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JamesI, Consultant
Category: Computer
Satisfied Customers: 2086
Experience:  20 years managing and supporting IT infrastructures from end users through to design of cloud based systems.
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I bought an unlocked sim-free samsung a5 2016 from Carphone

Customer Question

I bought an unlocked sim-free samsung a5 2016 from Carphone Warehouse in uk recently and took it to Singapore to give to someone as a gift who lives there. They put their local M1 sim card into it and it locked the phone asking for a PUK code. I have brought the phone back to uk and need it unlocked for Singapore networks. My EE uk sim works ok in phone
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Computer
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I think its locked to any networks outside the UK's region. Plus I don't have the M1 Singaporian sim that was in the mobile when it was locked.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I want it unlocked so it can be used in singapore
Expert:  JamesI replied 1 year ago.

If the phone was purchased sim free \ unlocked, then it will take any (global) sim, phones are never logged to a country.

PUK (Personal Unlocking Code), relate to SIM's not phines, so it sounds like your friend has locked their sim not their phone as they didnt know the sim pin.

The fact you have put EE UK sim in the phone and its working, to double check its unlocked I would take it back to care phone warehouse and ask them to put a test sim in it for Vodafone or O2 and check it works, if it does your friends just needs to call their service provider up and request the PUK code for their SIM.



Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The instructions that came with the phone state what I have said. They tell you you must first put a UK sim into the phone and use it for 5 minutes in the region that you want to use a local sim in
Expert:  JamesI replied 1 year ago.

You can ignore the instructions they are miss leading, phones are not locked to countries.

It takes 5 minutes for the phone and sim to register in the country\region when first used, after which point the phone should work as expected, but you can take any sim unlocked phone to any country, put in the sim and providing it supports the bandwidth frequency in the country the phone will work.

Please let me know if you need anything clarified or have a follow up question.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
My friends sim is several years old and has lost serial no of sim etc. The network provider in singapore will ask for this
Expert:  JamesI replied 1 year ago.

Ok so now we have established its a sim issue not a phone issue, if your friend knows their mobile phone number this will be sufficient for the service provider to look up the sim number.

Another option is for your friend to phone up their service provider and say they have lost their sim and require a new one to be sent out, this new sim not only will have the same phone number but will also be unlocked.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Well I bought another sim in singapore and put that in the phone and got the same lock message. When I put my UK sim in which is from a totally different company and for a different phone it worked ok in singapore. It was just singaporian sims that were locked out
Expert:  JamesI replied 1 year ago.

Ok so this isnt a PUK lock, and you are right there is a region lock, for some reason Samsung has setup this feature in 2013, but its not been flagged to me before as one its only one manufacture and secondly only applies to sims out side the EU (for UK phones).

As you have have suggested a 5 minute call should allow you to unlock the region lock, have you placed\received a 5 minute call using a UK sim?

Expert:  JamesI replied 1 year ago.

The stick on the box should explain this "European Model: This product should be activated with a SIM card issued from a mobile operator within Europe. (as defined EU/EEA, Switzerland and the following Non-EEA countries Albania, Andorra, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (F.Y.R.O.M), Monaco, Montenegro, San Marino, Serbia and Vatican City.) To use SIM cards from other regions, a cumulative call over five minutes must first be made with the SIM card from European operators."

If you have not placed \ received a 5 minute call I can call the mobile number you have in the phone now for 6 minutes, so you dont incur any cost, if you would like me to do this please advise me of your phone number.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I put my UK sim in the mobile whilst in singapore and made a 10 minute phone call. I then put the M1 singapore sim in and it was still locked.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The mistake I made was I should have used a uk sim first. The first sim into the phone was the m1 sinapore sim. I made a mistake coz I did not read instructions first
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
It was only after it was locked did I put uk sim in
Expert:  JamesI replied 1 year ago.

Understood this shouldn't cause an issue, I have spoken to a colleague he advised that once you have made a 5 minute call (even after locking the phone), the third party sim should work.

Can you advise the exact error message you see when a non-EU sim is inserted, as he wants to ensure we are not muddying the waters by trying to use a sim which is locked and needs PUK.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I put friends M1 sim in phone. Got message, Its hard to remember. The message I think "Sim locked - then somethimg about PUK code"
Then I put my uk sim in and made a call for well over ten minutes.
Was apart from friend so I then purchased a new Singapore M1 sim and got same message. Called M1 got puk code, entered it and phone said it was invalid puk code.
The trouble is me and the phone are now in UK. The M1 sim originally used is in Singapore
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Is there any way I can undo the damage I caused by putting a Singapore sim in before UK sim
I have tried factory reset that didn't help
Took it to Samsung Service Centre in Singapore explained he problem and they said I would have to get it unlocked in Europe. They said they could do nothing in Singapore
I wanted to get phone unlocked and give it back to my friend in Singapore to use with her Singapore M1 sim
Expert:  JamesI replied 1 year ago.

We believe the device is ready to be unlocked (and you have not caused any damage by first using a non EU sim), to double check I would place a further 10 minute call using the UK sim while in the UK.

You then need to get a non EU sim to unlock the phone, by inserting the sim in the phone it should come up with an option advising its locked and have the option to 'dismiss' or 'unlock'.

Do you know any friends who have a non EU sim you can try while in the UK, if not I can send you an Australian sim which is disconnected but will get the phone to ask you if you want to unlock the region lock.

Expert:  JamesI replied 1 year ago.

Another option is to use software to perform the unlock, the video here is aimed and removing a normal sim lock but it can also remove region lock.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
You need a rooted phone to use video.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I wil try the other method as I have a valid Sigapore M1 sim card. I will let you know what happens in 10 minutes or so
Expert:  JamesI replied 1 year ago.

Thats the best bet, the other option is using a rooted phone (which invalidates warranty).

Failing that you could take the phone back to car phone warehouse, dont tell them you used the M1 sim first, and advise its a fault on the phone, and get them to give you a new phone place a 10 minute call and use the M1 sim in it before you leave the store.