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iPhone 5 from CPW LOCKED : HELP?

3736 Views 21 Replies Latest reply: Oct 15, 2013 6:26 AM by Peter Gillespie RSS Branched to a new discussion.
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doubleedged7 Calculating status...
Currently Being Moderated
Oct 24, 2012 10:41 AM

I purchased an iPhone 5 from Carphone Warehouse on the second day of its release in the UK, as it was advertised as "SIM-free". I thought this meant that the phone was unlocked, because I paid £529 for the 16GB iPhone 5, which is the same price at which Apple sells its iPhone. Subsequent to this, I purchased an Orange 12-month contract for my iPhone, and everything was fine, until I started encountering problems with my Orange SIM card. I decided to purchase a Three SIM to use, at least until the problems with Orange were sorted out. When I inserted it into the phone, however, I was met with absolute horror - my iPhone did not accept this new SIM, saying something along the lines of it needing to be activated by the "original carrier".


Upon further inspection, I discovered Carphone Warehouse had a hidden caveat - SIM-free simply meant it did not come with a SIM when sold. However, it did not mean the phone was unlocked, as it would lock itself to the first UK SIM placed inside it. Furthermore, the phone would cease to function with a non-UK SIM.


This was absolutely ridiculous, and the aforementioned have caused me many problems of late. How should I go about unlocking my phone, so that I will be able to use it with any carriers, as well as outside the UK?


Kind regards.

iPhone 5, iOS 6
  • Peter Gillespie Level 6 Level 6 (10,780 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 24, 2012 10:49 AM (in response to doubleedged7)

    Nothing you can do

    That is why they have stock

    Anyone who wants an iPhone on contract can get one for a lot less than CPW from a carrier

    The genuine unlocked iPhone is ONLY available rom Apple is the same price

    You have been stitched up I am afraid

    As you now know sim free is NOT unlocked

  • KiltedTim Level 8 Level 8 (36,005 points)
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    Oct 24, 2012 10:49 AM (in response to doubleedged7)

    As you've discovered, Carphone Warehouse does NOT sell unlocked iPhones.


    ONLY the carrier it is locked to can unlock it.


    Since it's locked to Orange, you'll have to work it out with them.

  • ChrisJ4203 Level 7 Level 7 (26,520 points)
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    Oct 24, 2012 6:31 PM (in response to doubleedged7)

    They are the only ones that can authorize the unlock. If they say 3 months, then it is 3 months. Nothing any of us users can do to help, and Apple does not unlock phones.

  • ChrisJ4203 Level 7 Level 7 (26,520 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 24, 2012 9:04 PM (in response to doubleedged7)

    Orange is the carrier the phone is locked to. Doesn't matter where you purchased it at, the carrier the phone is locked to is the only one that can authorize the unlock. It appears that Orange offers the service, but you need to meet their criteria. Sounds like you will have to wait.

  • Ethmoid Level 6 Level 6 (9,700 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 25, 2012 1:39 AM (in response to doubleedged7)

    Carphonewarehouse can't do anything about it.  Orange is the carrier that your phone is locked to and they are the only ones that can unlock your phone for you, so you'll have to wait 3 months and then pay them £20 to unlock it for you.


    The only thing that you can do is return the phone to Carephonewarehouse for a full refund if you are within the return period?  This would also mean that you would have to cancel your contract with Orange, but if you cancel a contract, you end up having to pay because effectively, if you cancel before your 12 months is up, you are buying yourself out of the contract.


    Carphonewarehouse can't really do anything to help you in this instance because they can't unlock the phone for you either, only Orange can do that.  They have not mis-sold you a phone either because they will say that you purchased the phone SIM free which is not the same as unlocked.


    You have 2 choices here:-


    1.  Keep the phone and keep your contract with Orange and stay with them for the required 3 month period and then pay them £20 to unlock the phone for you and then you can use it however you want.


    2.  Go back to Carphonwarehouse and if your phone is still within the return period, return it to them for a full refund and cancel your contract with Orange.  Then start again and purchase a new and fully unlocked iPhone 5 from Apple directly and away you go.


    Of those 2 options though, number 1. would probably be the most sensible now.

  • ChrisJ4203 Level 7 Level 7 (26,520 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 25, 2012 10:34 AM (in response to doubleedged7)

    If you are within the 14 day period, it is your decision on how you want to proceed. I think you know the questions you want to ask now to ensure you have not only a SIM free phone, but an unlocked phone as well.

  • Peter Gillespie Level 6 Level 6 (10,780 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 25, 2012 2:39 PM (in response to doubleedged7)

    doubleedged7 wrote:


    This is what is written on Carphone Warehouse's website:

    You can swap your SIM free phone for a different handset within 14 days of buying it.

    You can only swap your phone for a different model once.

    You can't return your phone and get a refund.


    So I suppose the only option to go for would be option 1?

    Problem is CPW do not sell unlocked iPhones best you can do is return

    and exchange for another iPhone which will lock to the next  sim you first use ,3 ????

    You may have a case if they misled you ,they do not offer up front that it is not

    unlocked only if pushed and then will admit it just comes without a carrier subsidy 

    and they charge retail price 

  • beesleys Calculating status...
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    Jan 29, 2013 3:25 PM (in response to doubleedged7)

    Although no one has replayed for a while now I'm wondering if anyone is encountering the same as me.


    I pre-ordered my iPhone 5 on a two year contract with orange from Carphone warehouse and all has been dandy until now.....


    .... In may I will be traveling to the USA and want to put an American SIM in for the duration of my stay, I searched the Internet and found that I do indeed fit the criteria to have Orange unlock my phone, great, I thought!!!!!


    Orange are claiming they cannot unlock the phone as it was bought through CPW and I need to contact them to handle, I explained that only the carrier an unlock the phone and after all my account is with Orange and not CPW.  They have advised all types of ludicrous ways around this including taking my phone to a local independent phone shop and have them jailbreak it!!!!


    I have now found finally found someone from orange helpers who is prepared to process the unlock to see what will happen.


    They have confirmed if the phone was bought direct from the, they would defiantly unlock it - for a charge.


    If anyone else has had this experience with Orange or any other network I would love to hear what happen and I will of course update if I make any progress

  • Rossco24 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 13, 2013 12:38 PM (in response to beesleys)

    hey ,i have the exact same problem and have been on the phone to orange for 5 days now ,they are telling me to just restore my phone as they cannot do anything to unlock it?
    how did you get on with unlocking the phone ?

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