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GSM cell phone - how can I verify it is unlocked??

GSM cell phone - how can I verify it is unlocked??

Old Jun 9th, 2004, 01:04 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 45
GSM cell phone - how can I verify it is unlocked??


We're going to be going to europe later this year and are planning to purchase a gsm phone based on what I've learned on this site. I'm only planning to buy a dual band for use in europe (don't need US usage) and I don't need anything fancy. I've found some places online (Gandhi Appliances, 220 Electronics) that sell some older models pretty cheap ($40-$50). My concern is how do I confirm that the phone is unlocked when I get it. Since I am in the US I can't just go buy a SIM and try it out because it is dual band. I'd have to wait until I get to europe and then if it doesn't work I am screwed for lack of a better term! Is there any way to verify that a phone is unlocked?? This is probably a stupid question, but I'm just a bit paranoid...

Thank you for any advice or additional information.


hacsutton is offline  
Old Jun 9th, 2004, 01:11 PM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 373
Well, even though this is the US, you can go out and buy a SIM card. Cingular, T-Mobile and ATT all operate GSM networks in the US. When I purchased my unlocked phone, I bought a cingular SIM card so I could test it and use the phone en route from the US airports without having to carry my sprint cell phone. If you don't wish to purchase a card, you can go into a Cingular or T-Mobile store and ask them to test your phone for service with a test SIM card they usually have on hand. I have done this as well.
Hope this helps.
usbeauty is offline  
Old Jun 9th, 2004, 01:12 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,173

I don't remember having ever bought a GSM that was locked. It only works when you introduce a SIM card. With the SIM you will get a pincode to make your phone work. Is this what you mean by "unlocked"?
Wouldn't it be safer to just wait until you are in Europe to buy a GSM?
MyriamC is offline  
Old Jun 9th, 2004, 01:22 PM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 373
Many GSM phones are locked by software to permit functioning with certain providwers. All Cingular, ATT and T-Mobile GSM phones sold in this country are "locked" so that they can't be switched among cell phone companies. For instance, you can't buy a Cingular GSM phone and introduce a T-Mobile SIM card.
usbeauty is offline  
Old Jun 9th, 2004, 01:49 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,445
I bookmarked this site a while ago but haven't used it - but it seems to offer what you're looking for (for a price, of course!)
Elizabeth_S is offline  
Old Jun 9th, 2004, 02:52 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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There is no way of finding out if a phone is locked other than putting in sim cards from different operators. And if the phone you get is European-spec dual band (900 and 1800MHz), it will reject every US sim as it operates on 850 or 1900 MHz. So ask the seller whether it's unlocked, or borrow a sim from a friend who has bought it in Europe.
Alec is offline  
Old Jun 9th, 2004, 04:49 PM
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Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 45
Thanks for the info everyone. Alec, that is what I thought would be the case with the dual band. If I get a european sim card and put it in in the US it's still not going to work is it?? The seller does say that the phone is unlocked, again, I am just a paranoid soul and want to check it before I get to europe if I can.

Thanks for responding!!
hacsutton is offline  
Old Jun 10th, 2004, 03:15 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Actually Alec, I think you may be mistaken.

The phone first looks to boot up and if it is locked and a sim card not of the locking company is in there, you will get some kind of an error message regarding the SIM card. It then searches for a carrier it can register on and of course if the bands are not correct, it will not find one. Simply stated, nothing will happen. You won't get any sort of message or anything like that; the phone simply will show nothing.
xyz123 is offline  
Old Jun 10th, 2004, 07:31 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 427
If you order it from a reputable dealer who guarantees that it is unlocked, it will be unlocked. Don't buy too cheap of a phone though, it is harder to hear very well on these.

Instead of buying on line, use their direct phone number and speak to the dealer and confirm that it is unlocked.

nocinonut is offline  
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