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unlocking Sprint's Motorola Photon - use in Australia

unlocking Sprint's Motorola Photon - use in Australia

Old Aug 19, 11, 2:23 am
  #1  
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unlocking Sprint's Motorola Photon - use in Australia

I'm with Sprint - no complaints with them - and will be upgrading to a new phone in the next 2 weeks. Have been comparing the Evo 3G, Motorola Photon and Samsung Galaxy S2 (not yet released).

Motorola Photon is Sprint's only world phone so nice plus for it. However, I want to double / triple check that I understand this correctly. Here is what Sprint tells me when I ask if this phone will work in Australia...

Code:
"Motorola Photon is a world phone and can be used while in Australia. 
However you need to activate the International roaming services on the 
account so that you don't face interruption while using the services.

Due to technology differences, it is not possible to activate this 
handset with other providers. "
It's that last part I don't get. Does that mean I won't be able to unlock it, pop in a new SIM card, etc? I don't want to use Sprint's International roaming. Thanks for help!
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Old Aug 19, 11, 2:49 am
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I have the phone but haven't try using it outside of US yet. But based on other world phones I had with Sprint (HTC TP 2 and BB9650), the phone is unlock already, but the radio firmware ignore all AT&T and Tmobile towers here in the US even though the phone is capable to do so. But once you are out of US, you will be able to use any local SIM just like any other unlock GSM phone. At least that is what I did last year when I was in Sydney.
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Old Aug 19, 11, 7:07 pm
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Thanks mobilebucky, I appreciate the input.
BTW, how did you have the phone as early as last year? I didn't think it was released here until fairly recently? Did you buy it overseas?
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Old Aug 19, 11, 9:14 pm
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Originally Posted by alief View Post
Thanks mobilebucky, I appreciate the input.
BTW, how did you have the phone as early as last year? I didn't think it was released here until fairly recently? Did you buy it overseas?
He's talking about his TP2, which I also easily popped SIM's into.
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Old Aug 20, 11, 2:15 pm
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My best friend just moved to Oz this week. I bought a Truphone SIM for Oz. I considered by a local one down there, but decided that it was a good enough deal and easy to keep alive from outside the country. After a great deal of experience with UK Mobile market, I was very underwhelmed by the Australian market where connection charges were the norm. They soften the blow with a number of flat rate talk deals which let you talk for one minute or twenty minutes for the same price. The problem is that too many of my calls are in the one to two minute range.
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Old Aug 20, 11, 9:27 pm
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I got a Photon last week and in October will be in Europe (Italy) and am hoping to use it with a local (voafone.it) SIM mainly for data and as a hotspot.

So - if anyone can confirm no problems using the Photon with a non-Sprint, non-US SIM both standalone and as a hotspot, I would appreciate it.

Thanks
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Old Aug 21, 11, 12:43 am
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Originally Posted by Dubai Stu View Post
...the Australian market where connection charges were the norm.
Might be worth having a look at Amaysim (none) or Everyday Mobile (low connection charges).

Both are resellers for the Optus network, which is a pretty decent GSM & 900/2,100MHz 3.5G network.
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Old Aug 21, 11, 12:56 am
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Originally Posted by alief View Post
Motorola Photon is Sprint's only world phone so nice plus for it...

Does that mean I won't be able to unlock it, pop in a new SIM card, etc? I don't want to use Sprint's International roaming. Thanks for help!
According to Wiki , the Photon will work on the Australian GSM networks (900 & 1,800MHz), and on some of the 3G networks (850 & 2,100MHz).

The GSM networks in Australia are really only capital city and major regional areas, and the 2,100 MHz 3G are the same.

BY FAR the best option for this device in Australia is to buy a Telstra "NextG" prepaid SIM card. Next G is a very fast 850 MHz HSUPA network with 99% coverage in Australia.

DO not buy a Vodafone 850MHz prepaid SIM card. Not yet anyway!
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Old Aug 21, 11, 12:59 am
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Originally Posted by Dubai Stu View Post
My best friend just moved to Oz this week. I bought a Truphone SIM for Oz.
17 cents/minute to *receive* a call with Truphone? Personally I think I'll be sticking to one of the Australia providers - at least then receiving calls is free.
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Old Aug 21, 11, 8:58 am
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Originally Posted by docbert View Post
17 cents/minute to *receive* a call with Truphone? Personally I think I'll be sticking to one of the Australia providers - at least then receiving calls is free.
It is not 17 cents a minute on the OZ number. Inbound calls are free. It is $0.17 a minute on the US number while roaming in Oz.
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Old Aug 29, 11, 2:43 pm
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FYI - from what I am seeing on a number of Android boards there may be problems using the Photon for data internationally with local SIM. Summary:

1) Photon is unlocked world phone so you can pop in a non-US SIM;
2) Voice seems to work OK;
3) Conflicting reports on data. Some say that it works for them, others report problems. Problem seems to revolve around ability to set APN appropriate for local SIM and some indication there is finger pointing between Sprint and Moto over who is source of problem.

I have an interest in the resolution as I will be in Italy in October and planned on using Photon as hotspot with a Vodafone IT SIM.

I'd work on resolving it but since that can only be done outside of US (as the Photon is locked out of responding to ATT/TMO GSM towers), I can't.

So, if anyone has any experience using the Photon for data abroad, would love to hear about it.

Thanks in advance
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Old Sep 26, 11, 1:07 pm
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Any other updates on this? I too am headed to Australia and thinking about either getting the Photon and a local SIM, or leasing a phone while I'm there. The leases are cheap, but looks like calls only, I would like a smart phone.

My questions!

1) You can buy the Photon unlocked, but not from Sprint. If I buy the phone, how do I get the Sprint SIM so I can use it on my existing plan?

2) If I buy it from Sprint, how do I unlock it? (not unlock the existing SIM, that just allows it to roam and they really gouge on international rates.)

3) Is there an Australian SIM that will allow the smart features (data) to work or are they all just GSM?

Thank You!
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Old Sep 28, 11, 9:08 pm
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Originally Posted by kirinaz View Post
My questions!

3) Is there an Australian SIM that will allow the smart features (data) to work or are they all just GSM?

Thank You!
Welcome to FT, kirinaz...

Originally Posted by willyroo View Post
BY FAR the best option for this device in Australia is to buy a Telstra "NextG" prepaid SIM card. Next G is a very fast 850 MHz HSUPA network with 99% coverage in Australia.
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Old Oct 1, 11, 12:01 pm
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Originally Posted by kirinaz View Post
Any other updates on this? I too am headed to Australia and thinking about either getting the Photon and a local SIM, or leasing a phone while I'm there. The leases are cheap, but looks like calls only, I would like a smart phone.

My questions!

1) You can buy the Photon unlocked, but not from Sprint. If I buy the phone, how do I get the Sprint SIM so I can use it on my existing plan?

2) If I buy it from Sprint, how do I unlock it? (not unlock the existing SIM, that just allows it to roam and they really gouge on international rates.)

3) Is there an Australian SIM that will allow the smart features (data) to work or are they all just GSM?

Thank You!
1) if you buy it from someone other that Sprint, if you talk to Sprint to provision, you won't need a SIM card as Sprint is CDMA and they don't use SIM cards to provision.

2) my understanding is that it is unlocked for a third party SIM for use with non-US GSM providers but Sprint will tell you that you are on your own and they don't support third party SIMs. Generally, that's not a problem for voice use but could be problematic for data

3) If you are abroad, the "smart features (data)" will have to go through GSM (that's normal) except in a very few weird places that have CDMA. The Photon supports UMTS 1900/2100 MHZ which will give you up to 7.2 mbps down.

Finally - don't plan on using your unlocked Photon on TMO (US) as their UMTS bands are 1700/2100 so you'll only get GPRS data speeds with them.
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Old Oct 5, 11, 8:52 pm
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Well I just bought a photon from eBay, getting it here to New Zealand. I don't use internet through my sim card, only wifi, and the occasional call, I mostly txt. Will this affect me in any way?

Thanks
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