/ Technology

Mobile unlocking – is your network holding you hostage?

A mobile phone being unlocked with a key

You’ve come to the end of your contract and want to move to a new deal on a different network. All you need to do is give your provider a call to request your PAC code and you’re ready to go, or is it not so simple?

When you complete your mobile phone contract and want to change provider, you have to ask for your porting authorisation code (otherwise known as a PAC code) to take your existing phone number with you.

If you want to use the same handset, you may have to make an explicit request and pay for an unlocking code, as many handsets are locked to the original network.

The unlocking process

The cost of unlocking your phone can be between £15 and £20, but on some networks where you’ve had your handset for a while it may be free. Some Which? members have been in touch to complain about these unexpected charges and feel they are a deliberate barrier put in place by the networks to put people off leaving.

The information provided online by the providers on handset unlocking is patchy at best. From the comments we have received it seems that although providers will speedily provide you with a PAC code, they are unlikely to offer the unlocking service unless you specifically ask for it. This not only seems a little unhelpful, but also makes the switching process take longer.

We have also received complaints about how long it takes to get a handset unlocked once you have managed to make the request. One customer reports waiting almost three months for an unlock code from Orange, and others have been left tied to their old provider for up to two months following their initial request. Is this essentially a hostage situation?

What does Ofcom have to say?

Ofcom takes a firm stance on the provision of PAC codes, stating that they should be provided immediately over the phone or within a maximum of two hours by text. However, when it comes to mobile unlocking there are currently no specifications surrounding the process or the fees providers can charge – although Ofcom has said this is an issue it’s currently considering.

Are you happy to trade off having access to any network on your phone if it means that you can walk out of the store with a flashy handset? Perhaps you would rather pay more to have more flexibility?

What have been your experiences when moving between providers and what do you think needs to change when it comes to mobile unlocking?

Comments

I would like to see a complete end to SIM-locking because it:
– Inhibits competition as it makes it more difficult to switch networks.
– Prevents consumers from using local SIM cards abroad, allowing UK networks to impose unreasonably high roaming charges by excluding foreign competition.

SIM-locking is encouraged because the up-front cost of mobile phones is often subsidised by inflated monthly service charges. I would similarly like to see an end to this subsidy system because it:
– Encourages consumers to acquire handsets they cannot truly afford through an unhealthy “buy now pay later” consumer debt culture.
– Distorts competition by disguising the true price of the handset and of the service, as opposed to a SIM-free handset and SIM-only service.
– Encourages wasteful acquisition of new handsets because consumers mistakenly believe they are receiving the handset for free or for very little.
– Necessitates long contract durations in order to spread the cost of the handset, which inhibits competition by preventing consumers from switching networks.
– Causes consumers to continue paying the inflated monthly charge even after they have paid off the subsidy of the handset, unless they remember to take action at the end of the minimum contract period.

For these reasons, Ofcom should encourage unsubsidised SIM-free handsets and competitive SIM-only contracts to become the norm, as is the case in many other countries. At the very least, networks should be forced to unbundle the monthly handset subsidy repayment and the monthly charge for service (as O2 is beginning to do), itemising the two separately with independent contract durations. The monthly handset subsidy repayment should not be allowed to continue after the cost of the handset has been paid off.

I paid £599 for a SIM-free iPhone 5 and pay £9/month for my SIM-only mobile service. I can switch SIM cards whenever I want, often just for a few days while going abroad, and if I ever get fed up with Orange UK, I can immediately switch to another UK network. This should be the norm, not the exception.

I absolutely agree with these points, NFH. If we move to SIM-only contracts then there will be no more price rises during two year contracts. What concerns me most is the number of perfectly good phones that become redundant when they reach the end of their contract. What a waste.

There are cheap online services to unlock phones.

Good point about the cheap online services to unlock phones. A lot of people mistakenly believe it is illegal to do this unofficially, i.e. not through the network. It is only illegal to unblock a phone that has been blocked as lost or stolen; this is nothing to do with SIM-locking.

One problem is iPhones because they can be unlocked only by Apple changing a setting on their servers. When an iPhone connects to Apple’s servers, it receives the instruction to unlock itself for all SIM cards. Apple will accept instructions to remove a SIM-lock only from the original network that imposed the lock. Therefore there is no reliable unofficial way to unlock iPhones. Unofficial methods often last only until the next iOS (operating system) update when the original lock will be reinstated by Apple’s servers.

Thanks. Apple received a lot of criticism over this and I thought that they had stopped locking their phones in this way.

Apple continues to lock network-supplied iPhones upon the request of the networks. Buying directly from Apple is the only way to guarantee an unlocked iPhone. If you buy an iPhone from the Carphone Warehouse, it is not SIM-locked until you put a SIM card in it; then it becomes SIM-locked to the network of that first SIM card.

I thought it was possible to get an unlocked iPhone, but this is daft. I hope Carphone Warehouse explains that the iPhones they sell are tied in this way. No-one is going to want to use an iPhone without upgrading it every time Apple releases an update.

The majority of iPhones supplied by the Carphone Warehouse are sold in conjunction with a service contract, so the result is the same as buying directly from a network. This process avoids the need for the Carphone Warehouse to maintain separate stock for each network. However, the minority of iPhones supplied SIM-free by the Carphone Warehouse are also from the same stock, so even SIM-free iPhones suffer the same SIM-locking, which is definitely not justified.

@wavechange In answer to your question “I hope Carphone Warehouse explains that the iPhones they sell are tied in this way” – It seems they do so. So at least they’re honest enough to point this out. If the first SIM card you put in is not an official Apple-supported network, it must be impossible to unlock it because the network will have no relationship with Apple to request an unlocking. Examples are MVNOs such as Giffgaff or Lycamobile.

I too paid upfront and bought my iPhone direct from Apple. I use the GiffGaff network. I did this largely because it works out cheaper than a contract/PAYG with a subsidised handset.

No problems whatsoever with the PAC.

GiffGaff uses the O2 network. Interestingly, when I first used the card the phone set itself up for O2 and I had to manually overwrite the O2 settings with the GiffGaff settings. Does this mean my phone is now locked to O2? I’ll have to borrow a SIM to check.

I’m going to be more than a tad unhappy if my ‘unsubsidised, full-price, unlocked, direct-from-the-manufacturer’ phone has ended up locked!

No, your iPhone should remain unlocked. You can get a free SIM card from another network to test this.

Giffgaff is indeed a very good deal; it combines the best of prepaid and pay-monthly. My only problem with them is that although they maintain full usage logs (which their staff can access), they hide this from customers. Therefore none of your usage is itemised, which would be a showstopper for me.

Thanks for your reassurance, NFH. Very welcome!

On the whole I’ve been pleased with GiffGaff but I have found it a little unreliable in terms of network service and very unreliable in terms of buying airtime. Plus, GiffGaff as a whole seems a bit amateurish; it works but does not fill me with confidence.

Thanks very much for the information, NFH. I am not in the market for an iPhone but a friend is looking to replace an earlier iPhone, which is probably two years beyond the end of the contract period.

Interesting to hear about Giffgaff’s reliability. They don’t have as much infrastructure as their parent O2, so they have multiple potential points of failure with fewer backups. I always recommend Giffgaff to people with smartphones who are visiting the UK. Their 20p/day charge for 20MB/day is very useful for someone who spends a day or two each time they come to the UK. Like other prepaid services in the UK, the credit remains as long as you use it every six months; even a roaming SMS will do the trick.

Sheogorath says:
1 June 2015

Personally, I believe that it’s acceptable to SIM-lock phones provided on contract until the subsidy has been paid off, then the PAC number should be given for free to the customer if they request it. PAYG phones shouldn’t be network locked at all since the phone is paid for up front.

C Tuckwood says:
15 March 2016

My iphone 4s has been locked to Tesco mobile even though it was privately owned!

In the UK, Tesco Mobile uses the O2 network.

I thought that the old phone I keep in the car for emergency had become locked to a network when it would not accept a couple of SIMs. The helpful assistant in Tesco thought that it might be because we were trying nano-SIMs with adaptors. With a full-size SIM there was no problem.

I’ve just left T-Mobile after having been with them on PAYG for several years, and shortly on a contract (you can read more about _that_ story and why I decided to leave on my blog*).

Firstly, there’s nothing anywhere on their website about how you can get your PAC. I had, however, read somewhere else on the internet that I needed to call them. But having had bad experiences* with their phone support, I looked through the site rather thoroughly. It contains information and help on transferring your number _to_ T-Mobile, but not the other way. (To compare, Giffgaff, who I have now joined, list both next to each other in their FAQ).

When I gave up and called them, I found it very hard to figure out where in their complicated key-press support system to go to get my PAC. And when I finally found it I got a message that if I continued I would be charged 25p per call. At first I couldn’t believe this, as PACs are supposed to be free! I actually hung up the first time, but later realised that there was no other way than paying up, or going to a shop, which was more trouble than 25p worth.

When I got through, one person asked me some security questions and then put me on hold while he would try to put me through to someone on the PAC team (why I didn’t speak to one of them immediately, I do not know). He made sure to tell me to stay on the line (otherwise, I guess they would charge me another 25p), as it might take a while. He came back a few minutes later and said he would now put me through (which meant going on hold again, for almost as long as the first time).

When I finally got to talk to the PAC team man, he was quite efficient, asked me which network I was going to (only afterwards I wondered why they needed to know) and said I would receive a text with the PAC. The text was already there when I hung up, and I thought all was good…

However, it turned out the PAC was incorrect. This wasn’t obvious, of course, but when I got my Giffgaff SIM and tried using it, I just got error messages several times. I read somewhere on the internet that you had to wait up to 24 hours after you activate the SIM before you can do the transfer, so I thought I would give it another day or two.

Then I received a letter from T-Mobile, which _also_ contained my PAC code. This was when I realised that the PAC I got in the text was wrong (a 0 had turned into an 8). How could this have happened? Was it handtyped? Deliberate, to make it harder to change? I’m not sure, but I wasn’t too impressed.

My transfer is ongoing as I write, so soon I should have my old number with me on my new giffgaff contract.

* Blog about T-Mobile my experiences: http://shotgundentist.com/blog/rage-quitting-my-experience-with-ee-and-t-mobile-part-1/

xopher says:
11 May 2013

I asked for a PAC from T-Mobile three years ago. I was given it straight away over the phone. They even offered me £7 of free calls to stay! which I declined.

Firstly why did you have to pay to call T Mobile when its free to customers using 150 ?

Secondly you can confuse automated systems by pressing random numbers instead of the number it’s telling you to press. Press the random. Numbers within the same call 3-4 times and the computer throws a hissy fit and it will put you through to a human. Jobs a goodun, no more high call costs for sitting there listening to ravaldi opera music and computer generated voices

Well, that’s the cheeky bit. The 150 number is free to call, but when you get to the PAC section of the automated system, it tells you that to talk to a person on the PAC team, you will be charged 25p per call. So, it’s a hidden cost that they don’t mention anywhere, until you need to make the call, in which case you’re leaving anyway, so why would they care what you think? 😛

I’ll keep the confusion tactics in mind, if I ever end up in a similar situation 🙂 That’s a brilliant strategy!

T-Mobile have now charged me £8.33 as “Administrative charge”. Not sure if that’s for cancelling my 1 month contract (which I had to wait a month for them to do). Listed next to a free “Early Termination Penalty” in my bill, which is ironic, because terminating it early was exactly what they couldn’t do… Think I have to go to their shop and shout at them… this time I might insist that they deal with me, rather than just give me a phone to support, which I think is really unacceptable “service”.

Sheogorath says:
2 August 2014

svendhhh said: “So, it’s a hidden cost that they don’t mention anywhere, until you need to make the call, in which case you’re leaving anyway, so why would they care what you think?”
I guess that’s the only time you’ve ever had to speak to a human on 150 or you might be aware of the fact that all callers are charged 25p every time they need to speak to a customer service rep.

ARL says:
9 May 2013

I was trying to find out the most cost effective way of getting my wife’s phone unlocked as we were both near the end of a two year contract with o2. She just wanted to continue using the same Sony Ericsson handset and I wanted a new smart phone.
I took out two 12 month SIM only contracts with Tesco Mobile. As they operate on the o2 network, the new Tesco SIM card worked straight away in her phone.
I bought a new Sony Ericsson Arc S from Amazon (a lot cheaper, as it was last years range of phones but up to date in every other way). It was not locked to any network. It cost under £240.
The Tesco SIM card went into it and both of our numbers were transferred easily.
o2 gave us our codes (PAC) and the transfer of both numbers was without any problems.
Both SIM only contracts total £15 per month and with the family perks, for having more than one contract with Tesco it works out very well on the pocket.

[Moderator: this comment was deleted at the request of the poster]

Janty,

I’m not an expert on this but if Virgin unlocked your phone I should think it will still be unlocked. There is no reason at all why Orange should have locked it; whoever you spoke to at Orange might well have been confused. In your place I’d simply get hold of another SIM and try it.

On a more general note, in my experience the online unlockers cannot unlock the more recent models of phone. I’ve tracked down one or two free ones in the past but their codes and instructions don’t work. So be wary, hopefully someone on this conversation can recommend a reliable unlocker.

I have had phones unlocked by market stall traders, though I confess to being worried handing my expensive mobile to a man who looked like a tramp (complete with ciggy hanging from the corner of his mouth) who then disappeared out of sight for several minutes!

Goodbye TMo says:
10 May 2013

I’ve been with TMobile for over 10 years and have the whole family (5) on it. Their prices have become less attractive so I started to move our numbers to better value providers – looked at Virgin, opted for giffgaff, no way would touch talktalk. First number went OK to giffgaff, then requested in Feb 3 subsidy unlock codes on 3 x old out of contract phones (2HTCs and a SonyMob) so could use them into May 90 days later and still no unlock codes. TNo has a 20 working day service promise apparently. As was trying to also move a number to giffgaff and use one of these out of contract phones this meant I couldn’t use PAC code until they’d told me subsidy unlock.

To summarise – 10 promises of resolution from India and Wales – unfulfilled. Now I’m Welsh and these customer reps clearly don’t care about TMo, or its EE, aka Executive Emoluments, successor.

Avoid and go for a 1month, SIM-only contract with one of the better service providers

Roel says:
15 May 2013

Ofcom should step in and prevent phones from being locked.

EE/Orange have just asked me to pay £20.54 to unlock a PAYG phone. This is effectively a charge to prevent me from switching supplier. If for example BT were to do this, should I want to switch to another land-line supplier, it would not be allowed.

Why shouldn’t Ofcom treat switching mobile phone suppliers in exactly the same way as it does when switching land-lines. I would like Which? to start up a campaign to remove unlocking fees.

Helen says:
30 June 2013

Hi, I have been with Vodafone on a small business tariff for over 5 years and have just upgraded my phone. I am not getting on with the handset I upgraded to and have asked Vodaphone to change it, I am still within my 7 days or so I thought!

Vodaphone, have now become very awkward and despite me asking for my PAC code they are refusing to give it to me saying until the handset has been returned and the contract has been terminated they will not give me the PAC code without, charging me for breaking the contract, which within the 7day cooling off period I am within my rights to do.

I haven’t got long to get the PAC code, what rights do I have and how do I get it before the contract is terminated on Tuesday.

Many thanks for your help.

Helen

Jo says:
22 July 2013

I left Tmobile in February, I was at the end of my contract and wanted to go sim free.
I asked for my unlock code, they said that they have to pay Apple for it which a lie. So I spoke to a supervisor who said I was correct it was just an admin fee of £20.54 but I couldn’t have my phone unlocked because I no longer had an account with them. Even though they hadn’t taken my last bill out.
I have been in touch every month since march and still no joy, even though they have owed me money they still wouldn’t unlock my phone.
My last call I was advised to get it jail broken on the High Street!!
I have asked if I could top a pay as you go card with £21 and they could take it from their and they said I would need an account for 6 months. I have sent recorded letters with no joy. I am at my wits end. With no where else to go for a resolution. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!!

Jo, maybe you could get a friend who is on T-Mobile contract to help unlock it for you. Or if you’re with Vodafone, they will help you unlike O2 which I’m having a problem with at the moment.

Hope that helps.

Rgs
Say

oioi says:
9 December 2013

Tmobile refuse to unlock my iphone 4s since it was not purchased from them directly, it was bought from carphone warehouse, absolutely ridiculous! has anyone had any success with this?

First, a question. Does Which? have contact details for
a) an appropriate contact at Ofcom
b) an appropriate contact at Westminster
to whom enquiries and complaints about the subsidy locking policies and practices of mobile network provider can be directed.

—————————————————————————————-

Now, my take on how subsidy-locking should operate.

– A contract mobile device (e.g. phone/tablet/phablet) should only be locked until the cumulative total of the fixed monthly payments exceeds the market price (at time of purchase) of buying the unlocked device outright. (The MSRP or RRP is NOT the market price – perhaps the market price must be agreed with the customer – or perhaps a Which? price index – at the time of purchase and clearly stated on the contract)

– Once a contract device’s price has been paid off as described above, it will be the responsibility of the network provider to automatically and *permanently* unlock the device (and inform the user) or suffer monthly penalties equal to the customers monthly bill for as long as the relationship continues (i.e. including end of minimum term monthly rolling period too). If device still remains unlocked after end of contract, the provider is liable for a sum equal to the market price of an unlocked model of the device.

– Contract locking is optional, a provider may choose not to apply a lock. The unlock when due must be done immediately – not end of month/week/year. No fee may be charged to unlock.

– If the provider splits the monthly bill into device payments and network subscription fees, the device MUST not be locked.

– PAYG devices can be locked for up to six months and there must be no fee to unlock. Once again, it will be the networks responsibility to automatically and permanently unlock after 6 months with fines equal to the market price of an unlocked model of the device for not complying promptly.

– With both Contracts and PAYG, network providers can offer to unlock earlier than required for an optional fee that is no more than about £20+vat

This seems like a fairer system that protects users and doesn’t stifle competition.

Lee

UPDATED and SIMPLIFIED:

– A contract mobile device (e.g. phone/tablet/phablet) can only be locked until the total of fixed monthly payments exceeds the market price (at time of purchase) of buying the unlocked device outright. The MSRP or RRP is NOT the market price. The market price must be established and agreed with the customer at the time of purchase and must be clearly stated on the contract.

– Once a contract device’s cost has been paid off as described above, it will be the responsibility of the network provider to automatically and *permanently* unlock the device (and inform the user). Failure to do so promptly (say within 48 hours) will result in a statutory liability (owed to the customer) equal to the previously agreed market price of the unlocked device. No fee may be charged to unlock.

– Contract locking is optional, a provider may choose not to apply a lock.

– If the provider splits the monthly bill into device payments and network subscription fees, the device MUST not be locked.

– PAYG devices can be locked for up to six months and there must be no fee to unlock. Once again, it will be the networks responsibility to automatically and permanently unlock after 6 months with fines equal to the market price of an unlocked model of the device for not complying promptly.

– With both Contracts and PAYG, network providers can offer to unlock earlier than required for an optional fee that is no more than about £20+vat

– If the device (Contract or PAYG) is subsequently re-locked, the provider is again required to pay the customer, the cost of a new phone. This charge will be paid anew for each and every instance of re-locking. It is designed to punish any and all attempts to surreptitiously lock devices.

This seems like a fairer system that protects users and doesn’t stifle competition.

Lee

Jeremy says:
23 February 2014

I have tried to get my PAC from TalkTalk Mobile calling them 4 times. I have already spent many hours in this process. I don’t have any outstanding balance or payment problems. I just want the PAC…

Each times they pretended to have ‘Technical problems’ which prevent them to give me the PAC (I am not even talking about unlocking the phone…). First time they told me they will call me to give it to me but I haven’t heard more from them. The last time they just hung up on me…

TalkTalk is probably one of the worst provider in term of Customer Services.

troff says:
5 March 2015

I take it your talk talk mobile will not acept any other networks sim cards. Have you tried this did they not work because your hand set is locked to talk talk sim only?

Pat says:
30 April 2014

I left Tmobile 2 months ago. I was not told at the time that the phone needs unlocking or what I should do to unlock it. They are now refusing to unlock it as obviously I am not an active customer.I can not use it,I can not sell it unless its TMobile customer so I am losing money. They should automatically unlock it when I left or at least tell me it needs doing so I could have requested it then and there. I was with them for 4 years,always paid on time and never cause them any issues.Basically feel like I have been used.

Hi all – we’ve just launched a new campaign called Unlock Better Mobile Deals. We want providers to unlock your phones automatically and for free at the end of your contract. You can sign our petition here: http://www.which.co.uk/campaigns/mobile-phone-deals/

And read more of the detail and join the debate here:
https://conversation.which.co.uk/technology/unlock-mobile-phones-for-free-better-mobile-deals/

James West says:
21 June 2014

I have been waiting for an unlock code from T-Mobile for 32 days now. They keep promising the code in a couple of days when I phone them but I never hear from them until I phone them again. Service cost £20 which they have promised to refund. They locked my phone and now I am locked to them….con merchants. Avoid them.

Shirley says:
26 June 2014

My 2 contract with Orange finished last October/November. I now want to unlock the phone (an iPhone 4) so that I can put another network’s SIM in it and as I am no longer a “current” customer Orange/EE are refusing to unlock it, even for a fee. Is this legal?

shirley says:
24 January 2015

see my comnent posted 24 january 2015.

oioi says:
26 June 2014

I got £200 out of T-Mobile to replace my iphone which they refused to unlock.
I have had to raise a claim through CISAS, who are the external body for dispute resolution.
First I raised a complaint directly with T-mobile after unsuccessful attempts to get them to unlock my phone because it was bought from carphone warehouse. After 3 month of chasing, I was told my complaint is not valid, since it’s not within their policy and refused to give me a complaint deadlock reference number.
When contacting CISAS and explaining how my complaint has been handled by T-Mobile, I’ve asked for £200 to cover the cost of the another iPhone I have had to purchase since the other one is still locked to T-Mobile. CISAS passed my complaint to T-Mobile and they have agreed to pay the full £200 and I had the money in my bank account within days!! Hooray!!

What does CISAS stand for? Google search drew a blank

Communications and Internet Services Adjudication Scheme:

www dot cisas dot org dot uk

Sharon says:
29 July 2014

Apple are refusing to unlock my i phone. My contract finished and they gave me the website to log into. I did this and also took it to an unlock shop but still cant get it unlocked. When you try to phone them they will not speak to you as I am no longer a customer and all the options are customer only options. This has meant I have had to buy a new phone but I am really angry that they have been so obstructive.

Stan says:
5 August 2014

I am now at the end of my E E contract with an iPhone. I found it very difficult to find out how to get the phone unlocked. Although the phone contract was bought in a Carphone Warehouse shop, EE did instruct apple to unlock the phone after me paying the £20.42 unlocking fee. It took a number of phone calls which didn’t produce any action at EE. I found the best way to get action is to befriend them on Facebook and direct message them; this works well and is much better than hanging on listening to music.
Obtaining the PAC code does require phone calls unfortunately. I now have this and am unlocked and soon with my original number.
Having read the small print on my contract I couldn’t find the clause giving them powers to raise the unlocking fee, but I paid up to get away. May raise this with them in due course.
All this bears out their low position in the Which survey.

magol13 says:
25 February 2015

I’m having the same issue and I’m looking for customers who have been mistreated in the same way. It is unacceptable that the handset obtained on contract with EE but supplied by Carphone Warehouse (Apple store in my case) cannot be unlocked by EE. They have actually advised me to go to the 3rd party if I wanted the handset unlocked!!! TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE!!
I have no hesitation in reporting this issue to OFCOM and CISAS, hope that I will get somewhere with this and my problem will be resolved. This should be regulated by law, so I think that Which? campaign is right and necessary.

Christine Warner says:
6 August 2014

I didn’t change companies. My company did. ASDA Mobile changed from Vodafone to EE. When I put the ASDA EE sim card into the phone it was locked by Vodafone. This was because my mobile phone is off most of the time and I didn’t follow their instructions. I still consider this a breach of contract. Vodafone will only unlock it for £20: ASDA Mobile only offered me £10. My dead phone wasn’t expensive but it cost more than £10. I was on pay-as-you-go. My complaint was ignored. My son gave me his old phone and I got a free sim card from another company. I wasn’t bothered about having to change the phone number because I use the phone so little. From all I read about EE, I think I’m well out of it.

Duncan says:
21 November 2014

I was with 02 for 8 years. I moved house in May and found I was getting a crappy signal, so as my contract was almost up, I decided to jump ship but keep my handset – a Samsung Galaxy SIII. I wanted a sim-only deal and went to Three for their all-you-can-eat data. Got a sim unlock code from 02 and all was well for about 3 months until my phone i explicably sim-locked one day. Got 02 to send me the unlock code, but it didn’t work! Contacted them and they said no problem, we’ll send you another code. It was the same code. Still didn’t unlock my phone. I took to the web and searched – nay, trawled – for info and advice and tried various methods posted on forums, downloaded a few apps – all to no avail. Back to 02. Expained the problem again. Explained that I had been sent the unlock code twice already and it did not work. Guru claimed to understand, and said he knew what to do. I said “please do not send me the same code again, the one generated for my IMEI number, as it does not work.” He said no, he knew what to do and to rest assured it would work. Next day, I got an email from 02 containing…….the same bloody code.

Are 02 at the madam? Am I being held hostage? Why would a previously unlocked phone suddenly re-lock? I have spoken to 5 techs who insist this is impossible! Why are they continuously sending me a code they know doesn’t work? I am now having to buy another handset when I have a perfectly good SGS3 here which will not work with my sim. I am not going back to 02 now, not ever, and I am angry and frustrated beyond belief. 02 are acting like a vindictive ex-wife who won’t let you see your kids.