which is better, unlocked or never lock iPhone to use on t-mobile, how do i activate?

Apr 10, 2009
5
0
0
#1
been looking around and seeing different terms, from what i can figure, an unlocked phone is one that has been broken into with software to be used on tmobile, or other carriers, but you cant upgrade the software and must be careful that it doesn't get locked again or it wont work.

a factory unlocked or never locked phone is from Apple sold in other countries and if brought to US, you just put in the sim card and it works, and can be upgraded and everything and wont ever lock.

am i correct in this?

if i get a factory unlocked phone, do i have to activate or how do i to use it with tmobile, or do i just put in my card and turn it on?
 

Marianne

Zealot
Moderator
Jul 16, 2007
2,326
29
48
Massachusetts
marianneschultz.com
#2
Yes, you're more or less correct. If you buy a software-unlocked iPhone, you will need to be careful about re-locking it by updating the firmware. However, it may eventually be possible to upgrade the firmware if/when the iPhone Dev Team finds a way to jailbreak and unlock the latest firmware version.

I have a factory-unlocked 3G iPhone from New Zealand. When I received it, all I had to do was put my (AT&T) SIM card in it and it worked. I've upgraded the firmware and it has never re-locked (and it never should).

I think getting a factory-unlocked iPhone will cost you more than a software-unlocked model unless you know someone in a country where they're sold unlocked who can just buy you one and send it to you.

You know that you won't get 3G data speeds on an iPhone with T-Mobile, right? T-Mobile's 3G network operates on a different frequency (1700MHz) than just about every other carrier in the world, and you'll need a phone specifically made for T-Mobile to connect to their 3G network. Unless you definitely want GPS, a first-generation iPhone will work just fine for you on T-Mobile, though I'm not sure if those were ever sold factory-unlocked and you'll definitely need to get one second-hand at this point in time.
 
Apr 10, 2009
5
0
0
#3
thank you for those answers, that clears up a lot. so it seems better to just get a 2g phone if the 3g wont work on tmobile anyways, or pay the big deposit and another bill and just get AT&T. I cant cancel tmobile for a while with my contracts and we have a family plan as well.
 

Europa

Moderator
Senior Moderator
Dec 12, 2008
28,365
5,507
113
Utah
#4
Yes, you're more or less correct. If you buy a software-unlocked iPhone, you will need to be careful about re-locking it by updating the firmware. However, it may eventually be possible to upgrade the firmware if/when the iPhone Dev Team finds a way to jailbreak and unlock the latest firmware version.

I have a factory-unlocked 3G iPhone from New Zealand. When I received it, all I had to do was put my (AT&T) SIM card in it and it worked. I've upgraded the firmware and it has never re-locked (and it never should).

I think getting a factory-unlocked iPhone will cost you more than a software-unlocked model unless you know someone in a country where they're sold unlocked who can just buy you one and send it to you.

You know that you won't get 3G data speeds on an iPhone with T-Mobile, right? T-Mobile's 3G network operates on a different frequency (1700MHz) than just about every other carrier in the world, and you'll need a phone specifically made for T-Mobile to connect to their 3G network. Unless you definitely want GPS, a first-generation iPhone will work just fine for you on T-Mobile, though I'm not sure if those were ever sold factory-unlocked and you'll definitely need to get one second-hand at this point in time.
Macgirl, are there any advantages to buying a factory unlocked phone aside from;
1. Best possible resale value
2. You are not locked into a contract and can change carriers at any time.
3. FW updates are very easy and can be done without risk of locking it.
I'm just curious since you are with AT&T anyway.
Thanks
 

Marianne

Zealot
Moderator
Jul 16, 2007
2,326
29
48
Massachusetts
marianneschultz.com
#5
Macgirl, are there any advantages to buying a factory unlocked phone aside from;
1. Best possible resale value
2. You are not locked into a contract and can change carriers at any time.
3. FW updates are very easy and can be done without risk of locking it.
I'm just curious since you are with AT&T anyway.
Thanks
Not more than you already listed. It was important for me because I absolutely must get the latest firmware when it's released and I just don't have the patience to wait for the Dev Team to do their thing. I knew I would be traveling abroad this year and wanted to be absolutely positive I could buy a local prepaid SIM card without any trouble, as well.

The resale value is somewhat important to me - I know I will get the next new iPhone no matter what and I'm pretty sure I'll probably get what I paid for it back when I sell it.
 

tomato1

New Member
Apr 13, 2009
2
0
0
#6
Not more than you already listed. It was important for me because I absolutely must get the latest firmware when it's released and I just don't have the patience to wait for the Dev Team to do their thing. I knew I would be traveling abroad this year and wanted to be absolutely positive I could buy a local prepaid SIM card without any trouble, as well.

The resale value is somewhat important to me - I know I will get the next new iPhone no matter what and I'm pretty sure I'll probably get what I paid for it back when I sell it.
totally agree with you on this
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Europa

Moderator
Senior Moderator
Dec 12, 2008
28,365
5,507
113
Utah
#7
Thanks macgirl,
I didn't really think about that advantage. Now I'm sold on the idea. That way you can have the latest FW updates on an unlocked phone without having to ever to JB and wait for the unlock software (if it's even possible with the FW version).

1. When you travel overseas and get local prepaid SIM cards, do they usually work for data as well?
2. How much did the factory unlocked 3G's cost in July 08? (so I can estimate how much a V3 will run me soon after release)
3. Did you get it on ebay? What proof do they offer that it's not a software unlocked phone from the US?
 

Marianne

Zealot
Moderator
Jul 16, 2007
2,326
29
48
Massachusetts
marianneschultz.com
#8
Thanks macgirl,
I didn't really think about that advantage. Now I'm sold on the idea. That way you can have the latest FW updates on an unlocked phone without having to ever to JB and wait for the unlock software (if it's even possible with the FW version).

1. When you travel overseas and get local prepaid SIM cards, do they usually work for data as well?
2. How much did the factory unlocked 3G's cost in July 08? (so I can estimate how much a V3 will run me soon after release)
3. Did you get it on ebay? What proof do they offer that it's not a software unlocked phone from the US?
1. Yes, I used 2 different pre-paid SIM cards in Spain and data worked with both of them. I had to hunt for the APN setting for one of them (the people at the phone shop where I bought it had no idea what it was), but once I found it online, I had no problems using Google maps, checking email, etc.
2. If you go through official channels, I don't think pricing fluctuated at all during the year as you'd find on eBay. Mine was purchases from a Vodafone store in New Zealand by a co-worker's brother and it cost me a little over $700 last October and it's still the same price though the exchange rate has fluctuated, of course. But this can vary by country - I heard that unlocked models were going for over $1000 in Russia and around $800 in Hong Kong.
3. You could definitely find one on eBay. You should get proof of the part number and where they purchased it and use this chart (see the 4th column) to confirm it's unlocked. The last time I checked prices on Ebay several months ago, they were all going for over $1,000.
 

hyt08

New Member
Apr 21, 2009
1
0
0
#9
hi, i got one question. lets say im currently in the UK,if i get this iPhone 3G factory unlocked from New Zealand. Can i use other carrier's sim card for example (t-mobile,orange or 3) rather than o2 to activate my iPhone via iTunes? Or i still need to use o2 sim card to activate?thanks
 

Marianne

Zealot
Moderator
Jul 16, 2007
2,326
29
48
Massachusetts
marianneschultz.com
#10
hi, i got one question. lets say im currently in the UK,if i get this iPhone 3G factory unlocked from New Zealand. Can i use other carrier's sim card for example (t-mobile,orange or 3) rather than o2 to activate my iPhone via iTunes? Or i still need to use o2 sim card to activate?thanks
You can use any SIM to activate a factory-unlocked phone - I used my AT&T one to activate the one I got from New Zealand.