Switching networks, sim cards broke my settings, changed IMEI?


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Jun 9, 2012
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I haven't found a problem like this.

Short version: Went from Turkey (on Turkcell) to Malaysia (on Maxis) for a three-week trip, used local SIM card, and now that I'm back in Turkey my Samsung Captivate won't recognize the Turkcell sim card, and the IMEI is flagged as compromised.

[ADMINS: I'm new to these forums; if you think this belongs somewhere else, please move, and apologies for the mis-post.]

Long version: I've been in Turkey two years, had a locally-bought new dumbphone that I used with a new Turkcell sim card. I went home for a month, bought a Samsung Captivate off Craigslist, rooted and unlocked. When I got back to Turkey, I transferred my SIM from the old phone to the new one. I registered it too (Turkey makes you register foreign phones to your passport if you're going to use it here for more than two weeks; the rule is 1 phone every 2 years). Getting data to work confused the employees there for a while, but finally someone realized they needed to add an APN with the Turkcell details.

Three weeks ago I went to Malaysia for a business trip, and I wanted to call/surf/text cheaply, so I got a simcard from Maxis, a local player. I put that in, the phone recognized it, but the employees had to fiddle around with settings for a while before it would work. To be honest, I have no idea what they did--it wasn't just in the Android settings, they were activating menus on the network side, I think. Eventually they said I'd need to go to a technical center, but as I was leaving, the data network finally started working.

I came back to Turkey today, switched sim cards, and expected it to work right away (at least calling/SMSing). It didn't--doesn't seem to register the SIM card at all (although I can export/import contacts OK. I went to Turkcell, and I thought perhaps they could just reenter the APN information (which had been wiped out while in Malaysia, I guess). They reentered that info, and it still didn't work.

Eventually they looked up my IMEI and told me that it had been copied to another phone--and they showed me their database, which stated that this had happened in 2008 (I think that's what it was saying, my Turkish is so-so). Turkey implements nationwide IMEI blocking for stolen phones, apparently, so they're saying that that's the problem. Obviously the Galaxy S isn't even as old as 2008, so clearly that wasn't the problem. Also, the fact that I went on a trip where some settings may have been messed with in the phone, and came back to find the original setup not working, strongly suggests that the switching SIMs and fiddling around was the problem. Finally, I went to this website (.:MCKS-Mobil Cihaz Kayt Sistemi:.), which is the clearinghouse for IMEI registration. When I entered the IMEI alone, it said that it was compromised, but when I entered (on another page) the IMEI and GSM number separately, it told me that they didn't match. That suggests I may somehow have the wrong IMEI?

My theories:
-Somehow they managed to change the IMEI when I was in Malaysia, to a number that worked in Malaysia but is flagged here. I know changing the IMEI is possible, but it seems like a complex process totally unrelated to setting up data, so I doubt this.
-The changed settings in the phone messed with Turkcell's system when I put the SIM back in, and resulted in the phone getting blacklisted. The 2008 figure that I saw was inaccurate, a glitch.
-The changed settings are what's causing the problem, and the IMEI block is actually somehow a red-herring
-The IMEI block was there all along, and something about me changing settings around triggered it this time, even though I'd been able to use it before.

Anyone have any hint of a solution? Is the problem with Turkcell, with the phone, with whatever Maxis did in Malaysia? I am supposed to call the IMEI clearinghouse on Monday to try and resolve this, but I have little hope of that working, since it's Turkey, and they're terrible at bureaucracy.