Sunday, January 8, 2012

Docomo handsets and IMEI-based unlock codes

MORE IMPORTANT UPDATE: And the rest of the story apparently goes that this particular shop was disciplined by DCM HQ for giving out unlock codes. Don't expect to receive unlock codes any more. It would appear that DCM's unwillingness to give them out is so that people can't figure out their salt.

This makes sense for other handsets, but not the Galaxy Nexus, since the DCM version doesn't use a unique salt. This is confirmed since online unlock codes work on the SC-04D.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: Unlike other Docomo handsets, the Galaxy Nexus SC-04D keeps unlock information in a location that is wiped during 1) factory reset or 2) flashing a new ROM. Therefore, use this fact to argue for being given the actual unlock code, or if you have to factory reset your phone while overseas, it will cease to work with a local SIM card.


It appears that recent Docomo handsets can be unlocked with a simple IMEI-based code. This means that you can purchase a code from a third party site (that you trust) for handsets that use the same salt as the international version *.

In fact, it may be desirable to use a third party because there have been reports of phones not being properly unlocked by Docomo. This is a problem because Docomo reps are instructed not to give out the unlock code. According to Joseph Kurachi Luk on G+, "the reps are trained to tell you that you can't use the code because unlocking requires a 'special SIM card.' But this 'special' SIM is just a non-Docomo SIM."

Recently, a reader was in the US using a T-Mobile SIM with no problems in his Galaxy Nexus. Then one day, the phone suddenly prompted for the unlocked code again, and he had no choice but to purchase an unlock code online, even after paying Docomo for the exact same code.

* Purchase codes at your own risk; I have no confirmation that unlock codes work on Docomo handsets other than the Galaxy Nexus. The Galaxy S2 is confirmed not to work. Prior to government guidelines prompting carriers to unlock, Docomo made it much more difficult to use aftermarket unlock codes. Docomo's 1.6 firmware for the ht-03a had to be removed before unlock codes could be input. However, for the sake of streamlining and simplicity, I assume that all Docomo handsets are unlockable by IMEI-based code.

50 comments:

  1. DoCoMo SC-02C Galaxy S II does not use the same IMEI-based code as the early-release I9100 international model.

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  2. This is correct. I think the main problem is that the salt is known on the i9100 but not on the SC-02C

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  3. I unlocked the Galaxy S II last year and use it in Europe now. It's working fine except that GPS is not working well. It hardly ever gets a GPS fix and when it does accuracy is very poor. Tried everything to repair it but it's hopeless.

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  4. Maybe try installing GPS status app and changing the AGPS data?

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  5. I used SC-02 till 2 days ago in Europe (with EU sim) and GPS was fine, maybe you only need android 2.3.5, 2.3.3 has some gps problem.

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  6. I really need help, I have just bought a SH-01D SHARP AQUOS phone, it says it is unlocked. I do not wish to send phone back to Japan to unlock, where can I get these IMEI based unlock codes?

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  7. You're referencing my own post.

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  8. Probably the easiest way to verify is to borrow a non Docomo SIM and pop it in. If it doesn't prompt you for a unlock code then it is unlocked.

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  9. I figured that users was a commenter here. :)

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  10. Updated post. Probably the Nexus is the exception...

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  11. also according to a G+ user SC04D SIM lock data is saved under /data this is probably why the trouble came up to begin with. /data can get wiped with a factory reset or ROM update.

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  12. Sorry it is my mistake, it says SIM Phone Locked (not Unlocked) when I put a non docomo sim, so it is definitely locked. It also does not popup asking for unlock code. I hope a code can work if I can get the input screen? Or does it need software unlock?

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  13. I Would check on XDA I am sure there is an owners thread there. If it is a newish phone then Docomo should unlock it for the standard fee. Otherwise there may be a way to unlock it if you have root but XDA would be a place to find info on that.

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  14. Ok I am off to XDA, thanks for your help, I wish we could get root that would surely solve lots of problems, btw, for anyone interested in purchasing this phone, its amazing, except the bloatware makes it kinda laggy, and the secondary (front facing camera) is absolutely horrible!

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  15. DoCoMo phones can be unlocked from DoCoMo shops for a mere 3150yen. They don't use the same unlock process used by the Galaxy Nexus detailed in this blog post, so there's probably no way other than sending it to Japan to get it unlocked by someone with a Japanese ID card (tourists don't get such a card).

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  16. I tried GPS status, GPS test, and gpsfix. They all find 6-8 satellites, each in the range of 25-35 SNR, but the phone doesn't get a a fix to the satellites. Clearing the AGPS data sometimes helps, but even then it takes 5 minutes to get a fix, and most times it doesn't help. The few times the phone gets a satellite fix, the accuracy is at 50-100 m, while in Tokyo I always had accuracy in the range of a few meters.

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  17. That's very strange.

    GPS has global coverage and it has nothing to do with your carrier. I recall seeing stuff around the web regarding a long time to get a fix. Maybe something is screwed with your ROM. Might be a good idea to do a full backup and reflash and see if that fixes the issue.

    Outside of that, I don't know what is going on.

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  18. Docomo told me they couldn't unlock my xperia arc, but I was able to do it with a 3rd party instant unlock. The problem with the xperia arc is that it's docomo's modified firmware which doesn't give an IMEI unlock code prompt when you put in another sim card. Other people have gotten around this by flashing an international ROM, which then gives the prompt, but I was able to do it with the instant unlock via USB.

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  19. New android 2.3.6 2 try it:
    http://www.nttdocomo.co.jp/support/utilization/product_update/list/sc02c/

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  20. Docomo unlock is not retroactive, ublock only new phone from spring (or summer) 2011.

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  21. I have unlocked my DoCoMo SC-02C from 3rd party by software bought from e-bay with USD24. Im using that phone with my softbank SIM.

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  22. In the case of Docomo SC-04D or Galaxy Nexus just to share my experience, unlocking via imei code from third party was Ok, but everytime I do factory reset or flash my phone with another stock ROM or custom ROM, the phone asks for network unlock code. it is not a trouble at all cause I have the unlocking code.. with docomo shop they dont give the unlocking code.. thats the problem comes.. but again only for galaxy nexus or SC-04D model.. the rest of the models of docomo which they unlock no such thing, even you factory reset everytime, the sim unlocked state remains..

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  23. Yeah, we figured that out over on google+. Check the comments on this post, which is the same this post is based on.

    Unlike the other Docomo phones, the Galaxy Nexus stores SIM lock info in /data, so it is deleted whenever the phone is factory reset or if a new ROM is flashed.

    When getting an unlock code for the SC-04D, demand to be given the unlock code for this very reason. Print out the post from Joseph Kurachi Luk and say you want to be given the code, just like this guy was.

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  24. When you use your softbank SIM on the unlocked SC-02C, are you able to use their packet-houdai freely without any extra charges? I am the most concerned about this! Thanks!

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  25. Can you tell me address of online unlocking third party? Thank you

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  26. hey frnds plsssss tell me how to unlock sc-12h.................i buy this mobile yesterday and i unlocked it by docomo shop bt other sim card is nt working in this mobile...............pls tell me who is the third party

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  27. Hello, i own a F-04B Docomo and i am interested to know how did you unlock your mobile, because i ve tried many ways and i still didnt unlock my phone, please reply me to marco_pimentel@hotmail.com

    Thanks

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  28. Hello, i own a F-04B Docomo and i am interested to know how did you unlock your mobile, because i ve tried many ways and i still didnt unlock my phone, please reply me to marco_pimentel@hotmail.com

    Thanks

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  29. hi i am from portugal. I have a Sharp SH-03A mobile set from japan (ntt-docomo). can anyone tell me how to unlock it to use in portugal with tmn sim card.

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  30. i have docomo sc-02c, until now i cant figure out hot to unlock it.. any help would greatly appreciated.. readme_slasher@yahoo.com

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  31. hiiiii.... i m frm Pakistan i have a softbank 009z mobile set frm japan
    can u tell me how to unloc sim network unlock pin to use it in Pakistan...???

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  32. hi.. i'm frm sri lanka i have docomco sa702i mobile 3G phone can u tell me how to unlock sim and network to use in sri lanka. thks..

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  33. now i am in japan i have a docomo samsung galaxy sc-05D how can i network unlock this mobile.

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  34. Take it to a DCM store and pay them the unlock fee and they'll unlock it.

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  35. Hi i have the same phone.. can you please share how did you unlocked it? thanks

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  36. Cell Phone Unlocking Codes

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  37. HI
    I have a docomo sharp sh-02e.Can you help me to have it unlocked.
    Iphone.aag@gmail.com
    Thanks,

    ReplyDelete
  38. Bought a docomo sh-03e in tokyo and i am now in singapore. How to unlock?

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  39. Take it to a Docomo store pay them the unlock fee and they'll unlock it.

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  40. please guys help me with my arrows x f-02e.. it always says (sim network unlock pin) it does everytime i inserted another sim,, my question is,, is my phone unlock or not? because it reads another sim and it says.. ( network regester) but no signal at all.. when i try to change the APN it always go back to blank., please guys help me..:( i dont know how to fix this.. and is my phone unlock or not.? because it reads another sim but no signal.. dont worry guys im willing to cooperate and pay if it must.. as long as i can use this phone..

    here's my e-mail add: bugrock68@gmail.com

    thank you God Bless..

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  45. i have the same problem
    did you find a solution
    I went to docomo and unlocked the handset before leaving Japan but now i find "-" in the status section for sim lock status

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  46. from philippines here! can you help me to unlock my sim code my IMEI-based code is 357293042758284 please help me so i can use this phone :(

    ReplyDelete