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Getting an unlock code
bengle21
Member

Are there any tactics I can use to coerce an unlock code out of Verizon for my android phone? The phone is nearly four years old, and the contract on it expired nearly two years ago, so there's no agreement or early termination to worry about. The phone has a standard SIM slot, and according to its settings panel, it supports a myriad of wireless modes, including CDMA and GSM. When I put in an AT&T SIM card and switch the phone to GSM, it prompts "Enter SIM unlock PIN." I tried "000000" and "123456" as listed at Device Unlocking Policy | Verizon Wireless, but neither worked.

I went to two different Verizon retailers, but neither had any staff who had any clue what the term "unlocking" referred to. One of them gave me the support number where I ended up with "Advanced Technical Support." I had to explain to the representative that typically the customer gives the carrier the phone's IMEI, and the carrier can give back an unlock code which allows the phone to be used with another carrier's SIM. The woman told me that Verizon does not unlock phones, except for global usage, but that she would be happy to send me a Verizon SIM card, which I didn't want.

Ordinarily I would be satisfied with her answer, but I stumbled across this statement from the CTIA: http://www.ctia.org/policy-initiatives/voluntary-guidelines/consumer-code-for-wireless-service. I understand that this is a set of voluntary guidelines, however section 12.2 requires participating carriers to provide customers with the information necessary to unlock their phones. Furthermore, Verizon Wireless is listed as a participant along with seven other carriers.

So, what gives? Does this "Consumer Code for Wireless Service" mean anything at all? Am I better of trashing the phone and buying an unlocked one? What experiences have you had with getting an unlock code from a carrier?

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Re: Getting an unlock code
LRVassar
Sr. Member

I hope you get a resolution to this, because once again, Verizon is strong-holding against the FCC.

Wireless carriers, FCC agree on 'unlocking' cellphones| Reuters

You can also file a complaint with the FCC.

Re: Getting an unlock code
bengle21
Member

Thanks for the reply, LRVassar. I filed a complaint with the FCC and got a reference number, so I'll wait to see if it goes anywhere and report back. I'm hoping this will work, but I'm still open to suggestions.

Re: Getting an unlock code
bengle21
Member

Success! I called support again this morning and this time the rep directed me to Verizon Wireless Global Services, which appears to be another department entirely. The Global Services rep gave me the usual "why do you need an unlock code?" "why do you want to change carriers?" "we have some really good deals right now" routine, but after I told her I had filed a complaint with the FCC, she proceeded to assist me with unlocking my phone.

I had a little trouble getting the phone to accept the code. It said it was unsuccessful three or four times, but after that it was no longer asking for an unlock code when switching the phone into GSM mode with a SIM from another carrier. She verified the IMEI and MEID with me, and the About Phone > Status menu showed the phone number on the SIM card instead of my real phone number, so I believe it to be unlocked at this point, even though I never saw any "Unlock successful" message.

The bad news is, the phone still won't work on domestic networks. It turns out, the mechanism that locks a phone into a given carrier (or out of certain other carriers) exists inside the phone's radio firmware. It looks like I'll need to flash the radio firmware on my phone with one that is unlocked (others have reported success doing this), but that's non-trivial, and a project for another day. Keep in mind that flashing the radio firmware still won't help you until you've unlocked your phone with the unlock code.

My advice to anyone running into this problem:

1. Ask for an unlock code. If you're reading this, they've probably already denied you one.

2. File a complaint with the FCC. You could easily lie about this step, but personally I think the FCC should know how carriers are behaving. The form on fcc.org took me less than five minutes.

3. Call Global Services (their phone number is (800) 711-8300 -- different from VZW customer support). If they still won't give you an unlock code, tell them you've filed a complaint and you have a reference number.

4. Put the unlock code in when they tell it to you, so you can verify that it works before you hang up (if you have access to another phone, that is). Write it down too, in case you need it in the future.

5. If you want to use a domestic carrier, you'll most likely need to flash your device's radio firmware. This process is complicated and different for every device. Google is your friend.

Re: Getting an unlock code
Ann154
Expert
Expert

With the exception of the recently released phones, all of the Verizon Wireless branded global ready phones have been country locked even after they have been SIM unlocked for global use. This isn't an FCC violation.

Which phone model was this anyway?

I'm most definitely NOT a VZW employee. If a post answered your question, please mark it as the answer.

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Re: Getting an unlock code
Telemike
Member

[Congressional Bills 113th Congress]

[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]

[S. 517 Enrolled Bill (ENR)]

        S.517

                     One Hundred Thirteenth Congress

                                 of the

                        United States of America

                          AT THE SECOND SESSION

           Begun and held at the City of Washington on Friday,

           the third day of January, two thousand and fourteen

                                 An Act

   To promote consumer choice and wireless competition by permitting

  consumers to unlock mobile wireless devices, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the

United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Unlocking Consumer Choice and

Wireless Competition Act''.

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Re: Getting an unlock code
rsinob
Member

you can unlock country code on phone , you can pretty much do whatever with android , if you know how.

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Re: Getting an unlock code
Decker88
Member

Can u explain to me how to do this

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Re: Getting an unlock code
AiOS_1995
Member

Yes, Actually there is a way to get it unlocked. It’s would be what’s called a Network Carrier Unlock: According to my knowledge depending on the android smartphone you would need to call the device manufacturer, like Samsung for example, they have a system that generates a sims unlock code by the devices IMEI number. For a added layer of security Samsung erases the original unlock code from its device’s making it harder to guess or for any random person to carrier unlock there phone. Also even tho a device says it’s CDMA & GSM it’s still may not receive some functionalities as it would with its normal carrier. 

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Re: Getting an unlock code
KH-Michael
Moderator
Moderator

Due to the age of this thread, it will be locked in order to keep discussions current. If you have the same or a similar question/issue we invite you to start a new thread on the topic.