UK iPhone locking itself to O2?

Discussion in 'iPhone Tips, Help and Troubleshooting' started by callumacrae, Mar 17, 2013.

  1. callumacrae macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2009
    #1
    Heya,

    My mother bought an unlocked iPhone direct from Apple about six months ago, and put a Giffgaff sim in it (pay and go). She's decided that she wants to move to Three, and so she ordered a sim. However, the phone tells her that the phone is locked, and that she cannot put that sim in it. We've spoken to Three who have said that iPhones sometimes lock themselves to the first network that it is used on them, and that we'll need to contact the network it is locked to, but it looks like they're going to try to charge us £15 to unlock it.

    Has this happened before? What can she do about it? We certainly don't think that it is fair that we would have to pay to unlock a phone which was sold to us unlocked. Are the networks even allowed to lock the phone to themselves if the phone wasn't bought through them?

    Thanks,
    Callum
     
  2. MattGarner macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2008
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #2
    I believe it might be common to all SIM free iPhones for some reason. On the carphonewarehouse site it does mention the following:

    "Please note, SIM Free iPhone 5 will lock to the network of the first SIM used"
     
  3. callumacrae, Mar 17, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2013

    callumacrae thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2009
    #3
    That's a carphonewarehouse thing. She bought this iPhone direct from Apple. I've moved networks on my own iPhones without having to unlock, before, so it isn't an iPhone thing.
     
  4. laudern macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2011
    #4
    Did you buy it direct from apple on a O2 plan?
     
  5. Brian Y macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2012
    #5
    If it was bought from Apple SIM free - then it will be unlocked.

    If was bought from Apple on an O2 contract, or as part of an O2 PAYG package, then it will be locked to O2.
     
  6. linds15 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2012
    Location:
    Great White North
    #6
    in canada, a friend has a unlocked phone, bought direct from rogers, when they replaced it at one point, and put the sim into the new one, they said not to turn on network connection for 20 minutes or the phone would be locked to said network.
     
  7. declandio macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2009
    Location:
    London, UK
    #7
    If it was purchased as sim free directly from Apple then I'm sure they'll unlock it again without fuss. Just call them or go to one of their stores. They will know from the model number whether or not it was factory unlocked when purchased. I swap sim's fairly regularly had have never experienced what you've described... weird.
     
  8. Geordie45 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2013
    Location:
    France
    #8
    O2 Pay & Go SIM locks a new unlocked iPhone 5s

    I have just purchased an unlocked, carrier free iPhone 5s from a U.K. Apple Store. My intention was to be able to use the phone with my French SIM when at home in France, and use an O2 Pay & Go SIM during visits to the UK. The Apple Store told me (incorrectly) that I needed a SIM card to set the phone up, so I gave them my O2 Pay & Go SIM to get started. Now, back in France, my French SIM is refused. Orange France have confirmed that their SIM should work, and consequently the iPhone must be carrier locked. A call to Apple Care confirmed that my phone was indeed sold as unlocked, but that they now see the phone is locked to O2! They told me to contact O2, which I did. O2 confirmed that they have locked the phone to their network and that I must pay £15 to have it unlocked. How can a service provider have the right to lock my private property when I neither bought the phone through them, nor have a contract with them. This, I'm afraid, disproves the general understanding that an unlocked iPhone will remain unlocked whatever carrier you use. I will be contacting the UK Office of Fair Trading about what I consider to be O2's abuse.
     
  9. gCloud macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2012
    Location:
    United Federation of Planets
    #9
    This is very strange.

    By the way you do need a sim card in the phone to activated it.
     
  10. janitor1999 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2008
    #10
    Very strange, have always bought sim free iPhones from apple, upto and including my iPhone 5, have had 3, giffgaff and O2 SIM cards in them, never had one lock to a network, the original iPhone was but that was a O2 exclusive in the uk, and at that time unlocking was free.
     
  11. Geordie45 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2013
    Location:
    France
    #11
    My situation gets worse. I have been in contact with both Apple and O2 again. Apple reconfirms that the iPhone should not have been locked by O2. When I contacted O2 customer service for the second time and got the 'run-around', I requested to speak to a supervisor. He claimed that they do not lock the phones, and that iPhones automatically lock themselves to the carrier of the first SIM card inserted in the phone. He tried to put the blame on Apple and said Apple would have to make a request to O2 to unlock the phone. Then he dropped the final bombshell. He stated that "Anyway, at this point in time, O2 is unable to unlock any iPhone 5s or 5c". He claimed that the phones are too recent and they do not have the unlatching codes from the manufacturer. He said the phone will not be un-lockable for 5 or 6 months!
    Basically, O2 have hi-jacked my new unlocked iPhone, locked it, and are unable to unlock it.
     
  12. janitor1999 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2008
    #12
    Isn't it time to make a law that all locked phones are unlocked, automatically and free of charge when the minimum term expires, so if you get a subsidised phone for signing up for two years, at the end of the two year term the phone becomes unlocked, O2 once told a friend that apple had to unlock the phone, which is why it used to take 15 days, will apple not exchange it for an unlocked one or unlock it, they must have the codes, and may be contact ofcom see if they have any advice.
     
  13. Geordie45 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2013
    Location:
    France
    #13
    I quite agree! The carrier has a contract with the client for a specified period, and when that contract comes to term, they have no further rights to restrict usage of the phone. There is definitely a consumer issue here that needs regulating.
    Apple have stated repeatedly to me that they do not lock or unlock iPhones and it is the carrier alone who locks and eventually unlocks the phone via the Apple activation server. Apple can not intervene. If the carrier blames Apple for unlocking delays, then they are presumably just putting up smoke screens.
    The Apple Store has been very correct and has just tacitly suggested they could exchange the phone for a new one, if the problem persists with O2. However, I can not take it back to where I bought it at the moment, because I am out of the U.K. Apple is hopefully going to approach O2 to try and resolve what is going on. I think this would be wise; if it happened to me, then it can happen to other Apple customers.
     

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