Discussion:
Technical question: How can a GSM carrier "track you down" using an illegally-unlocked phone?
(too old to reply)
Joe Mastroianni
2013-01-27 16:04:45 UTC
Permalink
How would the GSM carrier know you're using an illegally unlocked
phone and, why would THEY care if that illegally-unlocked phone
was initially subsidized by another carrier?

This article today on the new copyright ruling:
http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-57565730-1/unauthorized-unlocking-of-smartphones-becomes-illegal-saturday/
says the carrier will track you down if you're using an unlocked phone.

I don't understand HOW the carrier can even tell if you're using an
illegally-unlocked phone in most cases - nor why they'd care if you're
using a phone initially subsidized by a different carrier???
deadrat
2013-01-27 17:05:54 UTC
Permalink
Post by Joe Mastroianni
How would the GSM carrier know you're using an illegally unlocked
phone and, why would THEY care if that illegally-unlocked phone
was initially subsidized by another carrier?
http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-57565730-1/unauthorized-unlocking-of-smartphones-becomes-illegal-saturday/
says the carrier will track you down if you're using an unlocked phone.
I don't understand HOW the carrier can even tell if you're using an
illegally-unlocked phone in most cases -
Probably difficult without the cooperation of the carrier you've
illegally jumped to. Your original carrier could probably tell if your
unlocked phone roamed to their network.
Post by Joe Mastroianni
nor why they'd care if you're
using a phone initially subsidized by a different carrier???
It's not the new carrier you're using who cares. It's the original
carrier who subsidized your phone.
cameo
2013-01-27 19:29:51 UTC
Permalink
Post by deadrat
Post by Joe Mastroianni
nor why they'd care if you're
using a phone initially subsidized by a different carrier???
It's not the new carrier you're using who cares. It's the original
carrier who subsidized your phone.
This puts T-Mobile with its new handset financing plans at an
advantage because those plans are installment plans instead of old
fashioned rate-financed subsidies. As such, T-Mobile should not care if
such customers end up using their phones on AT&T because they would
still owe the installment payments.
deadrat
2013-01-27 20:39:13 UTC
Permalink
Post by cameo
Post by deadrat
Post by Joe Mastroianni
nor why they'd care if you're
using a phone initially subsidized by a different carrier???
It's not the new carrier you're using who cares. It's the original
carrier who subsidized your phone.
This puts T-Mobile with its new handset financing plans at an
advantage because those plans are installment plans instead of old
fashioned rate-financed subsidies. As such, T-Mobile should not care if
such customers end up using their phones on AT&T because they would
still owe the installment payments.
If you're "locked" to T-Mobile, then you pay to use the T-Mobile
network. When you use another network, T-Mobile doesn't get any revenue
from your airtime.
cameo
2013-01-28 01:03:25 UTC
Permalink
Post by deadrat
If you're "locked" to T-Mobile, then you pay to use the T-Mobile
network. When you use another network, T-Mobile doesn't get any revenue
from your airtime.
Yes, but if they don't really subsidize anything, what basis would they
have to lock your phone? After all, One can just buy the phone outright
unlocked and pay or not pay them the same revenue.
Joe Mastroianni
2013-01-28 02:36:48 UTC
Permalink
Post by cameo
Yes, but if they don't really subsidize anything, what basis would they
have to lock your phone? After all, One can just buy the phone outright
unlocked and pay or not pay them the same revenue.
huh?
deadrat
2013-01-28 02:45:09 UTC
Permalink
Post by cameo
Post by deadrat
If you're "locked" to T-Mobile, then you pay to use the T-Mobile
network. When you use another network, T-Mobile doesn't get any revenue
from your airtime.
Yes, but if they don't really subsidize anything, what basis would they
have to lock your phone? After all, One can just buy the phone outright
unlocked and pay or not pay them the same revenue.
Sorry, I don't understand your comment. You pay a low price for a
locked phone or a high price for an unlocked phone. If you pay a low
price, your carrier wants to make sure they make money on your airtime
on their network. If you pay a high price, then you've paid up front,
and your carrier isn't so concerned with keeping you in-network.
cameo
2013-01-28 02:55:37 UTC
Permalink
Post by deadrat
Sorry, I don't understand your comment. You pay a low price for a
locked phone or a high price for an unlocked phone. If you pay a low
price, your carrier wants to make sure they make money on your airtime
on their network. If you pay a high price, then you've paid up front,
and your carrier isn't so concerned with keeping you in-network.
Yes, but T-Mo is getting rid off those classic subsidy plans, replacing
them with installment plans where the monthly installment is added to
your phone plan rate till the phone is paid off. With this model they
get their money back for the phone even if you use it on another
carrier. They also make some extra money on you by financing the
handset, just like a car dealer that finances your new car.
deadrat
2013-01-28 06:57:05 UTC
Permalink
Post by cameo
Post by deadrat
Sorry, I don't understand your comment. You pay a low price for a
locked phone or a high price for an unlocked phone. If you pay a low
price, your carrier wants to make sure they make money on your airtime
on their network. If you pay a high price, then you've paid up front,
and your carrier isn't so concerned with keeping you in-network.
Yes, but T-Mo is getting rid off those classic subsidy plans, replacing
them with installment plans where the monthly installment is added to
your phone plan rate till the phone is paid off. With this model they
get their money back for the phone even if you use it on another
carrier. They also make some extra money on you by financing the
handset, just like a car dealer that finances your new car.
A quick check of the T-Mobile site shows that the classic subsidy plans
are alive and well. Their "value" plans trade off full priced phones
for supposedly cheaper service, some of which claim to offer no interest
installment plans. (Could be that no one qualifies for those.)

I admit that there's less incentive for T-mobile to keep you on the
T-mobile network if you've paid $119.99 for a Samsung T159 upfront
instead of getting it for $19.99. But there's never any incentive to
let you use another carrier's network.
Joe Mastroianni
2013-01-28 09:06:24 UTC
Permalink
Post by deadrat
But there's never any incentive to
let you use another carrier's network.
I agree.

I analyzed the system and I think I ended up with a "good deal"
(given the available choices) by purchasing a pay-as-you-go ZTE Concord
T-Mobile Android phone at a department store for about $80 on sale.

Then, I had T-Mobile send me a new $5/month T-Mobile SIM, adding one line
to my existing T-Mobile family plan, incurring an additional 2-year
contract time for that one line.

By doing so, my nominal (exclusive of taxes & additional fees) cost for
the (admittedly cheap) locked Android phone & 1 line of service was $200
for two years, or $100 per year, amortized.

Then, after a few months on the plan, I had T-Mobile unlock the Android
phone (still being committed to T-Mobile for that one line for two years).

All in all, I couldn't find a better way to use the existing system to my
advantage. Can you?

Note: I'd compare with AT&T but the fact they enforce data plans, even on
non-subsidized unlocked smart phones, makes the choice of AT&T highly
unpalatable.
cameo
2013-01-28 20:47:51 UTC
Permalink
Post by deadrat
A quick check of the T-Mobile site shows that the classic subsidy plans
are alive and well. Their "value" plans trade off full priced phones
for supposedly cheaper service, some of which claim to offer no interest
installment plans. (Could be that no one qualifies for those.)
I haven't said that the classic subsidy plans are gone. I was just
indicating what T-Mobile is moving toward. If you don't believe me,
maybe you believe this article:

<http://techland.time.com/2012/12/10/t-mobiles-new-plan-goodbye-subsidies-hello-installments/>
Post by deadrat
I admit that there's less incentive for T-mobile to keep you on the
T-mobile network if you've paid $119.99 for a Samsung T159 upfront
instead of getting it for $19.99. But there's never any incentive to
let you use another carrier's network.
Of course there isn't. I was just saying that T-Mo has less incentive
for it than AT&T because they don't lose as much with a customer moving
on with their phones than -- say -- AT&T would. But churning is never
something carriers are happy about.
DevilsPGD
2013-01-28 22:08:27 UTC
Permalink
Post by cameo
Post by deadrat
A quick check of the T-Mobile site shows that the classic subsidy plans
are alive and well. Their "value" plans trade off full priced phones
for supposedly cheaper service, some of which claim to offer no interest
installment plans. (Could be that no one qualifies for those.)
I haven't said that the classic subsidy plans are gone. I was just
indicating what T-Mobile is moving toward. If you don't believe me,
<http://techland.time.com/2012/12/10/t-mobiles-new-plan-goodbye-subsidies-hello-installments/>
In Canada we have a bit of a hybrid system, at least with TELUS, you get
a phone at a subsidized price, but owe the full unsubsidized cost to the
carrier. If you're on a 36 month contract, each month 1/36th of the
original subsidy goes away.

In this way, the carrier isn't out anything (other than acquisition
costs, which are their own choice and their own problem), you can choose
to upgrade or buy out at any time by paying the difference.
Post by cameo
Of course there isn't. I was just saying that T-Mo has less incentive
for it than AT&T because they don't lose as much with a customer moving
on with their phones than -- say -- AT&T would. But churning is never
something carriers are happy about.
Sure it is, when it's somebody else's churn and the customer is coming
to them. As long as the market continues to grow and the number of
competitors doesn't, churn hurts a lot less until/unless one competitor
falls behind on their network/plans/devices/etc in some significant way.
--
The nice thing about standards, there is enough for everyone to have their own.
Joe Mastroianni
2013-01-28 23:32:02 UTC
Permalink
T-Mo has less incentive for it than AT&T because they don't lose as much
with a customer moving on with their phones than -- say -- AT&T would.
But churning is never something carriers are happy about.
It's a bit off topic, but, I 'churned' from AT&T to T-Mobile recently
simply because AT&T refused to allow my kid to have an unlocked Android
phone on the network without forcing me into a mandatory data plan.

What irked me was that AT&T never subsidized the phone! I didn't buy it
from AT&T. They had nothing to do with it - and - my kids plays games but
does not need or want the Internet (except when on WiFi at home).

Point is - AT&T lost me as an otherwise loyal customer, simply because of
their idiotic (I think illegal) policy of requiring a data plan on any
smart phone - even when you don't want or need that data plan!

< / RANT >

The good news is that T-Mobile allows you to have any phone on their
network without a data plan, as long as they didn't subsidize that smart
phone.

Even if they subsidize it (as in the ZTE Concord bought at Walmart for
$80), they allow you to put it on the network (switching you from the pay-
as-you-go plan to 2-year contract plan of course), only charging a $30
activation fee and $5/month additional for the SIM card service.

All in all, AT&T is vastly more customer friendly than T-Mobile -
although I find the service coverage almost exactly the same - so the
ONLY difference is in attitude.
cameo
2013-01-29 01:19:10 UTC
Permalink
Post by Joe Mastroianni
The good news is that T-Mobile allows you to have any phone on their
network without a data plan, as long as they didn't subsidize that smart
phone.
Even if they subsidize it (as in the ZTE Concord bought at Walmart for
$80), they allow you to put it on the network (switching you from the pay-
as-you-go plan to 2-year contract plan of course), only charging a $30
activation fee and $5/month additional for the SIM card service.
All in all, AT&T is vastly more customer friendly than T-Mobile -
although I find the service coverage almost exactly the same - so the
ONLY difference is in attitude.
It's a strange conclusion after all the paraises you showered on
T-Mobile above.
Joe Mastroianni
2013-01-29 06:31:48 UTC
Permalink
Post by cameo
Post by Joe Mastroianni
All in all, AT&T is vastly more customer friendly than T-Mobile -
although I find the service coverage almost exactly the same - so the
ONLY difference is in attitude.
It's a strange conclusion after all the paraises you showered on
T-Mobile above.
Yikes. I made a boo boo! I "meant" to say that T-Mobile is vastly more
customer friendly.

My (undiagnosed) dyslexia kicking in again!

Thanks for noticing the inconsistency!
(PeteCresswell)
2013-01-29 14:27:36 UTC
Permalink
Post by Joe Mastroianni
I "meant" to say that T-Mobile is vastly more
customer friendly.
That's what initially drove me to T-Mob: the superior customer
interface. NB: I'm not saying that *anybody's* interface is all
that wonderful.... but T-Mob's is much, much less bad than the
others I have interfaced with.
--
Pete Cresswell
Joe Mastroianni
2013-01-29 16:35:12 UTC
Permalink
I'm not saying that *anybody's* interface is all that wonderful.... but
T-Mob's is much, much less bad than the others I have interfaced with.
I agree!

Some day I'm gonna post my audiotapes of my customer support calls to
BOTH T-Mobile & AT&T ... only they'd bore you to death.

They're both often incompetent - although, as you said, T-Mobile is "less
bad" than AT&T.

I've spent hours with AT&T trying to find out their RATIONALE for forcing
consumers to have the data plan for all smartphones, whether or not they
subsidize that smart phone!

To me AT&T's "criminal activity" (of charging for a data service I didn't
want, and didn't need, and couldn't even use because I have a voluntary
data block on all my phones on purpose) is what drove me to T-Mobile.

Luckily, T-Mobile is also cheaper & the coverage is just as good as AT&T.
cameo
2013-01-29 19:19:52 UTC
Permalink
Post by Joe Mastroianni
Post by cameo
It's a strange conclusion after all the paraises you showered on
T-Mobile above.
Yikes. I made a boo boo! I "meant" to say that T-Mobile is vastly more
customer friendly.
My (undiagnosed) dyslexia kicking in again!
Thanks for noticing the inconsistency!
It's OK. After all I, too, made a typo when I wrote "paraises" instead
of "praises." Sh*t happens.
tlvp
2013-01-30 02:47:23 UTC
Permalink
Post by cameo
I, too, made a typo when I wrote "paraises" instead
of "praises."
Heh-heh ... thanks for clarifying! I was quietly wondering what you meant
by (what I misconstrued as) showering "paradises" on them :-) .

Cheers, -- tlvp
--
Avant de repondre, jeter la poubelle, SVP.
deadrat
2013-01-29 00:39:17 UTC
Permalink
Post by cameo
Post by deadrat
A quick check of the T-Mobile site shows that the classic subsidy plans
are alive and well. Their "value" plans trade off full priced phones
for supposedly cheaper service, some of which claim to offer no interest
installment plans. (Could be that no one qualifies for those.)
I haven't said that the classic subsidy plans are gone. I was just
indicating what T-Mobile is moving toward. If you don't believe me,
<http://techland.time.com/2012/12/10/t-mobiles-new-plan-goodbye-subsidies-hello-installments/>
There's nothing in your source that says that T-Mobile is moving away
from subsidizing phones. T-Mobile just isn't subsidizing smart phones
Post by cameo
Post by deadrat
I admit that there's less incentive for T-mobile to keep you on the
T-mobile network if you've paid $119.99 for a Samsung T159 upfront
instead of getting it for $19.99. But there's never any incentive to
let you use another carrier's network.
Of course there isn't.
So we're in violent agreement as to why a carrier wouldn't want its
customers to unlock their phones.
Post by cameo
I was just saying that T-Mo has less incentive
for it than AT&T because they don't lose as much with a customer moving
on with their phones than -- say -- AT&T would. But churning is never
something carriers are happy about.
Thanks for sharing.
Zen
2013-01-27 20:01:47 UTC
Permalink
Post by Joe Mastroianni
I don't understand HOW the carrier can even tell if you're using an
illegally-unlocked phone in most cases - nor why they'd care if you're
using a phone initially subsidized by a different carrier???
I doubt they can tell whether the phone is locked or unlocked.

So, if you switched carriers, I doubt they can figure it out.
Todd Allcock
2013-01-27 19:55:33 UTC
Permalink
Post by Joe Mastroianni
How would the GSM carrier know you're using an illegally unlocked
phone and, why would THEY care if that illegally-unlocked phone
was initially subsidized by another carrier?
http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-57565730-1/unauthorized-unlocking-
of-smartphones-becomes-illegal-saturday/
Post by Joe Mastroianni
says the carrier will track you down if you're using an unlocked phone.
I don't understand HOW the carrier can even tell if you're using an
illegally-unlocked phone in most cases - nor why they'd care if you're
using a phone initially subsidized by a different carrier???
Unless carriers pool their phone data in a shared derange (unlikely;
they've been reluctant to share stolen/blacklisted data in the past) they
don't know.

This law isn't to go after end-users/consumers, it's to give carriers the
ability to sue/shut down vendors selling unlock codes, and go after Mom
and Pop cellular dealers offering unlocking to entice people to leave the
big carriers and go to the small fry like Cricket. (every indie Cricket
dealer in my area has signs hawking their unlocking/flashing services.)
Bert
2013-01-27 20:09:06 UTC
Permalink
Post by Todd Allcock
This law isn't to go after end-users/consumers,
Not yet anyway. Or so they'll claim.
--
***@iphouse.com St. Paul, MN
Joe Mastroianni
2013-01-30 19:16:55 UTC
Permalink
How would the GSM carrier know you're using an illegally unlocked phone
and, why would THEY care if that illegally-unlocked phone was initially
subsidized by another carrier?
I think we have the answer, which is (summarized), that they can not tell
if the phone is locked or unlocked.

The carrier only knows your IMEI (or your spoofed IMEI).

From that, they know if THEY subsidized the phone; but they don't know if
anyone else subsidized it (and they probably don't care).
DevilsPGD
2013-01-30 23:59:30 UTC
Permalink
Post by Joe Mastroianni
From that, they know if THEY subsidized the phone; but they don't know if
anyone else subsidized it (and they probably don't care).
Unless they form a little cabal and mutually agree to be dicks.
--
The nice thing about standards, there is enough for everyone to have their own.
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