Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Mobile Phone: Local SIM / Locked handset

This is an addendum to a much earlier post and is in issue which I too faced upon arrival in the UAE but completely forgot about here.

Essentially, please bear in mind one thing. In certain countries mobile phones may well be sold/provided 'locked' to a network provider if bought with a plan or in some cases on Pay As You Go (PAYG). Not so in others and not so for some phones bought on PAYG. For instance, an iPhone sourced in France, the UAE or Belgium will be 'network unlocked'. If your phone is locked you will not be able to insert a local SIM into the phone and get it to work. An easy way to check if your phone is SIM locked before you arrive is to just pick up one of the countless PAYG SIMs that many countries and insert it in the phone. If it works, you are already unlocked.

In most cases your home country mobile service network provider will be able to provide you with a SIM unlock code if you explain that you are travelling overseas and need to use a local SIM. In many cases you also have the right to demand that code, especially if your phone is 'out of contract'. Bottom line, if you plan to use a local SIM in your mobile when you arrive, check it is unlocked before you come, and do it early as some providers take up to two weeks to provide the SIM unlock code.

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