SIM Locked Phone – Concerns & Thoughts
SIM card locked phones are sold ONLY by providers – irregardless of region. These phones are SIM card locked for 2 reasons – only which 1 is transparent to the end user; at least initially. Providers usually subsidize the total market retail value of phones to new customers in hopes of increasing user subscriber count, revenues, and recoup the subsidized costs within the first year.
Traditionally providers would approach cellular manufacturers to have their current stock offerings by what is the best hardware or the easiest to market at certain price ranges or demographics. Over the past 10years + its the manufacturers that must plead and aggressively sell their wares to wireless providers – to the point of almost & in many cases bending backwards to the providers’ demands.
SIM card phones by nature have ALWAYS supported more than 1 network band that competing providers either in the same country or abroad support. By their very nature SIM card phones allow the user to travel to other providers or abroad without circumventing the hardware & thus the warranty. Let me put it another factual way … “SIM unlocking cellular phones is NOT against the law (worldwide) nor void the manufacturers’ warranty”!!
So why would an end user really want a SIM card locked phone? Maybe they do not have upwards of $500 to spend for the retail price of a cellular phone. Maybe the end user will not ever move to a competing wireless provider in the foreseeable future. Most likely, especially in this volatile financial market (worldwide again); most users would NEVER want a SIM locked phone.
Here in lies a situation that becomes a SERIOUS problem. Recently, most providers in Canada have partnered with various cellular phone manufacturers to offer a range of phones that are SIM card locked to just whomever is offering it. This is nothing new, but has become an increasing frustration to end users as smart-phones begin to flourish and the mobile OS become increasingly more complex.
The providers use SIM card locking as a tactic to ball-&-chain a user to them over the course of their contract.
Here in Canada, of the 4 largest providers, Rogers & Fido have a new SIM Unlock policy that seemingly is better than having no policy at all; or is it?! Rogers or Fido will allow a SIM card unlock code for $50 with the following criteria:
a) Subscriber has paid the FULL retail value of their phone, or
b) Subscriber has fulfilled the remaining 2/3yrs of their wireless contract agreement, & including …
c) has all current billing charges paid for in full.
Seems good right? Well the price is WRONG!
Let’s say the subscriber was stupid enough to pay the FULL retail price of their smartphone AT the provider (why not just pay the manufacturer directly for their phone, hmm). Now a subscriber wishes to unlock their phone … why should they then pay an ADDITIONAL $50 to do so regardless of the other two conditions being met or not – condition “a” alone should suffice.
Now to add injury to insult, lets just say a subscriber has completed their full contract tenure. The cost of paying in excess of $55/mth for 2/3yrs along is more than sufficient profit for ALL providers per subscriber – yet they’ll STILL charge you $50 just so you can leave them or choose to stay. After 1yr the phone’s warranty is NULL & VOID in the first place, it would be intelligent that market rate price plans for national cellular providers to be able to recoup the subsidy cost of smart-phones during that 1yr period no? Why would THEY incurr a prolonged cost over the normal amortization of the product lifecycle when the manufacturer is no longer obligated to service the unit if returned for warranty purposes by the subscriber?! Hmmm.
To make matters worse … what if the subscriber felt they no longer need or want that phone within their 1-yr warranty and chooses to sell/trade the phone to another user – even on a different provider that that phone/smart-phone supports bands for? This is what would be referred to as the grey market – manufacturers (all except Apple) have deemed that warranty follows the original END-USER not the product. A stupid practice if you ask me – this is where Apple is being practical. So now the new subscriber – also in the same vote as our original subscriber traded their phone with and wishes to use it.
A-HA! There in lies the rub! The new subscriber, on a different carrier has NO ABILITY to use the phone as the original carrier will not recognize them. To put this last point into perspective … I’m on Rogers and chose to trade my phone for a Fido locked phone – thinking I wouldn’t have ANY issues getting it unlocked by the manufacturer – Apple in this case. Rogers Wireless owns Fido which is a wholely owned subsidiary of Rogers … yet FIDO will not unlock it. Apple’s contract with Fido does not permit them to unlock it either and Rogers will do nothing. See where this becomes a problem?!
Some would argue that the phone is not rightfully the end users’ until the contract is fullfilled … yet I’d argue if that’s the case then why are providers trying every possible way to back out of warranty fulfillment – making the excuse that IMEI’s/SERIAL Numbers/PINS are NOT in their database and that each subscriber bring in their sales receipt or warranty hardware upgrade receipt to deal with this mess.
I thought Apple was supposed to CHANGE the phone as we know it, change the industry … yet some things STILL stay the same. A bitter taste to say the least but I prefer the iPhone currently.