UK iPhone 5 "unwanted upgrade"s genuinely unlocked?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by JulianL, Sep 29, 2013.

  1. JulianL macrumors 65816

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    #1
    I'm considering picking up a nearly new iPhone 5 to tide me over until the 6 comes out next year, or maybe even the 6s. A lot of the units for sale are advertised as "unwanted upgrade" and say they are unlocked.

    When a network sends out an upgrade handset is it always genuinely unlocked or do some networks send out locked handsets, e.g. a cellophane sealed iPhone 5 handset sent out by O2 (as a random example) might have the handset locked to the O2 network? Or maybe the handset is unlocked but will lock to the first sim so if the seller opened the cellophane and tried out the handset briefly then it will be locked to O2 or whatever network was tried?

    If there are any issues with locked handset upgrades then does it vary from network to network and is it resolvable? If I buy on ebay then buyer protection is the ultimate solution I suppose, if the original ad clearly claimed that the phone was unlocked, but it would be a pain.

    Sometimes the seller's pictures show a readable IMEI number either on the back of the box or the back of the handset and I've already found one item for sale claiming to be unlocked where an IMEI search shows it as locked.
     
  2. steve-p macrumors 68000

    steve-p

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    #2
    I would have thought that O2 for example would always send out phones locked to their own network.
     
  3. Mercenary macrumors 6502a

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    Sep 17, 2012
    #3
    If it's from a network it's going to be locked.

    I'm about to sell my unlocked (bought from apple) 32gb black 5. Perfect screen. Box and everything.
     
  4. JulianL thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #4
    That's what I thought as well. I was always a bit suspicious of the "unwanted upgrade" ads claiming to be unlocked. By definition someone is on a contract if they're getting an upgrade handset. Also sellers sometimes include photos of the back of the box or the unit that are good enough to read the IMEI number; I've already used iphoneimei.info to catch one that was showing locked when the listing was claiming that it was unlocked.

    The genuinely interesting ones seem to be a few people who have managed to get a genius bar refurb very recently before switching to a 5S and are selling the refurb complete with 90 day Apple warranty still running. I've managed to verify a couple of those via IMEI lookup. Also insurance replacements seem OK since I've managed to use IMEI lookup to verify at least one of those as unlocked and still under warranty.
     
  5. Mercenary macrumors 6502a

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    #5
    They sell them as unlocked as you buy it and when you complain they tell you how to unlock it.

    The unwanted upgrades are normally someone whos taken out an upgrade and sell the phone to make some money. Not sure they realise they are locking themselves into another 2 year contract.

    The one im selling has no warranty. Expired on the 20th.
     
  6. bandofbrothers macrumors 601

    bandofbrothers

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    Uk
    #6
    Have you considered looking at outlets such as CEX.

    Lots of unwanted upgrades when I looked in my local one yesterday.
     
  7. JulianL thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #7
    Mercenary - Thanks for the info. Right now I'm trying to get one with some sort of warranty still left but I might change strategy in a week or so if I'm still in the market.

    bandofbrothers - A very interesting idea. Thanks. From a quick look at the website they're probably about the same price or maybe £10 or £20 more than a "Buy It Now" ebay listing for a nearly new unit but with the advantage of a 12 month CEX warranty, the ability to walk in with the Three PAYG nano sim that I intend to use to check it registers, and also I could sell my old iPhone 4 to them for vouchers which would boost the subsidy I get for that. I've already decided that I'm too lazy to try selling my old iPhone 4 directly on ebay so my strategy for that was to take the best credible offer I could find via sellmymobile.com (£133 at the moment vs £183 from CEX if they class it as B grade although I can't see why they wouldn't grade it as A).

    My old iPhone 4 still works really well and if I'm honest it's mostly boredom making me want to upgrade, that plus the fact that the 5 is so much lighter in the pocket than the 4. I plan to get a 6 if the rumours of a bigger screen turn out to be true and Apple manage to do that with a minimal increase in overall size and weight so I'm finding it hard to justify getting a 5s, especially when I also feel that they ruined the look of the black unit in switching from Slate to Space Grey. I'm pretty happy with my iPhone 4 -> 5 -> 6 plan if I can find a 5 at a price that is a worthwhile discount to the newer 5s.
     
  8. bandofbrothers macrumors 601

    bandofbrothers

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    Uk
    #8


    You're very welcome.

    Ive used them on more than a few occasions.

    I once asked that if i purchased a phone and then in a few weeks down the line what would happen if the phone was imei locked.

    Reply ;

    Come back and we'll give you another and chase the member that sold it.
     
  9. shah1 macrumors member

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    Oct 30, 2010
    #9
    It well may be locked when originally purchased from the service provider but many offer the option of having it unlocked. O2 I believe do it for free after the first 6 months of the contract, have previously done this for the last two iPhones I owned and t-mobile charge around £20 to unlock the phone, which is what I have done for my current iphone 5.

    Still deciding on whether I should sell and purchase the 5s or just keep the 5. I've had every iPhone since the 3GS.
     
  10. Mercenary macrumors 6502a

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    Sep 17, 2012
    #10
    The problem is that many sell them as unlocked which are worth more only for you to find out you have to go through the hassle of getting them unlocked. Worse yet finding out you cant unlock unless you were the original owner or something daft.

    Three have a nice and easy unlock process. No 6 month wait. So get a three locked one for less and get it unlocked.
     
  11. JulianL thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #11
    Ironically Three is the network that I plan to use. I'm a really light user of the actual phone function; I started out with a Palm V over a decade ago so for me modern smartphones are really PDAs with an emergency phone function built in. Because of this I like to buy the handset outright and then spend almost nothing on topups. The Three "3 2 1" PAYG pricing looks really attractive for my usage patterns when my 12 months of free internet on my latest T-Mobile deal runs out.

    Then again, I haven't tried Three yet so it's good to know that if got a Three lock and found that the signal was rubbish where I live, despite what the coverage checker says, I wouldn't be stuck. I'll definitely start looking at Three locked phones as well, now I know that there's an emergency exit available. Many thanks.

    - Julian
     
  12. MH01 macrumors G4

    MH01

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2008
    #12
    As others have said, the carrier ones will be locked down.

    Though not sure about the ones that come from resellers such car Car phone warehouse etc.
     
  13. Mercenary macrumors 6502a

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    #13
    I've tried them all, very happy with three.

    I dont care what the signal is like where I live, I have Wifi. It's the rest of the country that bothers me ;)
     
  14. JulianL thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #14
    In case anyone else stumbles across this thread in the future I did pop into my local Three shop yesterday to ask them about the unlock procedures. They confirmed that their current policy is a 30 day wait and then after that they'll do an official unlock for £15 so definitely not really a barrier if the price on a Three-locked phone is right.

    As it turns out I won a bid for an unlocked handset last night, one of the ones where the IMEI was visible in the photo and I was able to verify using an online checker, and it also has Apple support active and running until 18th September next year so it seems a pretty safe purchase. I'll go and get a PAYG nano sim from Three once it arrives and then I'll be all set until the 6 is released next year.

    Thanks again to everyone for all the great advice given here.

    - Julian
     
  15. d123 macrumors 68000

    d123

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    Earth
    #15
    Anything other than buying simfree from an Apple Store will be locked (even a brand new one from CPW will be locked, you just get to choose which UK network to lock it to).
     

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