I've had my iPhone 4S officially unlocked by my carrier (Orange France) through Apple.
As instructed by Apple, I restored it in order to fully unlock it. Restoring it is supposed to make the unlock permanent therefore bypassing the need for activation when using different sims.
This worked perfectly until last week (I traveled to the UK and Brazil and used local prepaid cards without having to re-activate it) when I tried using a brand new French Free Mobile sim card. To my surprise, I had to re-activate this iPhone using a wifi connection. This shouldn't have happened as the iPhone had been fully and permanently unlocked by restoring it (iTunes confirmed this after the restoration).
Now, I have to reactivate it every time I want to use a different carrier sim card as if it had lost its permanent unlock.
Activation on a SIM basis works using wifi BUT I shouldn't have to go through this. It looks like the iPhone lost its permanent sim unlock. This is very frustrating. It might not seem like much of a trouble but it is. For instance, when flying to a foreign country, if I want to switch sim cards in the plane, I won't be able to activate the iPhone without wifi connectivity which forces me to "hunt" for a wifi hotspot after landing in order to be able to use my iPhone.
There are many reports of French users having issues with Free sims with either activation or unlock.
My question is simple: if I restore once again my iPhone, how can I be sure the permanent unlock will stay that way if I use a Free Mobile sim card?
Will this problem be fixed soon?
In addition, switching sim cards in a plane is problematic with current firmwares as, when switching sims in a non-permanently unlocked iPhone, wifi is automatically turned on in order to try and activate it without the user actively choosing to do so. So many people will end up having wifi on in a plane when regulation prohibits it.