What is a SIM ?
Once upon a time your mobile phone service provider identified who you are by an ESN, the unique serial number of your phone, and routed your calls directly to that number. This is now only true for a handful of CDMA networks left around the world.
Today most wireless networks are GSM technology and your phone is directly linked to the network in a different way, it has a removable account card inserted. This “subscriber information module” or SIM has a unique serial number that identifies you to a wireless provider.
It is this independent card that permits you (with a few exceptions) to exchange GSM handsets with minimal inconvenience.
What is unlocking ?
The SIM card that you have removed from your phone can be inserted into another GSM phone. If you are using the same wireless provider it will recognize the signal and will work. If however it is from a different wireless provider, then the handset has probably been programmed to block access by competitors, or has been “locked”. That programming must be reversed and is referred to as “unlocking”.
What are the benefits of unlocking it ?
- You are eligible to change your mobile phone service provider and wish to retain your present handset.
- You intend to travel internationally and wish to avoid the excessive roaming fee’s charged while abroad.
- You have completed your contract and upgraded to a new phone. Now you would like to unlock your old handset to serve as an emergency phone by simply exchanging the SIM card.
Will my existing service provider object if I unlock my phone ?
If you are still in a contract with your network provider and pay your monthly bill there is little reason for them to object. Indeed if you paid your bill and did not use the service they should be delighted.
Unlocking is NOT a method of stealing the phone; it is a useful tool to provide you with greater convenience and possibly lower costs. (see benefits above).
Is unlocking my phone illegal ?
No unlocking is not illegal. Review your present contract. Unless it specifically states that the phone remains the property of the service provider and you have agreed not to modify or alter it in any way then there seems to be no reason why you cannot legally modify it; as long as you are not intending to commit a fraud! There are in fact several countries where locking by the wireless provider is itself illegal.
Disclaimer: Unlocking should not be confused with the changing of IMEI (serial number) that is referred to as cloning. This is an illegal procedure that, with some non GSM phones, could permit fraudsters to charge calls to your account.
How do I know if my mobile is already unlocked?
Simply borrow a phone from a friend using a different wireless provider, slip in his SIM card and try making a call. If it works then you phone is already unlocked. If it doesn’t then contact unlockworldwide.com for a fast, cost effective and reliable service.
How do I unlock my phone ?
There are three ways that a phone can be unlocked.
- If it is an unsophisticated (probably old) handset then one of the FREE numbers offered on the internet might work. Might! Be aware that some phones allow only a limited number of attempts before completely blocking modification.
- Unlock by Code – You can rely upon a reliable specialist such as unlockworldwide.com who offer a credible guarantee and simple step by step instruction of how to read the IMEI, MEP number, and insert the unlocking code etc. There is no need to send in a phone and you can unlock from the comfort of your home. Unlocking by code does not void a warranty.
- Unlock with Software – You can use someone on the High Street or Mail Us the Phone for service. Some phone can be unlocked by software, but this not recommended as messing with the phone’s firmware can void the warranty.
Must I unlock my phone every time I change SIM cards ?
No. It is going to accept unlimited SIM cards. Once unlocked the cellphone will never re-lock again.
How/where can I get a SIM that will work internationally ?
Probably when you arrive in the country itself. Most short stay travelers will bear the cost of roaming charges to stay in touch with “back home”.
It’s the longer term traveler who benefits by changing to a local SIM, shrewdly advising only important contacts of his new (temporary) phone number.
Where to buy? If language is an issue then probably within the arrival airport where the vendor usually employs multilingual staff. A possibly higher charge is more than justified.
Alternatively buy a pre-paid SIM for the country or countries you plan to visit. For the first time user these allow you to make sure that you have installed it correctly, that it works and that the office and loved ones know your number.