Cell Phone Unlocking Thread

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The question of how to unlock a cell phone comes up every now and then, especially in posts about prepaid cell phone deals, so I thought it was important enough to deserve its own thread. A quick search showed no existing general threads, although some information about a few specific phone models can be found.

What is cell phone unlocking?
Most cell phone service providers in the US provide cell phones at a reduced cost to their customers in return for signing a contract (of typically two years). In order to minimize the chances of customers switching service providers, they lock the cell phone so that it will work only with a SIM card provided by that company. In order to use that cell phone with another service provider, you must modify the phone's settings so that it will work with the SIM cards of another service provider also.

Can any cell phone be unlocked to work with another service provider?
Currently, there are two kinds of technology in use by cell phone companies: GSM and CDMA. These two technologies are not interchangeable and GSM phones will not work with CDMA based service providers and vice versa. If your phone is a GSM phone, chances are that it can be unlocked to work with another GSM based service provider. However, the difficulty of doing so and the effort and accessories required depend on the particular phone model.

So if I unlock my GSM cell phone, can it be used with any other service provider?
Not quite. GSM phones and service providers are further differentiated by the frequencies they use. Most service providers in the US use the frequencies 850 MHz and 1900 MHz. You can only use your unlocked phone with another service provider if your cell phone is designed to work in at least one of the frequency bands that the service provider uses.

How do I find out which frequencies are used by a service provider?
There is a comprehensive list at GSM World.

How do I unlock a cell phone?
The process varies with cell phone manufacturers and models. For instance, fo most Nokia cell phones, you use the cell phone's IMEI to generate a code which you enter into your cell phone, and this unlocks the cell phone. For other manufacturers such as Motorola and Sony Ericsson, you need a cable to connect your phone to a computer or to special devices which help you unlock the phone.

What is an IMEI and where do I find it?
According to the Wiki: The International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) is a number unique to every GSM and UMTS mobile phone. It is usually found printed on or underneath the phone's battery and can also be found by dialling the sequence *#06# into the phone. The IMEI number is used by the GSM network to identify valid devices and therefore can be used to stop a stolen phone from accessing the network. See IMEI on the wiki.

Are there any risks associated with unlocking a cell phone?
Yes. If it is not done correctly, then there is a chance that the cell phone might be rendered totally unusable. For instance, with Nokia cell phones, most unlocking techniques generate 7 different codes, only one of which is supposed to work. However, you get only five tries, after which the cell phone locks up completely and must fixed by other means. Some people have reported workarounds for this problem or success even after more than 5 tries but it would be wise not to count on it.


Member Summary
Unlocking a Nokia Cell Phone
There are different generations of Nokia cell phones. The different generations are known as DCT1, DCT2, DCT3, and DCT4 (where DCT stands for Digital Core Technology). You need to find out which generation your cell phone belongs to. Most current Nokia cell phones are DCT4 but you can check the technology for your particular model at the list of Nokia products on the wiki. Then you need to obtain an unlock code for your cell phone. There are softwares available to do this. Some websites will also provide you with the unlock codes.

Nokia Free Unlock Codes Websites
http://unlock.nokiafree.org/
http://www.lur.nu/unlock/nokia_eng.php
http://www.unlockme.co.uk/

Also, T-Mobile will help you unlock your cell phone by providing you the unlock code after you have been on their service (either prepaid or postpaid) for 90 days. Call their customer service number or send them an email at simunlock@T-Mobile.com (thanks to karthiklax for the email address).





Instructions From snoopyl for Nokia 3220b
  • Goto http://unlock.nokiafree.org/
  • GEN: asic 6, Nokia Model: ASIC 2

    Alternative Stepwise Instructions for Nokia 3220
  • goto http://www.lur.nu/unlock/nokia_eng.php
  • Start your phone Without a SIM card.
  • Hit *#06# to get the IMEI number. This number will be used in step 3 below.
  • Enter the IMEI in the box below. It should be 15 digits.
  • Select country and operator the phone is locked to.
  • Select phone model in the box below. Nokia Model: Nokia 3220 [RH-37] Box Serial 32821 [Asic 6] and Code +5#
  • Enter the box serial from the box above into the box below. If you know what you are doing, you can use another. Box serial: 33821 (Update: Alot of people are reporting success with using 32835.)
  • Click Generate code button.
  • You should get 7 codes, like these repeat like these NOT THESE EXACT CODES
    #pw+809261027715416+1#
    #pw+016403430467154+2#
  • Make sure you had removed the sim-card in step 1 above
  • Power on the phone
  • Enter the code as it is with all the charactes. Start with the 7th code (the one that ends in +7#), then the first then the fifth. (to get p w and + hit the asterik (*) key several times)
  • Double check the code before pressing the final # key
  • Remember- you have 5 tries, after 5 tries the phone will get locked and you will need a USB cable and software to unlock it after that.
  • Looks like some people are getting 3220B. These instructions do not seem to be working for them...;-(
    (Update from kwadguy- All US phones 850/1800/1900 are 3220B, rest of the world phones 900/1800/1900 are 3220)


    CoolxStuff says:

    I used the method on quick summary (http://www.lur.nu/unlock/nokia_eng.php) but put 32835 in the Box Serial as someone mentioned. the thing is you have to insert the non-Cingular SIM while entering unlock code (pw...). Hit the center of 5 ways navigation button to open window to enter restriction code. Key in code #7(the last one) Worked for me. I tried the other method like no sim, Cingular sim, or the code other than above, but they all didn't work. Fortunately, it worked at the fifth time!!!
    IMEI is also on the back of the phone or hit Hit *#06# while there is no SIM in the phone. However, you have to have a SIM in the phone while unlocking it.
    Actually, it also works with Cingular sim in, no need for non-Cingular sim. I did with the second one.

    ra7 says:

    One more vote for what coolstuff said. It worked perfectly fine. I didn't have much luck without the sim. I used a tmobile sim and it worked fine. Now using it with my old AT&T service <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif" border=0>

    If you still have old Free2Go account (many started on famous 12/20 deal), you can move your balance now to Cingular prepaid, and keep the phone number. Key here is not activating your phone, call CS, they will transfer you to migration, you will have to give them IMEI of new phone and SIM number, and voila, you have yourself a new GSM phone with old balance. Good luck.


    More resources
    Howard Forums
    See this thread, thread, and this thread.



    According to crazed231 this is how to unlock the samsung s105
    To sim-unlock the s105:
    Enter the Stack Reset code: *2767*STACKRESET#
    The phone will power cycle.
    Enter unlock code: #0111*00000000#
    Press the Talk key
    The phone will display a "Personalization Cancelled" message.
    Once you see this message your s105 will be unlocked. You will be able to use it with other carriers





    Special Codes and Info for Nokia 3210/3310/3330/5110/6110/8210/8250/8290/8850/8890/
    Credit goes to chamathukodam

  • *#06# - To view IMEI number
  • *#0000# - To view Software Version
  • *#746025625# - To view Status of Sim Clock Stop
  • *#92702689# - Serial Number and also IMEI number. There are various options to scroll here. The code is easier to remember *#war0anty# (warranty). The next screen is the date of manufacture in the format Made: 1197. The next screen is the purchase date in the format Purchasing Date: 1197 (this can be edited). The next screen has Repaired: 0000 (presumable at repair the date is entered). The next screen has Transfer User Data? (the same option as the 8110). To exit turn the phone off and then back on.
  • *3370# - Activate Enhanced Full Rate (*efr0#)
  • #3370# - Deactivate Enhanced Full Rate (#efr0#)
  • *4720# - Activate Half Rate (*hra0#) ONLY IN SOFTWARE VERSION V4.33 OR EARLIER
  • #4720# - Deactivate Half Rate (#hra0#)
    After pressing these codes the phone will shut down and start up again with the service activated/deactivated.




    Unlock SP lock
    Here is a way to Unlock your phone which is Service Provider locked, without to know SPLock code !!!!
    Give it a try:
    First of all, PIN CODE MUST BE ON, then press:
    C

    C and hold until it clears display
    * and hold until start to blink
    * and hold until start to blink
    04* * *your pin#
    Each time you turn your phone OFF it resets the lock, so this need to be done each time you'll turn your phone ON
    Anyway it's better than nothing, isn't it?
    6110 Sim Card Locking
    There are four different types of Sim Locks on the 6110 (not sure about 5110 yet).
    1 = Country Lock - Lock to Specific Country
    2 = Network Lock - Lock to Network
    3 = Provider Lock - Lock to Service Provider
    4 = Sim Lock - Lock to Specific SIM Card
    To see the status of your phone
    #pw+(mastercode)+X#
    (mastercode) is a 10 digit number WITHOUT the brackets.
    X is a number 1 through 4, it shows the above locks. Not sure of which numbers are assigned to which lock yet. (The numbers above stand for X => for esample: 1 = Country Lock
    Sim not restricted message means your phone is NOT sim locked - Check all 4 to be sure.
    Most SIMs are locked with the Service Provider Lock => f.e. to the network of MAX

    Adding NEW Ring Tones
    Set SMSC to +358405202999 (Smart Messaging)
    Senf a SMS to 99999 with the word TONES in the message
    When you get the reply, edit the message so that the tone that you want does not have a asterisk in front of it. Now send the message to 99999. The phone will display NEW RINGTONE RECEIVED.
    Turning on Car Kit and Head Set Menus (Cannot be turned off)
    To enable the headset-function, you have to short-circuit the "3" and "4". After a short time there is "Headset" on the display Now, menu 3-6 is now enabled!
    To enable the carkit-function you have to short-circuit the "4" and "5". After a short time, "Car" is shown on the display and the menu 3-7 is enabled!!
    If you short-circuit the left and the right contact with the middle contact ("3", "6" and "9") the Nokia Software hangs! The profile "Headset" will be activated. Before you do this, just active the "auto call receive" function in the headphone profile and set the ringing volume to "mute" Now you can use your phone for checking out what people are talking about in a room. Place the phone somewhere under a table in this room and call your phone! The phone receives the call without ringing and you can listen to the words these people are talking about!

    Nokia 1610
  • To view IMEI number *#06#
  • To view Software Version enter *#170602112302#
    Latest Version is under Phone Info

    Nokia 2010
  • To view IMEI number *#06#
  • To view Software Version enter *#9999#

    Nokia 2110
  • To view IMEI number *#06#
  • To view Software Version enter *#9999#
    Latest Version is under Phone Info
    Type is NHE-1XN
    Unlock SP lock
    Here is a way to Unlock your phone which is Service Provider locked, without to know SPLock code !!!!
    Give it a try
    Turn the phone on, when the phone asks for the Security Code,
    press:
    112
    now quickly press:
    #
    send
    end
    send
    end.
    Each time you turn your phone OFF it resets the lock, so this need to be done each time you'll turn your phone ON
    Anyway it's better than nothing, isn't it?


    Nokia 2110e/2110i
  • To view IMEI number *#06#
  • To view Software Version enter *#170602112302#
    If you have latest software version you have to enter *#682371158412125#
    Latest Version is under Phone Info
  • To view Week and Year of manufacture enter *#3283#
    On phones prior to 01/01/96 1295 means December 95, On phones after 01/01/96 2196 means 21st week of 1996.
    To enter small letters hold down the key for a few seconds and it will turn caps off


    Nokia 3110
  • To view IMEI number *#06#
  • To view Software Version enter *#3110#
  • *#92702689# - phone asks warranty code:
    There are a number of choices here
    6232 (OK) : Displays the Month and Year of Manufacture
    7332 (OK) : Displays the date of the last repair
    7832 (OK) : Displays the date where the phone was purchased
    9268 (OK) : Display Serial Number
    37832 (OK) : Set the Purchasing Date MMYY
    87267 (OK) : Confirm Transfer, Related to firmware upgrade.
    *#746025625# - phone says 'SIM CLOCK STOP ALLOWED' or "SIM CLOCK STOP NOT ALLOWED" depending on your SIM Card.
    *#7780# restores phone's factory settings.
    Type is NHE-8

    Unlock SP lock
    Here is a way to Unlock your phone which is Service Provider locked, without to know SPLock code !!!!
    Give it a try:
    First of all, PIN CODE MUST BE ON, then press:
    C

    C and hold until it clears display
    * and hold until start to blink
    * and hold until start to blink
    04* * *your pin#
    Each time you turn your phone OFF it resets the lock, so this need to be done each time you'll turn your phone ON
    Anyway it's better than nothing, isn't it?

    Nokia 3810
  • To view IMEI number *#06#
  • To view Software Version enter *#3810#


    Nokia 8110/8110i
  • To view IMEI number *#06#
  • To view Software Version enter *#8110#
    Latest Version is under Phone Info.
    *#92702689# - phone asks 'warranty code:'
    There are a number of choices here
    6232 (OK) : Displays the Month and Year of Manufacture
    7332 (OK) : Displays the date of the last repair
    7832 (OK) : Displays the date where the phone was purchased
    9268 (OK) : Display Serial Number
    37832 (OK) : Set the Purchasing Date MMYY
    87267 (OK) : Confirm Transfer, Related to firmware upgrade.
    *#746025625# - phone says 'SIM CLOCK STOP ALLOWED' or "SIM CLOCK STOP NOT ALLOWED" depending on your SIM Card.
    Type of Phone is NHE-6

    Nokia 8810
  • To view IMEI number *#06#

    Nokia 9000/9000i
  • To view IMEI number *#06#
  • To view Software Version enter *#682371158412125#
    Latest Version is under Phone Info
    To view Week and Year of manufacture enter *#3283# pically, these phones can be unlocked by entering a special code.

    Links to More Info
    http://www.oreillynet.com/onlamp/blog/2003/11/unlocking_your_nokia_phone.html
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    Good idea, but I would recommend organizing the quick summary so that is easy to read and follow. Make it as concise as possible in a consistent format.

    DCT4 Nokia's should all be able to be unlocked by entering phone info at http://unlock.nokiafree.org/

    It would be better to provide links like this instead of links to threads that have this info buried deep in them.

    sc0rpio said: [Q]Good idea, but I would recommend organizing the quick summary so that is easy to read and follow. Make it as concise as possible in a consistent format.

    DCT4 Nokia's should all be able to be unlocked by entering phone info at http://unlock.nokiafree.org/

    It would be better to provide links like this instead of links to threads that have this info buried deep in them.

    Agreed. The quick summary needs a lot of cleaning up. I could use help here.

    I unlocked my Nokia 3220 and was using with sim from TMOBILE. I used for 3 to 4 hrs when i noticed that it again gave me SIM rejected error. And it is locked again. I received and dialed from this phone using TMOBILE SIM for good 2 hours.
    Anyone experienced same situation or explain this?

    Thanks

    For Cingular with Nokia 3220b (I got one of the pay as you go), I had to use a non-Cingular SIM card to unlock and it worked great following the unlock.nokiafree.org instruction.

    1) without SIM card get IMEI number and get unlock code from the unlock.nokiafree.ord
    2) turn off and insert non-Cingular SIM card (I used one expired HK prepaid SIM)
    3) turn on the phone and it will ask you to enter "Unlock" screen by hitting the center of 5 ways navigation button to open window to enter restriction code like CoolxStuff says.

    I tried with the #7 key and it worked right away.<img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif" border=0>

    what can you do if its permanently locked?

    if I want to make a cell phone into a prepaid, I simply change the simcard or I would have to unlock it?

    If the prepaid sim card is from the same cellular company as the phone, you do not need to unlock it.

    i like this topic



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