Frequently Asked Questions About Cell Phones

FAQ's

How long can it take to receive my unlock code?
How do I find my IMEI?
Is unlocking my phone safe and legal?
Absolutely! Unlocking any device is completely safe and legal. Many of our unlock codes our even provided straight from the manufacturer! There is absolutely no risk involved when unlocking your device!
Why is my phone locked?
Cellular carriers will lock phones to prevent you from using the phone they sold you on any other carrier. This is to keep them from losing your business. Thankfully, our unlock codes allow you to remove this lock and gain access to all carriers!
Why would I want to Unlock my cell phone?
Once your mobile device is unlocked you will have the ability to insert almost any carriers SIM card in your device. It will allow you to travel the world and avoid pesky roaming fees. It will also allow you to change your device to different service providers without having to sign those lengthy contract terms.
What is “4G”?

Fourth Generation. A somewhat vague term used to describe wireless mobile radio technologies that offer faster data rates than 3G (third generation) technologies.

4G networks are also more data-centric and based on standard Internet technologies such as IP. Voice service, if provided over the 4G network, is typically provided using a special form of VoIP.

The most common technology worldwide recognized as 4G is LTE.

A less-common 4G technology is WiMAX, which Sprint initially deployed for 4G, before backtracking and deploying LTE instead.

Some carriers (service providers / network operators) – including T-Mobile and AT&T – have used the term “4G” to refer to upgraded 3G networks that provide near-4G data speeds even they are based on 3G technology.

SPA+ technology is the 3G upgrade that enables these faster speeds.

What is “3G”?

3G Stands for 3rd-generation. Analog cellular phones were the first generation. Digital phones marked the second generation (2G).

3G is loosely defined, but generally includes high data speeds, always-on data access, and greater voice capacity (more simultaneous calls per tower.)

The high data speeds are arguably the most important feature, and certainly the most marketed. They enable such advanced features as live, streaming video.

There are several different 3G technology standards. The most prevalent worldwide is WCDMA (also known as UMTS.) WCDMA is the 3G technology of choice for most carriers that used GSM as their 2G technology.

The other major 3G standard in the U.S. is CDMA 1x, which is an evolution of CDMA 2G technology. There are several types of CDMA 1x, each offering different data rates and levels of compatibility with 2G CDMA. CDMA 1xEV-DO Rev A. became the most common.

3G networks are being augmented – and eventually replaced – by 4G networks, which offer faster data speeds using more advanced radio technology.

What is “SYNC Pairing”?

Paring is connecting one device to another device. When your phone is connected to a wireless Bluetooth earpiece, the phone and the earpiece are Paired.

Two phones can also be paired in order to exchange information like entries from address book or other data.

What does “Jailbreak” or “Jailbreaking” mean?

To unlock a phone so that third-party software can be installed that is not approved by primary app store provider.

The term is most typically used with iPhones and other iOS devices, and refers to an unauthorized process that allows the phone to run software not approved by Apple.

What is a “Hard Reset”?

Also referred to as: Factory Rest or Master Reset) A hard reset, also known as a factory reset or master reset, is the restoration of a device to the state it was in when it left the factory. All settings, applications and data added by the user are removed. The term is often heard in reference to smart phones and tablets but laptop and desktop computers, as well as most other electronic devices, can usually be restored to factory conditions.

Factory reset may be accomplished through various procedures, depending on the particular device, or may be available as a device or operating system feature. Android Factory Reset, for example, is a feature that erases all settings, user data, third-party applications, and associated application data from an Android device’s internal flash memory.

The most common reasons to restore factory conditions are to fix a malfunctioning device or to remove user data before selling or otherwise disposing of a device or returning it to the manufacturer.

What is a “Soft Reset”?

A soft reset is a restart of a device, such as a smartphone, tablet, laptop or personal computer (PC). The action closes applications and clears any data in RAM (random access memory). Unsaved data in current use may be lost but data stored on the hard drive, applications and settings are not affected.

Soft resets are usually conducted in an attempt to fix malfunctioning applications or because they’re required for software installation. Soft reset contrasts with hard reset, which removes all user data, settings and applications and returns a device to the same state it was in when it shipped from the factory.

What is an “APN”?

Access Point Name. The hostname (Internet address) of a gateway that connects phones to the rest of the Internet. Most phones require such an access point (gateway) in order to access the Internet. The name of that access point must be correctly entered in the phone’s settings in order for the phone to find it on the network and thus connect to the Internet.

The APN should be the gateway that belongs to the carrier (AKA service provider or mobile network operator) matching the SIM card in the phone. For example, if the phone is using a T-Mobile account, then the APN may be something like “epc.tmobile.com” (example only).

Phones sold by carriers should come with APN and similar settings already configured. The APN should only need to be changed when setting up an unlocked phone with a new carrier. Users should consult their carrier’s support web site to find the APN settings for their phone.

What is an “Alternative Carrier”?

(Same network. Different carrier.) Alternative carriers are “alternative” companies that use the same wireless network, also known as Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNO), wholesale networks, or cellular “re-sellers”, of the major carriers. You get your phone and customer service from these companies instead of the underlying carrier. Some companies use more than one network and the type of wireless device determines whether a CDMA, GSM or WIMAX carrier is used. All features may not be available. This is where to look if you hate your carrier but love their network.

What is an “IMEI”?

The IMEI number is a unique 15-digit identification number for your phone, which is displayed when you press *#06# on your phone’s keypad. The IMEI is also printed on the back of your phone, usually underneath the battery.

What is "Unlocking"

Cell phone unlocking is the process by which a mobile phone can be allowed to work on any carrier network. Customarily, North American cell phones are sold as “locked” phones, meaning that they will only work with one service carrier. For example, if you purchased a discounted phone from T-Mobile along with a two year plan, you will not be able to use your phone with another plan from a different service provider — such as AT&T — after your contract ends, because your phone is locked onto the Verizon network.

In many cases, this process is reversible. In fact, all cell phones are originally manufactured as unlocked phones, but service carriers will usually lock any phones they sell in order to charge roaming fees if the phone is ever used outside their network. Cell phone unlocking can be as easy as entering an unlocking code, or may involve some more complicated maneuvers involving external equipment. Some cell phones can’t be unlocked at all. Other unlocking services require that the user sends in the phone’s International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI), a unique number used to identify the phone’s origin, model, and serial number, after which the unlocking code will be sent to the user. Still others require that the phone be sent in to their facilities for cell phone unlocking.

An unlocked cell phone provides the user with much more flexibility as to where and how they would like to use their phone. After unlocking, your phone could potentially be used in any part of the world, provided that the local carriers have compatible service on one of your phone’s frequency bands. However, cell phone unlocking does come with a price: many manufacturers will void a client’s warranty if third-party software was used to unlock the phone. Improper cell phone unlocking may also result in permanently locking the phone to a carrier, loss of personal data, or causing future incompatibilities with manufacturer-provided software upgrades.

If you want an unlocked cell phone without worries about permanently damaging your phone through the unlocking process, you can always buy an unlocked cell phone to begin, and then sign up with a carrier. Unlocked cell phones are available directly from the manufacturer, but also via online sites like eBay. These phones generally come from Asia or Europe, where the practice of locking cell phones is less common. They tend to be somewhat more expensive than phones sold by service carriers, because they do not come with any kind of plan agreement.

What is a “Carrier”?

A mobile carrier provides connectivity services to mobile phone subscribers. Mobile carriers must acquire a radio spectrum license from the governing authority, in order to be able to operate in the region of their choice.

The MVNOs (Mobile Virtual Network Operators), on the other hand, do not take possession of any base station, but instead, lease it from another operator in that area.

Also Known As: MNO (Mobile Network Operator), CSP (Carrier Service Provider), Wireless carrier, Cellular company

Examples: Good examples of mobile carriers are Verizon Wireless, AT&T, Vodafone, Airtel, Aircel and so on.

What does “Brick” or “Bricking” mean?

To render a device inoperable, making it as useful as a brick.

For example, if an OS software update to a phone goes wrong, it may leave the phone without a functioning OS, and therefore unable to start up. In this case, the update “bricked” the phone.

The term is also commonly used as a verb. For example, “I bricked my MP3 player when I tried to modify its firmware.”

In the common usage of the term, “bricking” suggests that the damage is so serious as to have rendered the device permanently unusable.

Mobile telephones have a fixed identification code, the IMEI; a telephone reported stolen can have its IMEI blocked by networks—effectively bricked—although anyone with the necessary expertise and equipment can usually change the IMEI.

In 2011, US Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) proposed that phones be “bricked” when reported stolen. Some local police chiefs agreed. In April 2012, the FCC announced that the service would be available later in the year.

What is a “Lock Screen”?

A lock screen is a user interface element used by various operating systems. They regulate immediate access to a device by requiring that the user perform a certain action in order to receive access: such as entering a password, using a certain button combination, or by performing a certain gesture using a device’s touchscreen. Lock screens on mobile devices often provide more functionality beyond unlocking the phone: such as notifications for emails and text messages, a date and time display, or shortcuts to certain applications.

What does “OEM” mean?

OEM (each letter pronounced individually) stands for ‘Original Equipment Manufacturer.’ The term, however, is misleading. OEMs are manufacturers who resell another company’s product under their own name and branding.

What is a “MEID”?

MEID is a replacement for ESN (electronic serial number). MEID began replacing ESN in 2005. ESN numbers are 32-bit, while MEID numbers are 56-bit. A 32-bit ESN means there are only 4 billion unique ESN numbers

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