How can I use a pre-paid sim card in my T-Mobile handset outside the US?
February 18, 2004 1:34 PM   Subscribe

I have a question about how to get my Sony Ericsson T-300 phone to take sim cards outside the U.S. [more inside]

I am going to Rwanda in a few weeks and was hoping I could use my Sony Ericsson phone there with a prepaid sim card. I had tried using this phone in India this past December but the phone didn't recognize any of the sim cards I put in. Any advice on how to make this work?
posted by buddha9090 to Technology (9 answers total)
Is it T-Mobile? I brought my T-Mobile T300 to Manila last Christmas, figuring that it would work with local prepaid SIMs since it's a triband unit. Unfortunately it turns out that these branded GSM phones are SIM-locked; you can only use other T-Mobile SIMs in it. So I was stuck with roaming. Very pricy, $2/minute roaming.

It's likely, however, that there are cheap "phone unlocking" services in Rwanda. I was thinking of doing it in Manila, but I was only there for a week anyway. ;)
posted by brownpau at 1:53 PM on February 18, 2004

Response by poster: Sorry - yes it is T-Mobile. I'll take a look for "unlocking" services. It would seem that the point of having a gsm phone would be the greater flexibility for people that travel a lot. Oh well.
posted by buddha9090 at 2:13 PM on February 18, 2004

You can unlock the phone yourself with this cable and this service. Total cost about $35. Disclaimer: haven't tried it.
posted by kindall at 2:16 PM on February 18, 2004

Over in google news groups, it's said that T-Mobile will tell you the unlock code for free if you've owned the phone for longer than 90 days.
posted by coelecanth at 2:52 PM on February 18, 2004

If you've owned the phone for >6 mths t-mobile will unlock your phone. You have to call them and they'll send you an unlock code via email. You might have to talk to a few CSRs before someone knows what you're talking about.

I'm using my unlocked T-mobile phone right now in Mexico and haven't looked back at the $2US/min charges.

(on preview, what coelecanth said)

slightly related question: there's a thing you can get to have two sims on your gsm phone simultaneously. what are that called?
posted by birdherder at 3:00 PM on February 18, 2004

If your T-Mobile phone is 3 months old, call customer service, and ask for it to be unlocked, it takes a few days to get the unlock code, and once you do, just follow the procedure and you're set.
posted by riffola at 3:16 PM on February 18, 2004

Another thing you could try is, if you've owned your T-Mobile phone for 3 months, just call T-Mobile and ask them to unlock it for you :-)
posted by coelecanth at 3:22 PM on February 18, 2004

to have two sims on your gsm phone simultaneously. what are that called?
There are phones available (very very few) that will take two SIM cards and allow you to switch between cards to make calls, but this is the only way I know of to do this.
posted by dg at 3:42 PM on February 18, 2004

Birdherder: Check out Dual Sim. I've not dealt with them, or any of the other companies that make a similar crazy dongle (most are out of the UK). But they exist, at least for some model phones.

I had a sim unlock code generated by Unlock that Mobile in December. It took a while, but I didn't have to send the phone to them at all. This was an AT&T phone, and AT&T adamantly refused to unlock the phone. Suckers. Now it's on T-Mobile.
posted by zpousman at 3:59 PM on February 18, 2004

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