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Questions on Activation and Unlocking Procedures for Carrier Smartphones?

Discussion in 'Android Devices' started by montecarlo1987, Jan 8, 2019.

  1. montecarlo1987

    Thread Starter

    Hello. I am told from reliable sources for unlocking phones is that a brand new (never used or unused) phone MUST BE ACTIVATED PRIOR to any unlocking (performed by third-party unlocking services) by the very carrier of the phone. I purchased a new smartphone from my local department store brand new and I do not know at this time of this smartphone was indeed activated or not? This is the new AT&T Unlimited (Prepaid) (AT&T Carrier in USA) LG Phoenix Plus (LM-X410AS) model. Therefore in order to proceed with any unlocking service, naturally I need to know this information first.

    Question 1. How do I go about finding if my new never used smartphone was ever activated? Where do I go to “verify” activation? What are some steps?

    Question 2. If I DO NEED to go to activate it with the phone’s carrier (in this case AT&T), will they require me to have paid phone service with them or not *IN ORDER TO HAVE IT ACTIVATED*? …or is “activation” A SEPARATE INDEPENDENT FUNCTION (OR STEP) and has no bearing from acquiring a paid service for the phone? NOTE: The whole point here is I do not have AT&T Wireless service as my carrier right along or ever in the past as my wireless carrier. This is a NEW prepaid AT&T smartphone never used before. In other words, can I still get it simply activated without having to pay for AT&T service?

    Question 3. If I can unlock provided I do get an unlock code for the AT&T LG Phoenix Plus, during the unlocking process can I simply use as a replacement SIM card my current SIM card for my current Tracfone Wireless service found in my older AT&T LG Phoenix 2 smartphone (GSM network) or not for the unlock process for my brand new AT&T Phoenix Plus (LM-X410AS)? [NOTE: FYI, my AT&T LG Phoenix 2 is an unlocked AT&T carrier phone as well (unlock process was not done by me however that is why I have no idea on this matter.) ...OR do I still need yet *ANOTHER* nano SIM card JUST TO UNLOCK the new AT&T Phoenix Plus smartphone? ...and then go ahead and use my original nano SIM card from my older Phoenix 2 smartphone afterwards for my Tracfone Wireless service?

    Questions 4 Following along the same theory from question 3: When unlocking a phone using a SIM card, in general, I am told the SIM card has to be “another” carrier brand of the same type of network (GSM) from the original phone's carrier. (Example: Use a nano SIM card from T-Mobile to replace a nano SIM card from AT&T locked phone and vice versa during the unlocking process.) Now, my question is: With this SIM card that is used for unlocking purposes to replace the original carrier's SIM card… …(a) can it/must it be blank, unregistered & inactivated (NEW) carrier SIM card? ...(b) can/must be a CURRENT and ACTIVE carrier SIM card? …and/or… ...(c)can/must be a former EXPIRED and INACTIVE carrier SIM card? ...in order to unlock the smartphone?

    Please reply ASAP. This is much appreciated! Thank you!

    #1 montecarlo1987, Jan 8, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2019
  2. Hadron

    Hadron Smoke me a kipper...
    VIP Member

    I can't answer the first 2 questions because they relate not to the technology but to the procedures and rules of US carriers (GSM technology per se doesn't require any activation of a phone, just the SIM, so by definition activating a phone is an additional procedure from the carrier. I only buy new factory-unlocked phones, and I just stick my SIM in them and use them, no activation of the phone needed).

    For question 3, once you've unlocked you can use whatever SIM you like in the phone (as long as it's technically compatible). All that's changed is that it no longer requires that you only use ATT SIMs with the handset.

    For question 4, the card you use for unlocking does not have to be a new SIM card, it just has to be a card from another carrier. What happens is that you put the card in, the phone boots up, identifies the card as being from a different carrier from the one it's locked to and asks you for the unlock code. I think you probably can use an inactive SIM: I have heard of people doing that, but cannot say from direct experience.
    lunatic59, mikedt and Dannydet like this.
  3. svim

    svim Extreme Android User

    Every smartphone gets its own, unique identifier called an IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity). You can confirm your phone's status on any of several IMEI checker sites like:
    A phone can get blacklisted when it's reported as stolen, or a carrier can put it on the blacklist if the current owner can't or won't pay their bills, leaving the account open. But the issue on whether a phone is carrier-locked or not isn't necessarily a matter of whether the phone has been used or not. Every carrier relies on it's own cellular network, or in the case of some lessor carriers, contracted to use another carrier's cellular network. The issue being that those different cellular networks are based on using different frequencies (3G) and bands (4G). So a carrier-branded phone will have a radio chip inside it that matches the particular carrier's cellular network. Using a SIM from a different carrier may or may not work, as the primary factor is the cellular network, which requires a matching radio chip inside the phone itself, so mix-and-matching SIM cards is more a matter of compatibility. You can put any SIM card you have into any phone, but at the heart of the matter if it works it will still be determined by whether that particular model of phone has a radio chip(s) that's compatible with the cellular network.
    So even if you bought a carrier-unlocked phone, it would be a matter of the phone itself being compatible with whichever carrier you opt to use, the SIM card is just how that phone then gets authenticated to your account with the carrier.
    Dannydet and lunatic59 like this.
  4. lunatic59

    lunatic59 Moderati ergo sum

    The activation you speak of is for the SIM and your account, not the phone per se. You must, however, provide the IMEI for the device when activating your SIM so the two get bound together. These inexpensive pay-as-you-go phones are often times single purpose and won't work on any other network other than the one for which they are intended for. I'd be very wary of any "unlocking" service, especially if you have to pay for the code. Personally I think they are more scam than anything else.
    Dannydet likes this.
  5. n0tall0wed

    n0tall0wed Android Enthusiast

    Really, every time I have used one it works fine. Granted I always check reviews of the company beforehand.

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