Carrier-sold iPad 2 Sim locks snag unwary buyers
Caveat bites emptor
Buying an iPad 2 from a network operator - or one of its third-party resellers - comes at a price beyond the cost of the data contract and the hardware, it seems: the 'magical... again' gadgets are Sim-locked.
So says Reg Hardware reader Ryan who, having tracked down an iPad 2 at his local Phones4U - he had to stump up for the 64GB model in his haste to possess the new tablet - found that the gadget, sold with an Orange Sim, is locked to that network.
The retailer's in-store rep, he claims, told him that was not the case, that iPad 2s are not locked.
To be fair, some seemingly are not. Apple sells 3G-enabled iPads 2s with or without a Sim, and makes no distinction between them. "The iPhone sold by the Apple Online Store is Sim-free," Apple says.
So is the iPad 2. Since Apple doesn't know which network you may subsequently connect the tablet to, the gadget has to be unlocked. Not that Apple's website makes this clear, mind you.
The moral: if you want an unlocked device, don't buy it from a carrier or one of its agents. You wouldn't expect a phone sold by O2 - or any other operator - to be unlocked, so don't expect 3G iPads - or any other tablet - to be either.
If you buy from a retailer who can only supply devices with a specific network's mobile broadband package, it's a good bet the tablet will be locked to that network.
Ryan is currently trying to get a refund from Phones4U - we wish him luck. But emptors who wish to avoid this particular caveat should learn from his example. ®
Isn't this pretty much true of all phones and other 3G gadgets? If you buy it from a carrier it'll be locked to that carrier. If you want unlocked you have to buy from somewhere like Expansys or (in the case of JobsGadgets) the Apple Shop. I wouldn't trust the shopdrone to tell me what day it is truthfully, especially not P4U or CFW.
Re: Why bother with 3G iPads anyway?
Came in handy last night.
The power failed, so the wireless router went down. Turn the mobile data on the iPad on, and carry on regardless.
Admittedly it does spend 99% of it's life on wifi of some sort, though.
if it was RRP/apple store price then I would be pissed. If it was subsidised then of course it will be locked. It wasnt really stated in the article how much the ipad cost.
That's a bit odd, I thought Phones4U always supplied unlocked phones, they certainly have with the two mobiles I bought from them (on Orange contract upgrades), and it's one of the things I checked the other month when enquiring about my latest upgrade.
Guess you can't take anything for granted these days, and should ask... And if he did and the Phones4U salesman did say it was unlocked, and it isn't, then Ryan has some pretty good come back in the shape of the extensive UK sales of good act... assuming he can overcome his fruity addiction enough to hand it back.
This is an error with the activation server. He should bring his iPad and purchase receipt to an Apple retail store, if there's one nearby. They will correct the error on the database and reactivate it. Alternatively if you restore the iPad using iTunes with the alternative SIM installed, it will we be reactivated again, but without the carrier lock.
This happens with SIM-free iPhones as well, if they have been activated by Apple in-store and the customer subsequently inserts a SIM from another carrier. They must connect the iPhone to iTunes to continue. The base of the problem is the iPhone cannot connect to the activation server without iTunes; it must communicate with the server to determine the status of the provider lock. This is something that really needs to change.