Advice on unlocking a sony ericsson t616.
January 16, 2006 9:53 AM   Subscribe

I have a Sony Ericsson T616 currently locked and branded to AT&T's network. I am a current T-mobile customer and would like to unlock the phone to use with T-mob. Are there any places in SF or Sacramento that can unlock this phone for me, or where I can purchase the cable to unlock and flash it myself?

I've read the other threads on unlocking,and am pretty familar with the process. The AT&T phone has a non-active SIM card and boots and functions normally with it. It will not boot with my Tmobile sim card. Here are the main questions i'm looking to get answered:

1. Locations in SF or Sacramento that can unlock my cellphone, and what they will normally charge.

2. What cable/software I need to purchase in order to unlock an flash my cellphone and where am I likely to find them?

3. Are there advantages to getting the cable and DIY (cool things I can do with new firmwares, etc?) or am I better off letting other people do it?

4. Does remote unlocking work? Is it worth it? Who do you recommend?


Please don't tell me "just google it" -- this is a situation where there are SO many vendors in this particular market that worthwhile information gets necessarily obscured, and disinfo is plentiful. thanks.
posted by fishfucker to Technology (7 answers total)
Do you still have an account with ATT or Cingular or whatever they are calling themselves? If so, they can unlock it over the air. However, I heard Cingular isn't as cool about unlocking phones as T-Mobile. For T-Mobile, you need to only own the phone for 6 months and then call 611 and the next day you're free to use it anywhere.

Check out In the forums you'll find several people that have successfully done what you're looking to do.
posted by birdherder at 10:21 AM on January 16, 2006

Best answer: If you have the phone from a contract with AT&T, and you've ended the contract, just call them (or presumably Cingular at this point) and they should be able to e-mail you the unlock code within a couple days. If you're still under contract they might be able to do it in-store but I'm not sure. Unfortunately, it WON'T work with T-mobile (see my previous problems with the reverse switch).

BUT: if you like your t616 as much as I like my t610, I would be happy to arrange a trade with you. It's the same basic phone, but built for different network bands. The t610 will work for you on T-mobile, that's where I got it. Shoot me an e-mail if you're interested.
posted by kyleg at 10:26 AM on January 16, 2006

A ways back, like mid 2003, I used a website called They're out of the U.K., but use some guy elsewhere in Europe (if memory serves) to do the actual unlocking.

It's all over the air. You send them the IMEI number (they can tell you where to get the phone to spit it out), and then a few days later they send you the code and instructions.

Cost me $35. And it took a little while (more than a week, but they plead computer problmes). But it worked.
posted by zpousman at 10:36 AM on January 16, 2006

There's a shop in Vegas I used to unlock my old T616 - I cannot remember the name of it but I found them on Howard Forums. $25 bucks, which also included a firmware update, and they turned it around in less than a week.
posted by TeamBilly at 10:50 AM on January 16, 2006

Best answer: A hopefully useful subset of 'Just google it' is to look in Howard Forums - A few minutes there turned up This FAQ. - Which uses the older parallel unlock cable. You might be able to find a newer FAQ with more digging. Good luck!
posted by Orb2069 at 11:00 AM on January 16, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks for the answers, guys. I did "just google it" after getting reliable internet access* and I managed to find a copy of the schematics for the old-style terminator dongle. However, they looked too complex for me to build instead of buying (lots of little ics in there and you have to burn a board), so the options really came down to: $35 for the cable, or $35 to have someone else unlock it (I managed to find a guy in oakland who apparently will update the firmware and unlock the phone for that price).

I think the best answer here for me is to take up kyleg's generous trade offer for a t610 that's already t-mobile branded (thanks kyleg!). In the future, I guess I should expect that any non-nokia phone I purchase either needs to come unlocked or I should expect to pay an extra $35-40 to have it done.

* that's kind of why I wanted to avoid the "just google it" -- I was hoping I could get the phone unlocked in oakland while i was there, so the answer was time-sensitive and I didn't think I'd have an opportunity to do all the google-filtering myself. Also, I was hoping to get folks who mostly had prior experience with this sort of thing. Thanks!
posted by fishfucker at 12:00 PM on January 17, 2006

Response by poster: btw: if I am understanding the specs correctly, that the t616 *should* work for tmobile, as tmobile is apparently on the 1900 band, which both the t610 and the t616 cover. just wanted to mention that for other people who might read through this thread.
posted by fishfucker at 12:02 PM on January 17, 2006

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