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Are phones locked or unlocked


Userlevel 1
I'm looking at buying a phone from iD-mobile, but there is very little information on the webpage (link below). For instance, is this phone locked to iD or unlocked?
https://www.idmobile.co.uk/shop/pay-monthly/sony-xperia-xz1-compact

JK
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Best answer by Mohammed 8 June 2018, 09:37

Hello @JohnK,

I'm disappointed you feel this way.

The link to our Terms & Conditions was sent so you could see the source of the information I was providing.

As you can see in my original message, I extracted the relevant part of this and pasted it here so you were able to find the answer to this.

It's unfortunate that you feel this has not answered your question.

It's not a case of more information being required, I've answered the question to the best of my abilities but we can't provide an A or B answer that you were looking for.

The answer to your re-phrased question would be:
There isn't a way to tell if a handset is locked/unlocked.

But this may get locked, in which case, we can look at unlocking this.


Under section 5.12 of your Terms & Conditions:

Your SIM Card and tariff can only be used in the device you received/chose at point of purchase/connection to the Services.

Further to this, (and also confirmed above) your handset may be locked to our network.

In the event that this is locked, we can look at unlocking once contacted.

So, In summary, if it is locked, we can look into unlocking it but I can't confirm if it'll be locked or unlocked or distinguish this at purchase.

I hope this helps.

Mohammed
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25 replies

Userlevel 7
Badge +8
Hello @JohnK,

Please see the below extract from our Terms & Conditions:

4. Provision of the Services

4.12 Devices which can be used to access the Services may be locked to our network. The software in the devices and all intellectual property rights in that software is owned or licensed by the manufacturer and you are being allowed to use the software on a limited licence from the manufacturer. Following the Minimum Period, if your device is locked and you want it to be unlocked from our network, you can contact us and we can help to arrange for your device to be unlocked (where we are able to) in an authorised manner (which may include replacing your device with an unlocked device, which is the same or similar specification to your device) and you may incur a Charge. Prior to us arranging for your device to be unlocked, you must ensure that you back-up or otherwise store separately any of your information or other data on the device which you may need, as this may be lost during the device unlocking process. We're not responsible for any information or any other data which may be lost during the unlocking process.

5. Your responsibilities

5.12 Your SIM Card and tariff can only be used in the device you received/chose at point of purchase/connection to the Services. Except where a Mobile Device is provided, the SIM Card and tariff can only be used in conjunction with current commonly used 3G or higher device technologies and cannot necessarily be used with new technologies that emerge in the future. Your SIM Card and Tariff can only be used in a mobile phone or tablet device. Your SIM Card and/or Mobile Device cannot be used in conjunction with or as a modem, dongle or Mobile Hotspot device unless stated at point of sale.

Hope this answers your question!

Mohammed
Userlevel 1
Thanks for your attempt to answer my question by send me an RTFM and setting the problem to "Solved".

I'm afraid this doesn't answer my question.

If you look at the link you quoted it states
"Devices which can be used to access the Services MAY be locked to our network"

My interpretation of this is it MAY be locked - which doesn't really answer the question are they locked or not.
[capitalisation above means "bold" not "shout"]
Userlevel 7
Badge +8
Hello @JohnK,

Please see the below terms and conditions in relation to unlocking handsets.
Following the Minimum Period, if your device is locked and you want it to be unlocked from our network, you can contact us and we can help to arrange for your device to be unlocked (where we are able to) in an authorised manner (which may include replacing your device with an unlocked device, which is the same or similar specification to your device) and you may incur a Charge.

Mohammed
Userlevel 1
I think there must be some misunderstanding.

You seem to have by, the customer-unfriendly method of "RTFM", sent me a link to the T+Cs that tell me how to unlock a phone.

My question was "Are phones locked or unlocked"

Can someone answer this question please?
Userlevel 7
Badge +8
Hello @JohnK,

I've provided you with the terms and conditions (as well as the extract that your query relates to here) so you're able to get as much information on this.

I'm disappointed you feel this to be "customer-unfriendly" but can assure you that is not my intention.

The query has been answered above but I'll answer this again.

Devices which can be used to access the Services may be locked to our network. The software in the devices and all intellectual property rights in that software is owned or licensed by the manufacturer and you are being allowed to use the software on a limited licence from the manufacturer. Following the Minimum Period,
if your device is locked and you want it to be unlocked from our network,you can contact us and we can help to arrange for your device to be unlocked (where we are able to) in an authorised manner (which may include replacing your device with an unlocked device, which is the same or similar specification to your device) and you may incur a Charge.

I'm unable to provide a yes/no answer that you are seeking to this question and have answered it to the best of my abilities.

Mohammed

Please note, the use of bold in my reply is in no way or form a shout but solely for emphasis.
Userlevel 1
Sorry for my incredulity in your RTFM answers. I've run a helpdesk for many years and I always insist on the personal touch and when someone asks a question, rather than sending them a link that they have to search through (and indeed that they have already searched through without finding an answer) is unacceptable and I would not be happy with those staff.

If there is a good reason why you can't answer "A" or "B" when the question is "is it A or B" then say that you need further information or why you can't answer the question.

For instance, you state "The query has been answered above but I'll answer this again.", OK so let's look at your answer, it says "Devices which can be used to access the Services may be locked to our network." - Exactly - they may be, so presumably the rest of your answer will give me a hint as to how I can find out since I'd read in the T+Cs myself that they "May be". You continue "if your device is locked and you want it to be unlocked from our network," ok so that doesn't help at all - you've missed the bit that tells me whether the product I'm looking for is locked or not.

So, in summary, I'm considering buying an iD phone and I'm reluctant to buy one without knowing whether it will be locked so I checked the T+Cs and am told it "may be" so I ask a question on this helpdesk and am told "it may be" ... so maybe I should re-phrase my question:
"How can I tell whether an iD phone contract is for a locked or an unlocked phone?"
Userlevel 7
Badge +8
Hello @JohnK,

I'm disappointed you feel this way.

The link to our Terms & Conditions was sent so you could see the source of the information I was providing.

As you can see in my original message, I extracted the relevant part of this and pasted it here so you were able to find the answer to this.

It's unfortunate that you feel this has not answered your question.

It's not a case of more information being required, I've answered the question to the best of my abilities but we can't provide an A or B answer that you were looking for.

The answer to your re-phrased question would be:
There isn't a way to tell if a handset is locked/unlocked.

But this may get locked, in which case, we can look at unlocking this.


Under section 5.12 of your Terms & Conditions:

Your SIM Card and tariff can only be used in the device you received/chose at point of purchase/connection to the Services.

Further to this, (and also confirmed above) your handset may be locked to our network.

In the event that this is locked, we can look at unlocking once contacted.

So, In summary, if it is locked, we can look into unlocking it but I can't confirm if it'll be locked or unlocked or distinguish this at purchase.

I hope this helps.

Mohammed
Userlevel 1
"As you can see in my original message, I extracted the relevant part of this and pasted it here so you were able to find the answer to this."

But since I had ALREADY READ the T+Cs and couldn't find the answer I wanted then sending me the link that didn't answer the question one way or the other was hardly going to be helpful was it.

Anyway now you've answered my alternative question (and thanks, yes I'm happy that you have attempted to answer this one) I can now see why you were so evasive with the first question.

So what you are saying is (and I quote)

a) "There isn't a way to tell if a handset is locked/unlocked."
and then
b) "But this may get locked, in which case, we can look at unlocking this."

Please read these statements again.

The first says it is impossible to tell whether a phone is unlocked or not - in which case why have so many people had trouble with locked phones before if there was no evidence of locked/unlocked then how would they notice? I'm sure other companies can tell if a phone is locked or not, and more importantly would know whether they sold locked ones or unlocked ones (or for any given model they would know, it wouldn't just be random)

The 2nd statement says that a phone might magically "get locked" - how would this happen? How could you know it is happened if it is impossible to tell the difference? And how would you then go about unlocking it if you aren't able to tell if it is locked or not?

I'm very confused.
Userlevel 7
Badge +8
Hello @JohnK,

You'd be able to tell if the handset is locked as you'd usually get some form of an error when using a different network's SIM in your handset.

For example, on iPhone's you'd get a splash screen with an error when starting the device up advising "SIM Not Supported/Valid" when using a different SIM than the network the device is locked to.

This will usually look like this:




In this case, you would contact us and we can look into unlocking the device.

Mohammed
Userlevel 1
OK thanks for that

So when you said "There isn't a way to tell if a handset is locked/unlocked.", you meant it is easy to tell but only by putting another SIM in it.

You still haven't explained your 2nd statement "But this may get locked, in which case, we can look at unlocking this." and under what circumstances an unlocked phone might "get locked" - this sounds weird.

Even weirder (and unexplained) is why you can't tell me whether the phones you sell are locked or unlocked? I'd have thought it wouldn't be random and you'd know - what is preventing this?
Userlevel 7
Badge +8
Hello @JohnK,

I wouldn't be able to explain this further to what has been advised above.

I'm disappointed if this isn't the answer you seek.

If your handset does get locked to our network, we can take a look into getting this unlocked.

Mohammed
Yep exactly need more that one sim cards to check if your device is locked or unlocked to carrier. it says that you also can check with other methods like in settings or third-party information referred, tried but it doesn't seem to work.
Userlevel 1
I still can't believe that the company that sold me the phone can't tell me whether the phone they've sold me is locked to their network or not.

TBH I'm very disappointed with ID. Apart from the above ineptitude of not knowing about the product they are selling. Coverage is atrotious compated to other companies I've used.
I was in Lithuania/Latvia for a week and at both locations I was at it took 3 days to lock onto a signal - note a PHONE signal - and when it did I got 4G - bizarre.
On Mull I got "NO SIGNAL" as well - not even "Emergency only" and all other providers were fine there in our group - this was annoying as I was a Mountain Leader responsible for safety.
Maybe even stranger is that I normally have no phone signal at my desk at work so texts out and in can take a long time to be delivered - and I have to walk to a different part of campus to get data. This is the first phone I've had that is so bad. Of course being a Search and Rescue member it means I get call-outs late so this is a bit embarassing.
Userlevel 4
Badge +6
Hi JohnK, sorry to see that you've experienced situations of poor coverage. We do offer WiFi and 4G calling on some handsets to provide increased connectivity.

To clarify the previous responses by Mohammed, handsets sold by iD are usually unlocked however, as we cannot guarantee this, we advise that they may be locked to set clear expectations.

If your phone does not automatically connect to a network whilst roaming, restarting or manually searching for a network would normally fix this straight away.
We'd also recommend this is you visit Mull again, if any network is available, you would have the option for Emergency calls.
-Phil
Userlevel 1
  • I still don't see why you don't know that the products you sell are locked or unlocked - when bought direct from you rather than through a re-seller
  • I'm not certain how WIFI or 4G calling on a handset is much use in any of the options I gave as with no phone signal there was never any 4G or 3G as far as I could see, and there was no wireless - which was why I wanted the data connection, but noticed that not only was it absent but there wasn't even a phone coverage. What bugged me was that *everyone* else had full signals the whole time in both countries I mentioned, and throughout much of Mull - so iD was significantly poorer than all of these. I'd be keen to hear when you'll be enhancing your coverage in Warrington since my office seems to be in a blackspot which is a problem as I'm on a callout for both site first aid as well as the local search and rescue (you might have seen us on "Reported Missing" over the past few weeks). I've been here on various networks over the past 15 years and have never had an issue with a phone/4G signal in that time in my office.
  • I did try restarting and trying all available options available to me when on Mull, but although I could see lots of networks it just didn't want to connect to them.
Userlevel 7
Badge +8
Hello @JohnK,

Coverage can vary for each network as they have their own set of masts used to provide coverage.

Some networks may have better coverage in areas than others which would explain why you are finding a blackspot in a specific area which may not have occurred on a previous network.

We'd recommend using our Coverage Checker to track your coverage and if you are having any issues, get in touch with us so we can investigate this for you.

Mohammed
Userlevel 1
Yes I've already done that - my office and the car park out side my office are a few tiny squares of white surrounded by lots of red. (more accurately I work just underneath a tower with lots of mobile phone things on them - which is a bit ironic).

Of course that map has options for 3G and 4G - what I'm asking for is basic phone access - is there a coverage tracker for that?
Userlevel 6
Badge +8
Hey @JohnK,

Our network services are only accessible through the 3G and 4G frequency bands, so if you are referring to 2G access or below, this isn't available.

Ryan
I just tried my iPhone 5s which I bought in March 2017 and it IS locked to iD
Userlevel 6
Badge +8
Hi @Dave22,

Thanks for letting us know. If you find that a phone is locked to our network, and in your case it has been since your purchase in 2017, then we can request that this is unlocked for you if you like?

If so, please contact our Live Chat team here and we will have this sorted within 72 hours of the request being processed.

Ryan
Userlevel 1
After reading a chat between JohnK and Mohammed I mad decission to NOT buy telephone in ID-Mobile. If nobody can answer for simply JohnK question, I'm afraid that more complicated could be never solved
Userlevel 7
Badge +8
After reading a chat between JohnK and Mohammed I mad decission to NOT buy telephone in ID-Mobile. If nobody can answer for simply JohnK question, I'm afraid that more complicated could be never solved

Hello @Yarrick,

To summarise:

We can't confirm if a phone is locked or unlocked
If the device you purchased is locked, simply contact us and we'll look at unlocking it.

I can only but apologise that I could't make this clearer.

I'm sorry you won't be joining the iD Team due to this.

Mohammed

I’m thinking the same as Yarrick - the vagueness from the company (not an individual attack on anyone) by the choice of locking or not locking seemingly ‘random’, does no good for your service, and puts CPW as owning party in a bad light too.

 

I suspect some other firms sell unlocked, refurbished or new, phones, and I know Three has had this as policy (every mobile, PAYG or in a contract, is unlocked) for some years. 

 

The phrase “we’ll look into unlocking” is yet another “vague” description.

 

Surely you can state a POLICY on unlocking.  Does it depend on someone having exceeded, say, half of their contract period, or the whole contract (I am not a customer so have not looked too closely into getting a phone and contract…  and the “will it / won’t it” be locked situation means I don’t plan to waste my time even trying to determine if there’s any phone that I might want.   

I know CPW has quite a few PAYG phones but require a £10 quid top-up…  If CPW staff insert a SIM and the phone gets locked (when I may already have a SIM I plan to use), then I’d be quite unhappy.  Given the odd policy situation of iD Mobile, I cannot now imagine CPW will be any better.

 

Poor situation, leaves me distrusting the company with wishy-washy policies like this.

 

PS by  “wishy-washy”  I mean a lack of clarity.

Please be clear…  eg:  

 

A) all phones are locked. They can be unlocked after X months / completion of contract.

 

or  B) all phones are unlocked and your SIM can be used with any other phone, it is not tied to the phone we supplied.

 

See how much clearer either of those would have been as a policy.

Userlevel 5
Badge +6

Hi @WebDude

It’s easy to see where you’re coming from on this, and we’re sorry for coming across as very vague with the information given.

We’ve passed on the feedback internally on this to have this looked in to in hopes we can give more clarity on the subject going forward.

-

Speaking personally from my own observations.  Some policies change over time as the mobile industry evolves.  So sometimes it’s safer to not make a strong statement on certain things to prevent causing further problems down the line.

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