1. cbcbcb123's Avatar
    Some carriers have been known to unlock phones for free to long time customers.

    Other carriers have been known to charge a flat rate fee to unlock their customer's phone.

    So why not always go through your carrier vs third party sources? Isn't it safer?

    How do those third party sites gain the capability to unlock phones anyway? Did they somehow get a hold of some proprietary information and database with all the phones? I can't imagine there is any kind of pattern involved with the IMEI number and an unlocking code that allows them to 'code break' with an algorithm.
    03-01-16 09:21 AM
  2. Ecm's Avatar
    Carriers have differing requirements to be met before they'll unlock a device. Some are easier than others. Their fee is higher than an unlocking service. I've used BlackBerry Code Source to unlock several devices -- quickly, no hassle, and less expensive than my carrier.
    03-01-16 11:01 AM
  3. raino's Avatar
    Provided it's free, you should! Even if you don't know if it's free, doesn't hurt to ask--at the most, they'll tell you how much they charge.

    As for where third party unlockers get their codes, that's a very good question. Some codes--like BBOS phone codes--indeed can be generated without a carrier's help quite easily (I have done so myself and I'm not an unlocking service) but I suspect there's a large degree of social engineering involved--from something as simple as "hey, AT&T employee--read me unlock codes and I'll pay you a cut" to something as shady as this. This is why, I believe, it takes a while to get some codes while others are quick.

    I have even seen disclaimers from companies that offer refunds saying something like "we are unable to guarantee that we will have a code for carrier X's phone Y; your money in this case is non-refundable." This type of a scenario suggests to me that they may not have a reliable lead for carrier X, whereas phone Y through other carriers may be easily unlockable and be covered by that refund guarantee.
    03-02-16 02:22 PM
  4. cbcbcb123's Avatar
    Carriers have differing requirements to be met before they'll unlock a device. Some are easier than others. Their fee is higher than an unlocking service. I've used BlackBerry Code Source to unlock several devices -- quickly, no hassle, and less expensive than my carrier.
    Perhaps. Usually its either at least 3 months with them, or the contract is over, or they require you to pay off the phone if contract isn't over and you have a tab -- then they will be willing to unlock for free or for a fee.

    As for the fee, I've seen some carriers charge $50. Yet at the same time, those 3rd party sources charge around $50 that I've seen too. So it seemed like a no brainer to go through the carrier.
    03-11-16 12:48 PM
  5. cbcbcb123's Avatar
    Provided it's free, you should! Even if you don't know if it's free, doesn't hurt to ask--at the most, they'll tell you how much they charge.

    As for where third party unlockers get their codes, that's a very good question. Some codes--like BBOS phone codes--indeed can be generated without a carrier's help quite easily (I have done so myself and I'm not an unlocking service) but I suspect there's a large degree of social engineering involved--from something as simple as "hey, AT&T employee--read me unlock codes and I'll pay you a cut" to something as shady as this. This is why, I believe, it takes a while to get some codes while others are quick.

    I have even seen disclaimers from companies that offer refunds saying something like "we are unable to guarantee that we will have a code for carrier X's phone Y; your money in this case is non-refundable." This type of a scenario suggests to me that they may not have a reliable lead for carrier X, whereas phone Y through other carriers may be easily unlockable and be covered by that refund guarantee.
    Yeah I figured it was probably something shady where they had access to the manufacturer's database.

    But the concept of locking a phone to a network is also shady too. Manufacturers shouldn't cave and scheme to benefit carriers against the customer by creating this concept of a carrier lock.

    I heard horror stories too about some unlockers not being able to unlock and not providing refund or credits. This alone is enough for me to go with a carrier to unlock even if it is more expensive. But actually I've seen cases where the carrier is not more expensive than some of the unlocking services around.
    03-11-16 12:52 PM
  6. raino's Avatar
    But the concept of locking a phone to a network is also shady too. Manufacturers shouldn't cave and scheme to benefit carriers against the customer by creating this concept of a carrier lock.
    I kinda see why they do it (deterrent to people carrier-jumping with "their" phones,) but I don't agree with the way they handle unlocking requests. Once the phone is paid off (ETF, unsubsidized purchase, balloon payment, etc.) the carrier should unlock the phone no later than 48 hours. No "the phone must have been active on the network for __ number of days" or "must have had $__ in refills." No. Such policies are BS. Does an electronics store sell you a TV at full price and then charge you a fee to take the box out the door?

    I heard horror stories too about some unlockers not being able to unlock and not providing refund or credits. This alone is enough for me to go with a carrier to unlock even if it is more expensive.
    Yeah, this can be a problem, but that's why I prefer using my credit card and/or PayPal.

    I haven't bought SIM locked phones in quite some time now, but my cut-off for the unlocking fee difference would be $5. And depending on the circumstances, I may go to a third party unlocker just out of spite or if my carrier's being unreasonable.
    03-11-16 01:58 PM

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