A lot of US carriers subsidizeÂ smartphones and sell them to customers with a contract, and the catch is that the phone can’t be used with another carrier.
In an Indian context, this would be something like Vodafone selling an iPhone for Rs. 10,000 but only if you sign a 2 year contract in which you pay Rs. 3,000 per month for the plan and the phone is locked to Vodafone which means it won’t work if you put a SIM from another carrier like Hutch.
The iPhone is of course the most popular example of this but other phones like Blackberry are also locked to the carrier.
If you’re bringing such a phone to India then unless you get it unlocked from the carrier you won’t be able to use it. The phone will simply not recognize the SIM you put into it.
If you know before hand that you’re going to bring a Blackberry from the US to India, then the best way to unlock is to call your carrier and ask for the unlock code and instructions. They will most likely give you the unlock code, especially if you’ve been using the phone for 3 months or more.
If you forget to do this and get the phone to India, then you will probably not be able to contact the customer support and rely on local means to unlock the phone.
I had to do this recently and was pleasantly surprised to find out that unlocking a Blackberry is very easy and you just need to have the unlock code.
I went to get it done through a store first but they wanted Rs. 800 and that just seemed very high so I returned to research this some more and try to unlock it on my own.
I saw that various sites sell the unlock codes for much more than Rs. 800 so at first it seemed like it may just be better to go back to the store and get it unlocked through them but then I stumbled upon some sellers at eBay and found that they were selling the unlock code for 99 cents.
I tried one seller first and they sent an unlock code that didn’t work. Then I tried another seller, and they sent two unlock codes (one of them the same as the code of the first seller) and this time the unlock worked!
So I was set up with the unlock code for less than $2 and after that it’s fairly easy to unlock it. There are several videos that show you how to do that and here is one that does a great job of explaining it.
The big thing I learned unlocking the Blackberry this way was that it is far easier than unlocking an iPhone and you shouldn’t pay more than 99 cents to buy the unlock code, and the best place to get it from is eBay.