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ATT variant S21 purchased at retail from Samsung.com is locked to carrier and ATT unlock does not recognize IMEI? Anyone else have this issue?

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[email protected]

New member
Jul 4, 2018
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ATT variant S21 purchased at retail from Samsung.com locked to carrier and ATT unlock does not recognize IMEI. Have already escalated to highest tier ATT and Samsung support offered to the public. In ATT's world, if a device is not in their IMEI database, it's not an ATT phone. Samsung claims that unlock codes were automatically shared with ATT when the phone was manufactured. They claim that after the codes are sent, they have no access to the data to provide an individual unlock code at a later date, even at ATT's request.

ATT claims they never received an unlock code for the phone which is why the IMEI is not in their unlock database. Their logic is that if the IMEI is not in their unlock database, it means they never received the unlock code. This logic leaves no room for the possibility of human error or a glitch in syncing data. Oddly, the IMEI is in ATT's warranty database. On ATT support tech suggested that only branded phones sold by ATT stores were supported with unlock codes. This raise the question as to why Samsung would sell a phone that cannot be unlocked and why they would lock it in the first place when it is not being sold on contract?

ATT has requested the unlock code from Samsung during one of my support calls and the request was denied. Samsung CS reiterated the position that they had already provided all codes and no longer had access to them. Third party unlocking services struck out with the IMEI. I can RMA the phone back to Samsung under warranty but likely face the same issue with the replacement. I could try to exchange it in an ATT store as it's in their warranty system but would like to not be setting up a new phone when all I am requesting is a code to remove a soft lock. Samsung's annual preorder trade up deal requires that phones be unlocked which is ironic since this one will likely remain locked indefinitely because the carrier and the manufacturer can't get on the same page. Most consumers with these phones will not realize they can't be unlocked during the Samsung warranty period.

Anyone else have this issue?
 
Last edited:

entropism

Senior Member
Jul 21, 2007
1,674
349
Linden, NJ
OnePlus 7T
Google Pixel 4a 5G
If you buy a carrier variant through samsung, you are going to get a locked device. Always buy unlocked if you want it unlocked.

That being said, I've been through this about a dozen times with AT&T. This is what needs to be done:

1- First, try the device unlock portal. This will inevitably fail, because the device isn't in their database. This is fine.

2 - Contact AT&T and be prepared to speak to people who have NO idea what you're talking about. If they say it can't be done, politely end the call and call back in. Ask to speak to *advanced* tech support. Explain that you got the device from Samsung, and you need the IMEI added to the database so you can get the device unlocked.

3 - Explain that you already tried the unlock portal, and they need to email the device unlock team to add the IMEI and get the device unlocked. This takes anywhere from 48 hours to a week, and might get rejected once or twice. If it does, go back to step 2.

4 - If you don't want to deal with that bullshit, you can go on ebay and purchase a device unlock. You can either have them search the database for the code (PROBABLY won't work) or some sellers will remotely connect to your machine to unlock the device. I did it in the past for $30, looks like it's $60 these days.
 

[email protected]

New member
Jul 4, 2018
4
0
I am seeking a high level contact at Samsung because this is a B2B policy issue which their technical support team, after multiple calls, has been unable and unwilling to help resolve. If anyone on XDA has a high level contact person at Samsung, please DM me. I will put them in direct contact with the AT&T Office of the Executive personnel attempting to resolve this issue and insure that it does not impact other customers.
 

entropism

Senior Member
Jul 21, 2007
1,674
349
Linden, NJ
OnePlus 7T
Google Pixel 4a 5G
Did you read my post? That is, step by step, exactly how to solve your issue. if you followed my instructions it would have been unlocked by now.

This has nothing to do with Samsung, this is an AT&T issue. And trying to find a "high level contact person" won't do you any good.

Follow. The. Instructions.