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What do "sim free" and "unlocked" mean?


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Old 21-10-2010, 11:09
John259
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Mobile phones and their contract options etc are a largely mystery to me, so could someone please explain in simple terms what "sim free" and "unlocked" mean, especially in the sense that Play.com use those words? Apologies for what is doubtless an elementary question.

John
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Old 21-10-2010, 11:31
Thine Wonk
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Mobile phones and their contract options etc are a largely mystery to me, so could someone please explain in simple terms what "sim free" and "unlocked" mean, especially in the sense that Play.com use those words? Apologies for what is doubtless an elementary question.

John
sim free = no sim with it, you buy the phone and sort your own network arrangements out, whether that be contract or PAYG

unlocked = not sim locked to any particular network
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Old 21-10-2010, 11:39
clonmult
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sim free = no sim with it, you buy the phone and sort your own network arrangements out, whether that be contract or PAYG

unlocked = not sim locked to any particular network
With the added possibilities of ...

SIM free - no operator customisations, as it comes from the factory. ie. no orange/voda/o2/t-mobile rubbish on there.

Unlocked - probably originally locked to a network, but has had an unlock code applied. May still have some of the network specific applications installed.
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Old 21-10-2010, 11:44
wod1
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you can just put in any sim card and away you go, no restrictions to any network provider.
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Old 21-10-2010, 12:16
John259
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Thanks everyone.
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Old 21-10-2010, 12:31
lalaland
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There's another one to be aware of, Unbranded.

Unbranded means it runs the original firmware that the manufacturers intended it to run. This was created for this handset, developed along side it and there's a lot of testing gone in to it (unless it's a Nokia, in which case they've just chucked it on and released it ). The benefits to unbranded are that you have all the original features intended for use on that handset, no restrictions to the software, and you can use updates as soon as the manufacturer makes them available.

Branded means it's been vandalised by the network provider and is the evil twin brother of unbranded. This means the network provider has created their own version of the firmware on the phone which will have it's own branding on, sometimes have features that the network doesn't like removed and normally means you wait a lot longer for updates to your phone. It can also mean that because the network has to 'OK' an upgrade that if they loose interest in your handset because they want to sell another big brand you may not ever get any more updates to the firmware.

Branded = Bad
Unbranded = Good

Sadly handsets from network's own stores and their websites tend to be branded. People like CPW, Expansys and Mobilephonesdirect tend to sell unbranded handsets, even with a contract.

Sim free phones tend to be unbranded, but it's always worth making sure first.
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Old 21-10-2010, 12:54
clonmult
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Sadly handsets from network's own stores and their websites tend to be branded. People like CPW, Expansys and Mobilephonesdirect tend to sell unbranded handsets, even with a contract.

Sim free phones tend to be unbranded, but it's always worth making sure first.
Very true - CPW are mainly unbranded (at least the ones I've bought from them have been!), but there is always a chance of them having some branded kit in stock - they shouldn't have any problems with you asking.
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