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  • 1 Post By dpham00
  1. Thread Author  Thread Author    #1  

    Default Region lock

    I'm thinking about buying an S5, but I'm still a little confused about the whole region lock thing. I live in the States, would be buying the non-contract version of the phone here, and originally using it with a US sim card, which, from what I've read, should get rid of the region lock. However, I've seen a few mentions online of alleged problems that some people have had using their unlocked phones overseas. I'll be traveling to the UK soon, buying a UK sim card, and am obviously a bit leery of buying a phone that may not work while I'm there. I called Samsung, and the woman I spoke to had never even heard of the region lock, nor her supervisor, she just gave me a spiel on different bandwidths. I mentioned the press release from last year regarding the instructions on how to eliminate the region lock, at which point she again spoke to her supervisor, and after that she told me that it will work fine if I buy an unlocked version and originally set it up with a US sim card, but the fact that she didn't even know what it was to start with kind of worries me. God this has been long winded. Essentially, does anyone know if the region unlock is guaranteed, or is there a chance that I'll end up being stranded with no phone? I know that my current unlocked iPhone 5S will work over there with a UK sim card, so I'm wondering if I should just stick with it, though I'm very tempted by the S5's superior camera (among other things), which would be be better for a vacation.
  2. #2  

    Default Re: Region lock

    First of all, that was on the Note 3... I haven't heard of the S5 being region locked (yet, I might be wrong). EDIT: Turns out I was wrong, there's still region locking on the GS5. See below.
    However, like you said, the 'region lock' was only for when you first booted up your phone. If you're already using it, you're fine.

    HOWEVER, using a phone abroad is not as simple because of what the rep told you: bands and frequencies. You need to know which bands/frequencies your phone supports and if the UK Carrier you want to use it with is using any of those. A LOT of US phones will only work with voice in most of Europe, but this being a newer unit, it SHOULD support a wide arrange of frequencies.
  3. #3  

    Default Re: Region lock

    It should work with data but might be slow, depending on bands available. The 5s supports the most bands . I have used my Verizon Samsung Galaxy Note 3 abroad no problem, although my note 3 was factory sim unlocked.

    Even when buying off contract, it is still sim locked, though can be unlocked, which each carrier has certain restrictions. Verizon is the only exception as far as I know, selling it factory sim unlocked.

    dpham00, Android Central Moderator
    Sent from my Verizon Samsung Galaxy Note 3 via Tapatalk Pro
  4. #4  

    Default Re: Region lock

    I thought she was buying the factory-unlocked version, sorry about that, I misread. If you are getting a CARRIER version, even off-contract, then yeah, besides the region lock thing, you have to worry about SIM locking, and that's up to your carrier (or a little trickery if you're willing to go that way) to unlock for you to use abroad. Like dpham said, even if you buy off-contract, carrier versions are usually still locked to their SIMs, so using a different carrier's would result in the phone not working unless you unlock it or use SIM from the original carrier.
  5. #5  
    sjaduae's Avatar

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    Default Re: Region lock

    It's almost impossible to buy a true factory unlocked phone from any of the big US carriers, some will un lock them eventually but there are differing conditions eg good conduct, having it for x months and any other permutation they can dream up to make it difficult for you. Even T-Mobile who stops charging you for the phone after 2 years or buy it out option still will not 100% guarantee to un lock it, it also depends a bit on the store.

    My advice is to buy it off contract and pay $25 online for a sim unlock code (technically when you are out of the US as there is suppose to be a so far un enforced law against this in the US)

    Any modern phones will work in many countries (Korea being an exception example with local sim) and certainly in UK/Europe although you may not get LTE just 3g.

    The only thing concerning region lock is how you receive your updates, these will always come from the original carrier ie if bought from AT&T you will only get AT&T updates unless you root your phone, this is not a problem as you can get your At&T update via WiFi from anywhere in the world. I just did my 2 old S4"s to Kit Kat from UAE

    So stump up the ~$500 off contract and enjoy

    It will be nice when the US stops all these restrictive contracts and polices,
  6. #6  

    Default Re: Region lock

    Quote Originally Posted by sjaduae View Post
    It's almost impossible to buy a true factory unlocked phone from any of the big US carriers, some will un lock them eventually but there are differing conditions eg good conduct, having it for x months and any other permutation they can dream up to make it difficult for you. Even T-Mobile who stops charging you for the phone after 2 years or buy it out option still will not 100% guarantee to un lock it, it also depends a bit on the store.

    My advice is to buy it off contract and pay $25 online for a sim unlock code (technically when you are out of the US as there is suppose to be a so far un enforced law against this in the US)

    Any modern phones will work in many countries (Korea being an exception example with local sim) and certainly in UK/Europe although you may not get LTE just 3g.

    The only thing concerning region lock is how you receive your updates, these will always come from the original carrier ie if bought from AT&T you will only get AT&T updates unless you root your phone, this is not a problem as you can get your At&T update via WiFi from anywhere in the world. I just did my 2 old S4"s to Kit Kat from UAE

    So stump up the ~$500 off contract and enjoy

    It will be nice when the US stops all these restrictive contracts and polices,
    Verizon will sell it factory sim unlocked even while on contract.

    dpham00, Android Central Moderator
    Sent from my Verizon Samsung Galaxy Note 3 via Tapatalk Pro
    SpookDroid likes this.
  7. #7  
    sjaduae's Avatar

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    Default Re: Region lock

    Quote Originally Posted by dpham00 View Post
    Verizon will sell it factory sim unlocked even while on contract.

    dpham00, Android Central Moderator
    Sent from my Verizon Samsung Galaxy Note 3 via Tapatalk Pro
    Try walking in there and buying an unlocked phone without a sim or contract

    I think you will find they won't sell you one

    I think their LTE may also differ to AT&T if it's not an international phone

    AT&T if you are an existing customer will sell you a non contract phone but you have to buy a pay as you go sim for $15 which you can throw away and then get it unlocked

    This was by far the easiest and cheapest way to get a new phone to use internationally, unless you have a friend outside the US, but the delta is marginal
    ie my S5 32G is $789 unlocked sim free international SM-G900F

    You can get hold of international versions in the US but they always carry a premium
  8. #8  

    Default Re: Region lock

    Quote Originally Posted by sjaduae View Post
    Try walking in there and buying an unlocked phone without a sim or contract

    I think you will find they won't sell you one

    I think their LTE may also differ to AT&T if it's not an international phone

    AT&T if you are an existing customer will sell you a non contract phone but you have to buy a pay as you go sim for $15 which you can throw away and then get it unlocked

    This was by far the easiest and cheapest way to get a new phone to use internationally, unless you have a friend outside the US, but the delta is marginal
    ie my S5 32G is $789 unlocked sim free international SM-G900F

    You can get hold of international versions in the US but they always carry a premium

    Verizon is an international capable model :

    Network: LTE Band 13/4 (700/1700 MHz), CDMA/1xEVDO Rev. A (800/1900 MHz)
    Global Network: EDGE/GSM (850/900/1800/1900), HSPA/UMTS(850/900/1900/2100)

    Just buy it from Verizon's iconic portal.

    http://forums.androidcentral.com/sho....php?p=3571703

    Don't even have to step foot into the store. Att variant supports different bands than Verizon.


    Some people, myself included, have had issues with att not providing unlock codes for various reasons. I acquired a phone that was never on contract and att said that they didn't have the unlock code, and this smartphone was att branded and I got it from an official att retailer. They did unlock another phone for me though. So I am 50/50 with AT&T unlock


    dpham00, Android Central Moderator
    Sent from my Verizon Samsung Galaxy Note 3 via Tapatalk Pro
  9. #9  

    Default Re: Region lock

    I don't think he meant that you could just walk in, get a phone, get out, no strings attached. What he means is that after you get a plan or pre-paid SIM card, the phone you're walking out with IS factory unlocked.

    OP, here's an article about Region Locking on the GS5 (it's for the Euro version, but I gather other versions will be the same)... Sorry, it's still there, and this time it's even written on the box. Fortunately, it's nothing to worry about as long as you got it from a legit source. This time around you need to activate it with a SIM from the same region AND rack up 5 minutes worth of call time to get rid of it.
    Here's how region-locking works on the European Samsung Galaxy S5 | Android Central
  10. #10  

    Default Re: Region lock

    Quote Originally Posted by SpookDroid View Post
    I don't think he meant that you could just walk in, get a phone, get out, no strings attached. What he means is that after you get a plan or pre-paid SIM card, the phone you're walking out with IS factory unlocked.

    OP, here's an article about Region Locking on the GS5 (it's for the Euro version, but I gather other versions will be the same)... Sorry, it's still there, and this time it's even written on the box. Fortunately, it's nothing to worry about as long as you got it from a legit source. This time around you need to activate it with a SIM from the same region AND rack up 5 minutes worth of call time to get rid of it.
    Here's how region-locking works on the European Samsung Galaxy S5 | Android Central
    For international travel, I don't see the advantage of att, unless you plan to use it in the states on att. The Verizon version runs $600,the AT&T version is $650 + $15 sim.

    Also the att version can never be factory sim unlocked since it leaves the factory sim locked. It could later be unlocked via msl code, but then it would be considered as unlocked via code and not factory sim unlocked.

    dpham00, Android Central Moderator
    Sent from my Verizon Samsung Galaxy Note 3 via Tapatalk Pro
  11. #11  

    Default Re: Region lock

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't the S5 supposed to be compatible across carriers? I mean, the frequencies it supports, wouldn't it make it compatible with, say, both ATT and Verizon (if your phone is unlocked, either from factory or by code)?
  12. #12  

    Default Re: Region lock

    Quote Originally Posted by SpookDroid View Post
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't the S5 supposed to be compatible across carriers? I mean, the frequencies it supports, wouldn't it make it compatible with, say, both ATT and Verizon (if your phone is unlocked, either from factory or by code)?
    The Verizon Samsung Galaxy Note 3 can be used on AT&T, but it doesn't contain all the bands. For example, Verizon has bands 4 and 13. AT&T's LTE uses bands 2,4,5,and primarily 17. Since att deployed band 4 lte in limited areas, there is a good chance that you won't get 4glte on att with the Verizon S5. Also the Verizon S5 doesn't support carrier aggregation like the att, which is a moot point since it only supports one band of att lte.


    Verizon S5 supports svlte, but not svdo or volte. Radio info inside.

    dpham00, Android Central Moderator
    Sent from my Verizon Samsung Galaxy Note 3 via Tapatalk Pro
  13. #13  
    sjaduae's Avatar

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    Default Re: Region lock

    Nice wish we had seen that link a 8 months ago when we were in the US

    We knew they did unlocked phones but could not get around the plans at the time

    Funny the forum page said the same about in shop service which is the problem we ran into

    You are correct if you can now buy a factory unlocked from Verizon iconic portal there is no need to buy from AT&T with a sim lock and get it unlocked

    When I got my non contract S4 from AT&T existing customers got a discount and made it a little cheaper
  14. #14  
    urskruz's Avatar

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    Default Re: Region lock

    Region lock-img_20141017_103728.jpg

    How can i unlock this device? I am in ASIA now. Does any codes work in making this device work?
    Help me out peeps!
    Blackberry 8700>Sony Xperia Mini Pro>BlackBerry 8520>BlackBerry Torch9860> BlackBerry Z10>BlackBerry Z30 and Moto G 2nd Gen

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