Unlocking your mobile phone for free

Our lovely mobile networks have for the last 2-3 year been locking mobile phones provided by them. The “network lock” renders the mobile phone unusable when a SIM card from a different network provider is inserted. Using multiple SIM cards is especially handy when abroad because using a SIM from a local network is so much cheaper that roaming.
When you sign up for a mobile service contract (as opposed to Pay As You Go, PAYG), the network often gives you the chance to purchase a heavily subsidies phone.
I can understand that the operator wants to recuperate the cost of the phone but to keep recuperating that costs indefinitely I think is uncalled for.
There are “unofficial” methods to unlock your SonyEricsson phone but they cost, will most likely void any warranty and may in rare cases damage your phone. Nokia phone owners are more fortunate as Nokia phones can be unlocked without the need for any hardware and there are even sites that provide Nokia unlocking codes for free.
Instead I wanted to pursue a free and more civilised approach and thus decided to contact my Vodafone customer support and start arguing.
During the last 3 days I have been given several answers from Vodafone customer service:

  1. It cannot be done
  2. We do it because all other networks do it
  3. We have to contact the manufacturer (SonyEricsson), it will take weeks and cost you £30
  4. Just pop into a Vodafone shop and they will do it for you for £15
  5. Of course sir, your contract has expired and as such you have the full rights to your mobile phone. Here is the unlocking code

It was the customer support responsible for “Using your phone abroad” that was finally able to help. I recommend you to navigate (via the multiple choices phone system maze) to them if you are at the end of your contract and would like to reclaim your mobile phone.
Regarding the other UK operators such as T-mobile, Orange and O2 (BT) and I can only hope that they are reasonable enough.
The whole mobile phone locking reeks of anti-competitive practises that might possibly be contested with EU laws but nobody has chosen to take a mobile operator to court for those £15-£30.
Huzah, another consumer victory!
Update 18/08/05
Comments have been closed, please use the unlocking your mobile phone for free forum to post any questions or requests.

End of the Star Wars saga

So it was the 00:10 performance, probably the first public viewing of Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith. The official release date in the UK was Thursday, 19th and the ten past midnight just about satisfied that.
The general manager of the cinema held a little speech to the excited Star Wars geeks fans. He pronounced that he had seen the flick couple of hours earlier and that it really was “all that fcuking amazing”. We all thought good for you but let us watch the freaking movie so we can say the same.
Breathtaking start. Could possibly be the best action sequence of any of the six episodes. I was amazed at how much detail there was in each scene. Shows how much CG (computer generated graphics) has advanced since the first episode in 1999.
This was the part where the pretty boy (my female friends have told me) Anakin Skywalker would become Darth Vader. While that is common knowledge, we were all psyched to see how it would occur. This was the highlight of the movie, for me at least so it was good to see that Anakin’s transition to the dark side was a bit hasten but very enjoyable.
What will the future bring? It would be truly awesome to see the original three episodes (4, 5 and 6) remade but that may be too much to ask for. I have heard rumours that episodes 1-3 will be made in 3D version in the near future. There will also be a TV-show and various live performances (think amusement parks).
Regarding the episodes 7-9, George Lucas has once said that Star Wars was a “trilogy of trilogies” but more recently he has made it clear that episodes VII, IIX and IX will not be realised. Why is then that the whole Industrial Light & Magic team had to sign NDAs about the episodes 7-9 [TheForce.net] and that the British actor Peter Mayhew (plays Chewbacca) said that “his contract also stipulates that he’d be required to appear in Episodes 7, 8 and 9” [hotdogmagazine.com]?
Times seen: 1 2 3

Stop the press, 4-6 babies are on the way


Ok, calm down parents, it is not human babies. It is our golden retriever Ginger (AKA Poo Princess) that is pregnant.
The new addition to the family will be with us in just 5 weeks. You see, a dog pregnancy is 9 weeks only.
Expect a plethora of puppy photos.
Right, back to that serious S.L.A.I: Phantom Crash beta testing.