Why does my phone sometimes say it's 'restricted'?
September 29, 2006 7:32 AM   Subscribe

Is using a new SIM card confusing my mobile phone?

I bought a Nokia 6280 on a contract with Optus in Australia (specifically not network locked), and then moved to France, where I bought a prepaid (Orange) SIM card to use. With the French SIM in, sometimes the phone either doesn't 'boot' fully on powering on, instead stopping at a white screen saying 'phone restricted' and offering me the chance to enter the restriction code. Other times, it loads up fine. Further oddness - occiasionally when it's already on, possibly most often when I'm using it to listen to music, the phone goes from normal operation back to the 'restriction' screen. None of this happens with my original Optus SIM.

I have intermittent net access, so may not be able to promptly respond to answers
posted by jacalata to Technology (9 answers total)
Mobile phones are generally 'locked' to a certain provider and need to be 'unlocked' before you can use a SIM from a different provider. If you didn't unlock the phone before using the French SIM, I'm guessing this is why your phone is acting weird. Unlocking the phone should be pretty cheap (it's £10 or so in the UK).
posted by EndsOfInvention at 7:39 AM on September 29, 2006

I thought this at first, but I checked before buying it and was told that it was not locked to the Optus network. Also, I thought that if it were, it wouldn't be working at all (I should clarify that it behaves perfectly normally except for 10 minutes every 3 or so days).
posted by jacalata at 7:45 AM on September 29, 2006

You can call the provider and they will walk you through unlocking your phone. Tell them you're going overseas and you want to be able to buy a pre-paid sim card.
posted by wfc123 at 8:03 AM on September 29, 2006

From the Nokia Aussie/NZ website:

5. I have purchased the Nokia 6280 from Vodafone. I tried using an Optus SIM card yesterday and it shows 'Phone Restricted' on the display. How can I resolve this?

Please note that when a Nokia phone displays 'Phone Restricted, it indicates that the phone has either been SIM locked to a particular network or that there is possibly an issue with an application on the phone. We suggest that you check with the service provider on whether the unit has been SIM locked or otherwise. If the phone has been SIM locked, the best option would be to refer to the network that initiated the lock. If the phone has not been SIM locked, kindly take the phone in to a Nokia Care Centre with your Proof of Purchase.

posted by SeizeTheDay at 8:27 AM on September 29, 2006

So it could be a specific application causing this problem. My first instinct would be to have the phone reflashed, but if you're under warranty and don't mind waiting, I would send it to your local Nokia repair site.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 8:29 AM on September 29, 2006

Very many phones that are sold as "not locked" are, in fact, locked.
posted by jellicle at 8:56 AM on September 29, 2006

It could be that whoever unlocked it used a rather hackish method that left your phone unstable.
posted by reverendX at 11:46 AM on September 29, 2006

If you tell your carrier you're moving and switching carriers, they'll give you the unlock code.
posted by Mr. Gunn at 4:58 PM on September 29, 2006

Thanks for the responses. Given it's not really causing me trouble, I don't think it's worth trying to go through Nokia Care or contact my provider back in Australia - when I get back I might get it checked out.
posted by jacalata at 4:35 AM on September 30, 2006

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