What Is a Subsidy Lock

SIM lock is also referred to as subsidy lock. Mobile phone manufactures add this feature in GSM phones, which allows network operators to restrict the use of the phone in a predefined circle or region. This capability can also be used by the network operator to restrict the phone to use only one SIM with a single IMSI. But due to globalization and mobile beings shipped to different countries these locks were made region specific, so that they work only in one country. SIM Locks were initially made in order to restrict a consumer to use only a particular network service.

Unlocking tips and tricks

These locked phones can be unlocked by entering a code which is provided by the network provider. There are various other methods of unlocking phone, such as by loading software’s and formatting etc. Once the phone gets unlocked it remains unlocked all its life; hence it can be said that unlocking is permanent. Unlocking phone is a very old process and it allows one to use a particular phone on any network, rather than the provider’s network. Unlocked phone are sold at higher prices than locked phones as they are compensated for the income of the network provider.

Practice of unlocking phones is legal in most of the countries

The practice of unlocking phones is legal in many countries and hence consumer gets unlocked phones as soon as he buys it or he can get it unlocked by paying a nominal fee after few months (normally 12) from the network operator. There are many unlocking service centers and companies, which lets you unlock your phone online. Other practices involved with unlocking are,

  • Box Breaking
  • De-branding
  • Firmware modification or removal
  • Software removal

These practices are legal in most of the countries, and hence it is the major cause which led the decrease in the cost of the call rates. The best example of it being India which has come down from a cost of 32 rupees per call in 1996 to a 0.50 rupee call in 2011. There are many network providers which allow user to unlock phone when they have completed the tenure of network bond for free. Unlocked phones are sold in the market at higher rates and hence there are many people who by phone from network operator and use their services for a fixed amount of time and after that they get their phones unlocked for free.

So next time when you want to buy any phone make sure if it is unlocked or not. See for the laws of subsidy locks in your country and then only commit for unlocked phones. And do remember, if you have a locked phone you can easily get it unlocked from online sources.