SIM lock (also known as simlock, network lock or subsidy lock) is a common feature of all GSM phones, like iPhones for example. SIM lock is built into GSM by cell phone manufacturers (like Apple) and Carriers use it in order to prevent their customers from using the phone to other countries or mobile networks.
This is how SIM lock works
Most of the times, when you buy an iPhone is SIM locked. This means that the phone accepts only one SIM card as indicated by International Mobile Subscriber Identities (IMSIs).
In simple words a SIM locked GSM phone can only use:
- A SIM card that was issued to a specific country (MCC: Mobile country code)
- A specific Carrier (MNC: Mobile network code)
- One SIM card (MSIN: Mobile subscriber identification number)
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Frequently Asked Questions
What is the real reason behind SIM lock?
SIM locking stops you from using a new or different SIM Card and this is extremely important for the prepaid contract offers that Mobile Networks do.
Usually, a Carrier offers a phone at a discount as long as the customer signs a contract to use only this Mobile Network for a specific period of time (mostly 1 to 3 years). SIMlock ensures the Carrier that the customer won’t be able to:
- Break the contract
- Stop paying the monthly fees
- Find a cheaper plan and use another Mobile Network
- Use the iPhone to another country
- Sell the iPhone
How can someone remove the SIM lock?
On the other hand phones without the simlock feature are called SIM free or unlocked. These phones do not subject to any SIM restrictions. You can remove the SIM lock from a phone by:
- Asking the Carrier, after a certain amount of time (it depends on the contract you signed and you will need a lot of paperwork in most cases)
- Using third party SIM lock Removal Services ( Unlocking a phone is legal in most parts of the world)
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