[UPDATE: Samsung statement] Galaxy Note 3 SIM Restrictions – the full story & how to unlock
If you’ve been following this story, you’ll have seen that the Galaxy Note 3 comes with certain region-specific SIM restrictions. First we heard from Clove that the EU version would only accept an EU SIM card and after that we heard the same applied to the US region as well.
Yesterday we published the following video and now we’ve got the FULL story for you (from testing on several Note 3 devices):
Locked or Unlocked?
From our testing, we have found out that if you use a region-specific SIM FIRST, you’ll be able to use any SIM card you want after that. That means for us in the EU, we can use any EU SIM to “unlock” the device before using any other SIM card from around the world.
In our Note 3 (in the video above), we used a UAE SIM first which applied the lock to the device and meant we needed an unlock code before we could use a non-EU SIM. However, Alex from Android Central has found that once he activated his Galaxy Note 3 with a UK SIM first, he was able to use any global SIM card (he tested with T-Mobile USA).
Earlier today, we tested this with two other Galaxy Note 3 smartphones, both of which are EU specific and had been activated with a UK SIM card. Our UAE SIM worked in both of these devices with no issues.
If you use a region-specific SIM first, your handset will be unlocked for use with any region SIM card. However, if you’ve tried to activate with a non-region SIM card first, you’re stuck but fear not – hit the jump for our advice.
Locked? What now?
If your handset is locked (like ours in the video above), you have two options:
- Contact your local Samsung service centre as Samsung say they will be able to unlock your device for you (maybe with no charge).
- Purchase an unlock code for your handset.
We’ve managed to successfully unlock our Galaxy Note 3 by using a code from puman.ru which we can verify has unlocked our Galaxy Note 3. The website charges $25 USD to unlock EU Note 3 devices or $15 USD to unlock US AT&T handsets (there’s no unlock code for Verizon or Sprint handsets).
We’re waiting for Samsung to publish an official statement on this but now you know exactly how to make sure your Galaxy Note 3 is open for use with any SIM around the world.
UPDATE: We’ve tested our Note 3 (which we unlocked using a code) and an EU Note 3 that’s been unlocked using an EU SIM and BOTH continue to work after a hard reset.
UPDATE 2: Samsung has now issued us a full statement on the Galaxy Note 3 SIM restrictions.
Special thanks to Luc who has been helping us test this and put us in touch with the service above. Whilst we’ve been testing, Luc has been instrumental in helping us dig into this so thanks Luc!!!