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Travelers~Don't swap out SIM cards on unlocked phones
Old 02-11-2013, 04:44 PM   #1
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Travelers~Don't swap out SIM cards on unlocked phones

The Library of Congress recently ruled that unlocking smartphones is illegal under most conditions. This new ruling has implications for travelers who have been in the habit of swapping out SIM cards on unlocked phones. Because the fines for unlocking your smartphone are quite high, you might want to read more about the ruling if you're a SIM card swapper.
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Old 02-11-2013, 04:47 PM   #2
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Only applies to unauthorized unlocking of locked phones.

Nothing to do with a legally unlocked phone, whether bought that way or unlocked by your carrier later.
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Old 02-11-2013, 05:32 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by braumeister View Post
Only applies to unauthorized unlocking of locked phones.

Nothing to do with a legally unlocked phone, whether bought that way or unlocked by your carrier later.
Correct, I routinely unlock our phones. Just make a request when you have fulfilled any requirements the carrier may have. I have never been charged for an unlock code by the carrier.

The main reason I unlock them is that I may want to switch between T-Mobile and AT&T, or maybe give, loan or sell the phone to someone on AT&T. Might as well have the flexibility, it's free for the asking. For a while, it was looking like an AT&T plan would be best for DD, and T-Mobile for us. In that case, I def want to be able to swap out SIMS. If her phone broke, we could just give her a temporary replacement - we've got a few old phones around now.

Is It Illegal to Unlock the iPhone?

Quote:
It's also important to know that many phone companies will unlock your phone. In order to do this, you'll usually need to complete your original contract with that company and then pay a fee of some kind for them to unlock the phone. This is still legal under the ruling.
-ERD50
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Old 02-11-2013, 05:39 PM   #4
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For any who might be wondering, this is a very useful thing to consider doing.

You can take an unlocked phone elsewhere (usually Europe for me), which is much easier than the old days when I used to have to buy a cheap phone when I got over there.

You simply buy a SIM card at a corner store in your destination city and insert it into the slot in your unlocked phone. Presto, you have a European phone number to give people there, and don't have to worry about roaming.

When you come back home, swap your original SIM card back in and you're good to go.

I realize this is obvious to most travelers, but some might find it inspirational.
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Old 02-12-2013, 08:09 AM   #5
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I read somewhere that the iphone 5 (which I have) comes unlocked out of the box. I plan to research this before my next trip and see if I can get a prepaid sim card for it when I next travel. Of course, if any of the folks around here care to share their already completed research...
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Old 02-12-2013, 11:00 AM   #6
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We are planning to go to Britain this year. I've read that all one has to do is buy a cheap PayGo phone from Carphone Warehouse. Those stores are quite common there. We will pick one up in London before venturing out of the city. Cost seems to be around $30 depending on the phone and minutes.

Our Tracphone is CDMA so SIM cards are apparently not an option for us. For web access I'll probably just use our Kindle Fire.
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Old 02-12-2013, 11:10 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by donheff View Post
I read somewhere that the iphone 5 (which I have) comes unlocked out of the box. I plan to research this before my next trip and see if I can get a prepaid sim card for it when I next travel. Of course, if any of the folks around here care to share their already completed research...
My understanding is that if you bought it from Verizon, it is unlocked. The problem is that you still have the two year contract with them to deal with, or else a hefty early termination fee.

Simpler and cheaper, I think, to just buy an unlocked one directly from Apple.
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Old 02-12-2013, 02:22 PM   #8
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We use T-Mobile & after a short period (40 or 60 days depending on the plan), you can call them up and they'll give you an unlock code to use the phone on other carriers. Of course, you're still obligated to any contract you signed.
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Old 02-27-2013, 05:12 PM   #9
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We use T-Mobile & after a short period (40 or 60 days depending on the plan), you can call them up and they'll give you an unlock code to use the phone on other carriers. Of course, you're still obligated to any contract you signed.
I just unlocked DW's phone. I actually used the chat feature on their website and they emailed the code the next day. Worked pretty slick.
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Old 02-27-2013, 05:29 PM   #10
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Unlocked one phone in Mexico, so we had a Mex plan on one phone with AT&T and one all-Mexico phone with TelCel...
Worked great for the 8 months and we'll do it again next month...
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Old 02-27-2013, 05:52 PM   #11
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I never knew that the Library of Congress could make legal rulings in the telecommunications field.

FCC, yes. Congress etc. yes, but the Library of Congress?
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Old 03-18-2013, 04:31 PM   #12
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Anyone who buys a locked phone in today's marketplace is just plain uninformed. And PLEASE don't fall for that old sucker bait that they are giving you a phone for free, do the math.
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Old 03-18-2013, 05:58 PM   #13
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I never knew that the Library of Congress could make legal rulings in the telecommunications field.

FCC, yes. Congress etc. yes, but the Library of Congress?
It's an interesting addition courtesy of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital..._Copyright_Act ), which sets up the Library of Congress as a sort of special master to determine what technological circumvention mechanisms for copyright enforcement can be permitted for various classes of works.

http://www.copyright.gov/1201/docs/U...Rulemaking.pdf
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Old 04-06-2013, 09:52 AM   #14
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I have an AT&T iphone. Prior to my trip to South Pacific, I asked ATT to unlock it. They said they will only do so if I was out of contract (over 2 years old). Fortunately, I was and they unlocked my phone. ATT said that that reason they require out of contract is because otherwise, folks would buy phones simply to sell at a higher price overseas. I was able to get a local New Zealand Sim card and load it with $20 for calls. The same card worked in Australia. It is that simple.
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Old 05-10-2013, 02:27 PM   #15
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I've had an iPhone contract with AT&T since the iPhone came out lol. Still have the unlimited plan. We're going through Canada for four days to Alaska, then four days back again several months later. Think I'll just turn the phone off. Cheaper.

Our normal Internet is a Sierra Overdrive Pro with VeriZon. Think I'll turn that off too and just use free wireless along the way.
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