Is Unlocking Illegal?
Thousands, maybe even millions of people every year use various services to get the network restriction removed from their Samsung devices. Many people are still very cautious because they don't know if they are breaking the law by using these services. It is a very misunderstood industry, however I hope after reading this page you will have a better understanding of this subject and your legal rights.
Is Samsung Unlocking Illegal?
The answer to this question is a resounding NO! Do you have a legal right to use a service to remove the network restriction on your Samsung? To answer this question we must first ask - do you own your Samsung device, and what country are you in? If you purchase a 'SIM Free' Samsung device or a device on a 'Pay As You Go' tariff then yes, you own your Samsung, it is your property. However, if you obtained your Samsung device by signing a contract (12 months, 18 months, 24 months etc.), the device does not become your property until the contract has been honoured and paid in full, even if you made an initial payment for the device when you signed the contract! So, if you purchased your Samsung 'SIM Free' or on a 'Pay As You Go' tariff then yes, you own your Samsung and you have a legal right to have the network restriction removed. If you obtained your Samsung on contract, it may not be illegal to have the network restriction removed, however you may be in breach of your contract terms and therefore could be subject to legal action by the supplier. For most people the country is not an issue, however in some countries (I believe in the USA from January 2013) it is illegal to have the network restriction removed from a Samsung device without the express permission of the original network. Note that they cannot actually refuse you permission to have the network restriction removed from any device you own, however they may insist that you use their own service or a specific service they have endorsed.
So Why Do Networks Lock Samsung Devices?
The networks will tell you that they lock Samsung devices because the customer gets the device at 'below cost price' and is less likely to switch networks if there is a network lock in place. If the customer remains on their network, over time they can claw back the revenue lost when the customer obtained the device at below cost price. Okay, I'll buy into that theory with contract devices, because it usually works out that you're getting the device slightly cheaper than you would if you was to sign up to a 'SIM Only' plan and buy the device outright. However this does not explain the locking of pay as you go Samsung devices! Once again the networks will try to convince you that, even with pay as you go devices, you get the device at below cost price. Sorry, but I'm not convinced. I am fully aware that the networks have huge purchasing power and they have the ability to purchase hundreds of thousands of devices at a price much lower than you pay on the high street. I would challenge any network to show me statistical evidence that they make a loss on the basis of sale minus cost alone. In my honest opinion, the networks lock Samsung devices so that you will stay with them and keep spending your money with them and not a competing network.
Is The Network Breaking The Law?
Every time I explain to one of my customers that Samsung unlocking is not illegal and they have a legal right to have the network restriction removed from any Samsung device they own, I am usually asked the question 'Is the network breaking the law by locking the device in the first place?'. In short, NO they're not breaking the law! The networks have a right to lock Samsung devices, however they cannot make it impossible for the network restriction to be removed as that would be a breach of consumer rights. That's the one single thing you have to remember, as a consumer you have a legal right to use any Samsung device you own on whatever network you choose!
What About Unblocking?
I want to make it abundantly clear that unlocking and unblocking are two completely different things. Unlocking is a legal activity that removes a network restriction to allow the use of alternative network sim cards. Unblocking is an illegal activity whereby the unique identity of a Samsung device is re-programmed to bypass systems that are in place to prevent device fraud and theft. Unlocks does not, never has and never will participate in the unblocking of Samsung devices, and we will never knowingly supply an unlock code for any blocked, barred or blacklisted Samsung.