How do you freely "debrand" a phone?
April 22, 2007 8:22 AM   Subscribe

Is there a free method to "debrand" a phone? (And is there OS X software?)

Sony Ericsson W810i here, complete with Cingular crippling. I've come across some information on how to "debrand" the phone to unlock locked features, but it requires money and Windows.

Is there a free, Mac solution? Is there an either-or solution?
posted by stance to Technology (5 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I haven't seen one. I've used the Window's software to unlock [allow you to use on any GSM network], debrand [take the Cingular or other branding off the phone] and re-region [my last phone, although unlocked came with E.Europe languages + Intl English. I wanted the W.Europe or Latin American version so I can SMS mi amiga en méxico with tildes and accents] my SE phones. I have access to a Windows XP system I can use. You might have to borrow a friend's Windows system -- it only takes 5 minutes and you can take all the software off when you're done. You have to buy credits but about 10€ or so gets your phone unlocked.

There's a Sony Ericsson enthusiast site that might be worth searching. My current SE phone I bought unlocked/unbadged so I haven't been keeping up on the latest and greatest. Perhaps the forums there will lead you to an answer.
posted by birdherder at 8:44 AM on April 22, 2007

Some GSM phones should be "unlocked" also, if you wish to use them with a different carrier.
posted by cmiller at 8:53 AM on April 22, 2007

This thread on HoFo claims to be a one-stop for flashing/modding the firmware on that model. If you can't find the software they mention, google for them. Make sure your virus definitions and system snapshots are up-to-date before downloading software from strange people.

You probably can't get around needing Windows: Every piece of phone flashing software I've ever seen runs on it, and trying to flash your phone via emulation seems like an good way to brick it. Worst comes to worst, rent a machine from somewhere over the weekend or buy a 1ghz desktop off of Craigslist for $50.
posted by Orb2069 at 10:37 AM on April 22, 2007

low-tech logo removal.
posted by YoBananaBoy at 10:39 AM on April 22, 2007

Yobananaboy, I'm assuming that that you're joking? Seriously, who cares about some sticker on a phone? stance wants to debrand it so it can actually be used, not so he can stick it to the Man.

But to answer the question, if you live in a large city odss are good that somewhere there are people who can unlock your phone for you.

This might sound horribly racist, but it's entirely true: for this you want to go to the immigrant communities. Immigrants are resourceful, they don't want to spend more money than they have to, and they need to stay in touch with loved ones back home. They are going to know more about this than anyone else.

You don't say where you live. If you're from the US, either an Asian or a Mexican grocery story should be your first stop. There will be some kind of service desk there with loads and loads of phone cards tacked to the wall. The person behind the desk will be able to help you.

Oh, and yes, anyone who does this will charge a fee. But it won't be much -- no more than $10-15 I'm guessing.

They will almost certainly not be using a Mac themselves -- more likely a bootleg copy of Windows -- and what they are doing is most certainly illegal. But in my opinion, it's fair,since mobile companies really do appear to be going out of their way to be jerkfaces.

Anyway, unlocking is the way you want to go.
posted by Deathalicious at 6:03 PM on April 22, 2007

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