Have you ever heard people around you say: “I unlocked my blackberry” or “My blackberry bold is unlocked,” and wonder, what are they all talking about? I asked the guys at Unlockology.com about this, and here is what I learnt.
When people talk about unlocking, they are often referring to the act of freeing up a mobile phone and making it their own. But why “their own” you might ask? Donâ€™t they already own the handset? Well, the answer to this is that cellular phones, including Blackberry, are for the most part, sold by the network carriers through what is called a subsidization program.
A subsidization or subsidy occurs when a network carrier offers incentives to a buyer to purchase a Blackberry or other Smartphone at an attractive discount. Most of the time, cellular mobile phones are sold below cost by the network service providers. In order to qualify for these discounted prices customers must enter into a contract with the network provider and agree to the terms of that contract. This contract is a means of protecting the service providersâ€™ initial investment. The provider builds-in the discounted portion of the handset into the monthly service fee for the use of voice or data communications on their network. Their intention is to recoup every penny of their investment and more.
As a second measure to insure buyers will abide by the terms of the contract, network service providers lock the Blackberryâ€™s and other Smartphone brands they sell. Locking the mobile device insures that the handset will only work on the their network.
For the network service provider, a locked Blackberry is also a big money maker, especially when the owner travels outside of the boundaries of their own network coverage. When this happens roaming kicks in. Roaming is the additional cost of keeping your wireless signal and service even when you are using a competing network, usually in another country or outside or the carriers own service area.
Selling locked mobile devices is also an advantage for the OEM manufacturers of cell phone handsets. If the customer is not able to port their cellular handset and use it on a different carrier, then this often forces consumers to have to buy another phone. This results in more sales for RIM (makers of Blackberry) and other cellular mobile phone manufacturers like HTC, Motorola, Nokia, LG, Samsung and Sony Ericsson. It is a win-win proposition between the manufacturer and the network service provider. Subsidy locked or locked phones are common on all networks, including CDMA, GSM, GPRS, EDGE, IMBA, HSPA, LTE, 3G and 4G.
So in order to unlock a Blackberry, and most other Smartphone brands, an 8-16 digit unlock code is often needed to remove the network provider lock. This unlock code is randomly programmed into your cell phone by RIM, the maker of Blackberry, at the request of the network service provider. Every mobile phone has a unique unlocking code. So donâ€™t try using your friends unlock code! By the way, unlocking by code is completely legal and does not void your phones warranty.
Finding out weather or not your Blackberry or other mobile phone is locked is quite simple. The easiest way is by inserting an active SIM card from a network service provider different to the phoneâ€™s originally service provider. In most cases if the phone is locked you will get an invalid sim message. Another way is to follow the unlocking instructions without actually entering a code. A Blackberry will let you know how many more tries it has left to input the correct code. It comes standard with ten tries. Be careful, 10 wrong code attempts and you hard-lock the phone. It will then serve as a good paperweight.
This is why it is so important to use both a reputable unlocker, and be sure to provide them with all the correct phone information. When unlocking a Blackberry on Unlockology.com, they require you to provide three things: 1. Handsetâ€™s 15-digit IMEI number. This can be found in the Options/Status screen. 2. The PRD number. Found on the back of the phone behind the battery on the UPC sticker. And 3. MEP number. To get this number, there is a special page on the website. Just follow the instructions. With this information, there is no guessing and you are guaranteed a correct unlock code on the first try. Entering the unlock code or MEP code is not a problem. There are easy step-by-step instructions on the website.
Before unlocking your Blackberry or any other Smartphone, check that the handset you own is compatible on the network you want to use it on. Most of the new BlackBerryâ€™s handsets, like the 9700 Bold, are Quad-Band. This means they will work on different GSM and 3G networks. But each handset is different so it is best to check first. Even CDMA network Blackberry’s, like the Verizon 9500, 9520, 9530, 9550 or 9630 can be unlocked and used on GSM carriers worldwide.
There are many reasons for unlocking a Blackberry. One of the most popular is to avoid expensive roaming charges when traveling outside of your providers network. If your phone is unlocked, it will accept active SIM card from different service providers. So for example, if you are an AT&T USA customer, and are planning to travel to England for a month, all you have to do is purchase a local pre-paid SIM card from a network carrier like Vodafone, O2, Orange or T-Mobile UK. If you donâ€™t, you will probably come back from you vacation owing thousands in daily roaming charges. Another reason for unlocking a mobile phone is to switch service providers and be able to port your current phone. Other people buy handsets not available on the network they are currently contracted to, or donâ€™t wish to change carriers, and unlock the cellphone so that they can use it on their existing network.
So when you hear someone say, â€ťI just unlocked my Blackberry,â€ť what they mean is that their phone can now be used with different SIM cards on multiple carriers.
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