Some people may have experienced some issues using different SIM cards on their phones which tend to work with only one SIM card. If you are one of them, it is worth remembering that the issue is most probably not with the phone or SIM cards but with the configuration of the phone.
Some phones are intentionally locked to certain service providers limiting your ability to use the phone and making it exclusive to their cell phone repair services. We understand that there are some circumstances wherein you really need to use a different service provider along the way than just purchasing another phone.
Locked Versus Unlocked
Locked phones are practically those which are configured to work with a specific carrier only. This is done through the phone’s system which means the way the phone is built is pretty much the same as its unlocked version when it comes to the phones hardware and therefore, the functions. This is usually done by carriers that have partnership agreements with device manufacturers and offer the phone at lower cost compared to purchasing unlocked versions of the phone.
Since the phone is specially configured with the carrier, it may have some perks aside from the purchase price of the unit. These phones usually have exclusive iphone repair services provided by the carriers that are built into the phone’s system.
Why Do I Have To Unlock
If there are advantages of owning a carrier-locked phone, so why would one think about unlocking it? Well, locking the phone means limiting its compatibility. While it may not be that much of a concern for some, there are some circumstances you wouldn’t want to be tied up to one service provider.
If you decide to switch carrier, unlocking the phone would be necessary else it wouldn’t work with your new carrier. The same goes if you intend to bring the phone with you on an international trip unless you intend to use roaming services from your service provider which is relatively expensive compared to getting a SIM and a service from local service provider. You also need to consider whether or not your provider has roaming partner on your destination country.
How Do I Know If My Phone Is Locked
If the phone is purchased directly from the manufacturer through their website or retail stores then they should not be locked to or tied up to any service provider. That is, provided the seller is an authorized distribution channel and that the unit is sold brand new. If the phone is sold second hand and you aren’t able to verify its origin or if the phone was just provided as a gift or handed over by a friend or relative, then it is worth checking.
If the phone works with the carrier that you are currently using but you are not sure if it is locked, you may try inserting a SIM card of the same size as yours but from a different carrier. If the phone is able to read the SIM card and gets reception or signal from the said service provider, then the phone is not locked and is ready to work with any other SIM card.
If the phone isn’t able to read or detect the SIM card, you may need to check further before drawing the conclusion that the phone is locked. When locked, the phone usually tells you clearly that it works with a specific carrier only. If it doesn’t tell you but the phone doesn’t get signal, it is worth troubleshooting to verify if it isn’t a problem with the signal strength and availability of service in the area.
How to Unlock
Unlocking the phone requires the assistance of the service provider with which the phone is locked in to. The phone is usually assigned a dedicated unlock code which can be provided by the carrier and the code is tied up to the unique identifier of the phone which is its IMEI number. Whether or not the phone you have is eligible to be unlocked depends on the carrier’s guideline and therefore can be assessed only when you call them.
Each carrier has different guidelines for unlocking the phone and different corresponding fees as well depending on the case. Fido for example requires that the account is associated with the device and if the unit was purchased from third-party sellers, the phone should have been associated to your account for more than 90 days already.
For further clarification and checking for unlocking eligibility, it is best to contact the service provider for details.
Other details you may want to consider aside from the eligibility is the cost of unlocking the phone. Prices are relatively cheap as long as they have determined that you are eligible to have it unlocked but you may have to pay more depending on the circumstances or the status of the account associated with the phone, especially if a contract is still active. Price range could be between CAD 50 to a few hundred.
Checking Network Compatibility
After the phone is unlocked, it should be able to read any SIM card although network compatibility and signal reception is another story.
In general, phones sold in Canada works with virtually any carriers in the country and can therefore be used for calls, text and data services. If an area is limited to 2G services (that is, calls and text service only), it is worth checking the kind of technology used by the carrier and the technology supported by the phone.
Phones are either GSM or CDMA and so are the 2G technology used by service providers. World phones are GSM phones since most countries use GSM as their standard. If you are unsure of the supported technology of the phone, you may check with the manufacturer for the details.
While there could be several service providers in Canada, the major providers use the following technology according to Wikipedia: Telus (incluing Koodo and Public Mobile), Bell and Virgin Mobile use CDMA technology while Rogers (including Fido and Chatr) use GSM.
Phone Unlock Services
Now, what if your phone is locked with a different service provider and you are in Canada or there just isn’t any way you can get help from the service provider with which the phone is locked with? It may be tough but we can surely assist.
We are a team of tech experts who have been assisting customer for years when it comes to iPhone repair downtown Toronto. With the years of expertise we can surely assist you with more than just iPhone screen repairs. So if you have question regarding unlocking you phone here in Canada and if the tips above did not work, you may email us for more information.
However, if you are in Toronto area, you may better be off dropping by our stores and bring your device so our friendly staff could assist you and even give you a free estimate. You would surely be glad that you did, after all, we have been serving a number of satisfied customer who loved our service and prices.
We know you love your phone so if you don’t want to take chances, let our expert team take care of you and your tech needs.