I never like the idea of provider-locked phone. It makes no sense, and an obvious anti-consumer business practice. I mean think about it, would you buy a laptop that is locked into a specific ISP? No. So why would you buy a phone that is locked into a single carrier?
My first provider-locked phone is the iPhone 3GS. I bought it on impulse, after Apple announced the 3rd gen iPod Touch wouldn’t have a camera on it. Trying to buy an unlocked phone in the US via official channels (ie. not imported) with full warranty and support is extremely difficult. No unlocked iPhones in the US. As for Android, only the Nexus One and GSM Nexus S are sold unlocked. All the rest are provider locked.
Now, if you’re with T-Mobile, they do have a fairly decent unlocking policy. If you pay for the phone full-price, or if you’ve been in good standing with them for x amount of months, you can simply call and get the unlock code for your phone. T-Mobile doesn’t advertise this for obvious reason, but the policy is there. AT&T, which I’m with, on the other hand, is a different story. They have a bogus unlocking policy. Buying the handset at full price doesn’t mean you can get it unlocked. Per AT&T’s policy, they won’t unlock handsets which they are the exclusive seller. Well, guess what, all of the phones that AT&T carry are custom-made for them. So this is akin to AT&T saying they can refuse any request for unlocking any of the phones they sell. What a bunch of bull.
I recently bought the Samsung Infuse since I’m getting frustrated with my Nexus One with its severely limited internal storage memory. You can read my impression on the Samsung Infuse on my previous post, and to be honest, I kinda like it. The large 4.5″ screen is actually very nice to have, and I can’t help feeling cramped everytime I try to go back using my iPhone/Nexus One. Problem is, obviously it’s AT&T locked. Thus my quest to unlock my Infuse.
AT&T wouldn’t unlock the Infuse, per their policy I mentioned above. Of course, I can wait to see if AT&T will change their mind, but they usually do that after the phone is already on the market for a long time, and that’s not a guarantee either. So getting an official unlock from AT&T is a no go.
There are people selling unlock codes on forums and ebay. Obviously, there’s no way to guarantee anything, plus you have to spend money to use a device that you already own? No way.
Well, XDA to the rescue. Found this post on their forum:
Yup, somebody crafted up a simple program to root and unlock the Samsung Infuse. The program will even give you the unlock code! How convenient. 😀
Even better, the guy put up the simple instruction on the thread. Everything needed is on the zip file. All you need to do in addition is to download Samsung’s PC software called KIES if you’re on Windows (I use a Windows 7 machine). Trying to find the software on US Samsung site is not that easy as Samsung only listed the software as available on certain devices. Easier to just google it and download it from Samsung’s international site.
With Samsung Kies installed, all you have to do is download the zip file from XDA, un-zip it, and run the batch file (one for root+unlock, the other is just for unlocking). I opted to just do the unlock. Simply follow the easy steps (turning on USB debugging mode on the phone, connect it via USB, and run the batch file). At first, the batch commands seemed stuck at waiting for a service to be restarted or something, but I just left the program alone, and not too long after that, it showed me the unlock code! All I needed to do next was simply turning off the phone, insert a SIM from another provider, and turn the Infuse back on. It will ask for the unlock code. I punched in the code that was given by the program, and voila, my Samsung Infuse is unlocked! LOL. That’s it. So easy, and free! Screw you AT&T!
I wish unlocking iPhones is this easy, without the need to jailbreak.