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What is unlocking / a simlock?


A simlock is a restriction on your phone placed there by your Telecom Provider to prevent you from switching to other (more cheaper, better performing) networks.

A gsm can be locked the SIM card is NEVER locked!!
The SIM itself is never locked: you can use it in any compatible unlocked cellular phone. There are 3 different kinds of simcards for mobile phones. Two 2G cards; a 1.8 Volt version and 3.6 Volt version. All newer sims are 3.6V versions. Some real old phones (older then the year 2000) have trouble handling the new simcards. Next to this you now also have the uSim(also referred to as 128k sim), this is a special simcard for UMTS phones and has more space to save contacts and text messages and works with 3G networks. The GSM association is also working on new smaller standards and Apple is also doing this on their own.

Different kind of simlocks
There are various kinds of simlocks depending on the brand of your mobile. However for Samsung you have:
NCK - Network Control Key, also known as Network Unlock code (most common)
SPCK - Service Provider Control Key, also known as Service Provider unlock code
PCK - Provider Control Key, almost never used
MCK - Unfreeze code. A special code needed to fix your phone after to many bad attempts of any of the above simlocks

Region lock: not long ago Samsung introduced a new kind of simlock called a 'Region Lock'. This lock was introduced to prevent grey importing and was quickly met with a lot of criticism from users around the world upon which Samsung also admitted it might not have been such a good idea. This lock confines a phone to only work in Europe or only in Asia etc (restricted to a specific bigger geographical region). This is NOT the same as a simlock, and removing it might not be the same as removing simlocks. Contact support first if you have a region lock! Phone's with region locks can always be identified by a sticker on the phone's box stating so.

Important 1: a Phone Lock (also known as 'security code', 'user lock', 'pattern lock' ) is not a simlock! It is like a pin code only then not saved on the simcard but on your phone. This is a 5 - 8 digit number (standards 12345 or 00000000) or a specific draw pattern which the user of the phone has to set. This code / pattern can however also be reset by our Samsung Remote Client software for free!

Important 2: APN settings (MMS / internet settings) are sometimes 'greyed out' (locked). This has NOTHING to do with a simlock. This means your phone's firmware is branded by your provider. The only solution to this problem is flashing your phone with an unbranded firmware. However some Samsung models are exclusive to one provider which would mean unbranded firmwares don't exists.

What is Hardlocked
A phone is hardlocked when you start the phone with another simcard and the phone only displays a message that the phone is locked and there is no way to enter an unlock code. This is common practice in various South American countries. The telecom providers in these countries modify the firmwares and basically delete the functionality to enter the unlock codes making sim unlocking 'impossible'. This practice would be considered illegal in Europe (and possibly in the USA / Canada as well). The solution to this problem is to change the firmware to a firmware from another telecom provider who doesn't do this, or better yet an unbranded firmware (a firmware with no relation to a specific telecom operator.

How to know if a phone is simlocked?
The most effective and easiest method to check if your Samsung is simlocked is to put an SIMCARD from another provider in your phone and then turn on the phone. If the phone gives you an error or asks you to enter a code it MAY be simlocked. If it doesn't it is 100% NOT simlocked.

Ok to understand the 'it MAY be simlocked' comment; you need to re-read the 'Important 1' note 3 paragraphs above. When it is asking for a code like 'phone lock', 'security code' 'user code', 'pattern lock' it is NOT a simlock but a phone lock which is not the same. If the phones asks for something like 'Network unlock PIN' or 'sim unlock' , 'Network unlock code' or something similar it IS simlocked.

Then the 3rd option is that your phone is giving an error like 'simcard rejected', 'unsupported sim', 'unknown sim'. Which is the most confusing of all as it can mean:
- You put simcard in wrong
- Simcard can be damaged
- Phone is simlocked
- You put a non compatible simcard inside your phone (e.g. 3G simcard in a phone that only supports 2G network)

If you have ANY doubts please always contact support first before getting buying your unlock account!

Important: the message 'Not registered on Network' is NOT a simlock problem
This message can have various reasons such as sim not active, hardware damage, bad IMEI etc.

So unlocking is:
Removing the simlocks on the phone so you can use the phone with any compatible simcard.

Thus unlocking is tampering with the phone's software?
It can be, a lot of free unlock software on the internet change data in the phone's firmware (and by this sometimes also damage the phone), other (more professional solutions) read data from the phone and then calculate the unlock code / data to send this back to the phone. By law a mobile phone should always have the option to be unlocked, however in some South American countries providers are known to purposely 'damage' the data where the simlock data is stored in the phone's memory making the official unlock method not work any more (though this can be fixed by changing the phone's firmware to a non South American branded firmware). This is also called 'hard-locking'.

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Article ID: 44
Category: General
Date added: 2012-11-15 05:10:49
Views: 1
Rating (Votes): Article rated 4.6/5.0 (82)

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