I bought an S10+ Verizon firmware from Swappa a few days ago. I intended to use it with T-Mobile. Good deal, good transaction, all good right? Wrong...
It was my understanding that most Verizon phones were unlocked and that I could just flash the Unlocked or T-Mobile firmware to get full T-Mobile functionality.
On receiving the phone I got a "This phone is locked, contact Verizon at etc etc" message. I shrugged and flashed it over to unlocked firmware, where I was met with an "Invalid SIM card. Network locked SIM card inserted." and "PIN to unlock SIM service provider" window. So the phone was locked. Here's my troubleshooting steps from there.
- Contacted Verizon support online. They said they lock all their phones for 60 days now as of late July. I said I'd bought it used, they said it had been bought at Walmart recently and there was nothing they could do.
- Contacted the seller. He gave me his proof of purchase that the phone was bought new from Samsung.com back in March. I used a site to check the IMEI and the phone was legit from March, and not reported stolen or sketchy at all. Samsung.com specifically says they don't lock their phones and it was well before the 60 day policy anyway.
- Contacted Verizon support where they said the phone was purchased as a Verizon phone so it can't be used with other networks. I should sign up for Verizon to enjoy all the features of my phone 🙄 ....and also have it activated on the network so it could be cleared and unlocked. Alright...
- I took the phone to a Verizon store where they put an active Verizon SIM in it. Verizon SIM worked great, T-Mobile still had an unlock code. The employee was confused and said they've never entered an Unlock PIN before so he sent me to corporate Verizon support store they had nearby.
- Corporate Verizon store was a ton more helpful and the guy called up their god-tier upper support guys. Those guys took over an hour fiddling with things and along the way determined that the phone and it's IMEI were all clear, not stolen, and unlocked. The previous owner had a clean account and was in good standing. The store guy said he'd never seen anything like this and in his four years he'd never entered a SIM pin before. They additionally made sure I hadn't accidentally encrypted my SIM with a pin (I hadn't) and that all the default Verizon 000000, 123456, and 111111 codes weren't going to work. They recommended I contact Samsung support.
- Samsung support thought I was an idiot and said that all the phones sold on their storefront are locked and I should contact Verizon to get it unlocked. I tried explaining all of the above but it was like talking to a brick wall.
So what have I tried?
- Flashed the phone from Verizon to Unlocked to T-Mobile to Unlocked firmware using Frija and patched Odin. Verizon firmware throws a "contact Verizon" message and sometimes a code window, unlocked gives me code window, and T-Mobile just says it's locked and doesn't give me anything.
- I have tried Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile SIMs from my friends. T-Mobile and AT&T work for a couple minutes completely normally on reboot. Connection establishes, data, text, and calls come in. Then it locks up and doesn't work. Verizon SIM works entirely normally, but doesn't unlock phone even after being left in for an hour.
Going forward I am going to try
Ask the internet for help. I've googled the living daylights out of this problem and I can't find anyone in my situation. Help?
Flash the phone back to Verizon firmware. Perhaps the unlock mechanism works somewhere in the firmware and only when it's connected to the Verizon network. Take it to the store, have them pop a Verizon SIM in for a bit, and hope for the best. Flashing from Unlocked to VZW firmware isn't working right now for some odd reason though. It's going back to TMB instead and I'm confused about that to.
- Figure out how to get non-incompetent support out of Verizon (though I've mostly gotten there already) or Samsung and see if someone can help me. When I had to unlock my T-Mobile S8 I bought from Samsung, the IMEI numbers weren't passed to T-Mobile so the regular support people said it was impossible. Eventually I got in contact with someone who broke me out of idiot-land and directly contacted a network engineer who solved the problem in less than 10 minutes. Maybe I can find a network engineer at Verizon?
- I could use a sketchy SIM unlock website. Is there any not-sketchy ones?