would be when the carrier is selling a mobile that was custom built for their order with them as the sole branding)
Josso
Don't pay for it, do it yourself... people always say "oh just go down to the market they'll do it for a fiver" (give your phone over with all your numbers on it, and god knows what else with modern phones, to some dodgy bloke) well... why don't people start embracing the information age and actually start learning something about technology? Especially when it concerns getting around a problem enforced by a large corporation. If you are a certain type of person, it might even be fun..
deanhills
Josso wrote:
Don't pay for it, do it yourself... people always say "oh just go down to the market they'll do it for a fiver" (give your phone over with all your numbers on it, and god knows what else with modern phones, to some dodgy bloke) well... why don't people start embracing the information age and actually start learning something about technology? Especially when it concerns getting around a problem enforced by a large corporation. If you are a certain type of person, it might even be fun..
This must be something unique to the UK. Locking cell phones. Is there a way that one can find a provider without having to have one's phone locked? As I would imagine there has to be a reason the phone is locked by the provider. What would the reason be?
Question
mahirh
deanhills wrote:
What would the reason be? Question

i would blame human greed (marketing) for this.you wouldn't want to sell locked phones (by the carriers) cheaper then unlocked ones (by the oems) which are pricier (its just a marketing trick to get more customers of-course) just to find out that your customer has unlocked the phone and had gone for your rival
sonam
deanhills wrote:
Josso wrote:
Don't pay for it, do it yourself... people always say "oh just go down to the market they'll do it for a fiver" (give your phone over with all your numbers on it, and god knows what else with modern phones, to some dodgy bloke) well... why don't people start embracing the information age and actually start learning something about technology? Especially when it concerns getting around a problem enforced by a large corporation. If you are a certain type of person, it might even be fun..
This must be something unique to the UK. Locking cell phones. Is there a way that one can find a provider without having to have one's phone locked? As I would imagine there has to be a reason the phone is locked by the provider. What would the reason be?
Question


In most country (with locked phones) is few reasons for locking. First is market and providers. They provide expensive phones for cheap price if you sign contract. In poor countries this is great trick to get lot of customers for long period. Of course, providers don't unlock your phone after contract period. The second reason is controlling of users. Any company must register SIM and phone. This is government instruction and providers have rules for selling any phone or SIM.

In some countries you can buy both (for example here in Croatia) locked and unlocked phones but price is quite difference for same type of phone. If you buy unlocked then you can insert any SIM, otherwise you need to unlock phone after contract period if you want to change provider. Very Happy

In last time I can read lot of ads where peoples give for free good and expensive phones if you rewrite contract on your name.

Sonam
shivaghimire
I think its not illegal and its okay to unlock phone.
deanhills
Great post thanks Sonam. All the info I was wondering about. And all of it very foreign to me as where I am in the UAE unlocking is completely unfamiliar to us.

You also provided an answer to one of my pet fears, which is controlling users, like you pointed out below:
Quote:
The second reason is controlling of users. Any company must register SIM and phone. This is government instruction and providers have rules for selling any phone or SIM.
I hate when Government interferes. In order for me to obtain a phone I do have to go through some basic hoops, as you always need a passport and visa copy in order to obtain a cell phone but once you own the SIM card you are basically free to use it in any phone of your choice as you wish. It is also very easy to get cheap phones here. There are many very wealthy users who would buy their phone, use it for a week, and then return it to buy another one and so where I live you have many cell phone businesses having a lucrative second hand cell phone business of almost new phones. If one shops around you can get great deals that way so perhaps this is not a market that would do well with locked phones. People also have a huge turnover of phones, some like the latest and newest all of the time, like following fashion trends, so it would not suit the market at all.

Very Happy
Josso
I happen to know... there are SIMs out there with unlimited credit/other hacked features and contacts on them in which a single SIM would be worth 5 grand. Crazy inside man on that job, must be.

But anyway yeah agreed the reasons for locking are basically just greed and control.
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