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Can I use any carrier on my Android phone ?

Discussion in 'Android Lounge' started by mettam, Jan 13, 2011.

  1. mettam

    mettam Lurker
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    If I buy a smart phone with android on it can I use any sim card in it ?
    Or am I bound to the carrier that made the phone ?
    Are they like iPhones where you have to unlock the iPhone in order to use other carriers ?

    J
     

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  2. macprv

    macprv Android Enthusiast
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    phones that are sold by carriers (almost) always come locked... like the iphone... so in order to use them with a different carrier you have to unlock them, also you have to make sure the phone has compatible radios for that specific carrier

    here in the US the only unlocked android phones (from factory) that i know of, are the nexus'... nexus s and nexus one
     
  3. snapper.fishes

    snapper.fishes Android Expert
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    Carriers don't make phones. Manufactueres like Apple, Samsung, Motorola, HTC and LG do. Carriers might request that a specific phones be made only available to them in a particular country, or in some cases request a company to make a unique phone for them. Whether or not a phone is locked to the carrier depends on the policy of the carrier and which country you are living in. In UK, Hong Kong, Singapore (and I suspect many ex-british colonies) it is ILLEGAL for a carrier to lock a phone to their company (though they can request a small service fee to unlock the phone). Unfortunately the same doesn't hold true in the US.

    So the best thing to do would be to talk to a carrier representative and ask him/her whether the phone you are interested in is locked.
     
  4. Global_S

    Global_S Newbie
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    Sadly this isn't true in the UK, most phones you get on contract will locked to the network.

    The odd exception is when you sign up through a 3rd party who have bought the phones themselves. My Desire HD is the first phone I've got on many years of contracts that isn't locked.
     
  5. snapper.fishes

    snapper.fishes Android Expert
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    Opps. I have heard of so many of my friends paying for unlock codes that I thought it's a legal requirement in the UK as well.

    From wikipedia

    So I was still partially correct. Most companies will allow you to unlock your phone for a fee, but not all.
     
  6. takeshi

    takeshi Android Expert
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    Assuming it's GSM, supports the frequencies needed for the carrier and it's unlocked, yes.

    As you can see, there are several big if's that you need to consider -- not just the Android OS.

    You have to unlock any locked GSM device to use it on another carrier.
     
  7. Global_S

    Global_S Newbie
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    Ah, didn't fully grasp what you meant. Phones come locked, but most can be unlocked simply for a small fee. TBH it's never been much of an issue to me, after all to get the phone free on contract, you've signed up for for a period, so you may as well use the mins you're already paying for. Only advantages are going abroad or maybe having a couple of PAYG simcards for when you're in remote places and can't trust and network to work the whole time.

    Most companies will unlock the phone for a small fee, but only at the end of your contract, when you've paid for it. That's not to stop you finding websites/market stands that will do it for you instead though.
     
  8. mettam

    mettam Lurker
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    I heard the nexus (google phones) are unlocked.
    Does anyone know of any android phones that come unlocked.
    I am US based.
     
  9. Global_S

    Global_S Newbie
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    If the US market is anything like the UK market, you best bet is to approach 3rd party sellers who buy the stock and then put whatever sim card the customer wants. Never had an unlocked phone straight from the network.

    I know we'll never get duel sim phones like they get in China, but even to allow enough space under the sim slot to carry a spare in there would be a great boost! For example I mostly use t-mobile, but when in the Lake District, then vodaphone is far better reception.

    I don't know why the carriers bother on contract phones. You're tied into the contract anyway, what difference does it make if you choose to spend more on additional sims and the like.
     
  10. mettam

    mettam Lurker
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    Are there any negative effects experienced from unlocking a android phone ?
     
  11. danalingga

    danalingga Newbie
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    Yes, you can if the phones is a no contract phones.
     
  12. macprv

    macprv Android Enthusiast
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    nope.. you can buy an off-contract phone and it can still be locked:eek:
     
  13. Guamguy

    Guamguy Android Expert
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    I believe Canada now requires phones to be unlocked.

    And yes, in half of the countries around the world, phones are required to be unlocked. Southeast Asia in particular, is swarming with unlocked phones for the greater majority.

    And yes, there are unlocked versions of many Android phones available. I will list them later.
     
  14. morkon

    morkon Newbie
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    if you're from the US, your "unlocked" phone can only work on T-Mobile or AT&T, and you probably wont get 3G on one of the 2.
     
  15. brezzo

    brezzo Well-Known Member
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    Here in Australia on my current plan I can unlock my HTC Desire HD for free, but I don't need to. This is on Vodafone AU infinite 45 plan.
     
  16. Global_S

    Global_S Newbie
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    This is a fair point. If you're paying for a contract, most people have little need to run other sims.

    I just like to be able to when travelling to remote areas where my network isn't the strongest. Now if only they could make a dual sim version of the Desire HD.
     
  17. Reap

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    If you root an Android phone will it be unlocked?
     
  18. downeaststudio

    downeaststudio Well-Known Member
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    No, it won't unfortunately.
     

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