Can I use a locked Samsung Galaxy S3 in India?

shiv dutt November 15, 2012

I’ve seen Galaxy S3 phones on eBay for cheap, but they are locked with carriers. Can I buy one and ship it to India, then unlock it and use it with my GSM carrier? If not, is there some other way to get the Galaxy S3?

  1. Mike D
    April 18, 2013 at 6:09 pm

    Most people sell a phone because they have a new one or just want a new some , if they had that phone new, like most that are selling them private the phones is still locked by the carrier all you have to do request that they unlock it, free of charge if the contract have been full filled

  2. Qin Tang
    November 19, 2012 at 3:52 am

    Ha, you may buy the Galaxy S3 in your local grey market with a lower price. But I guess it's much risking.

  3. Aswin Kumar Nayakann
    November 16, 2012 at 5:01 pm

    Its a more risky thing.You dont have warranty.You may be caught in Customs.Try to buy with your local dealer.

  4. Nikhil Chandak
    November 15, 2012 at 7:13 am

    check out the links , these may help u out
    check all the pages of this link - [Broken URL Removed]

  5. Kannon Y
    November 15, 2012 at 3:35 am

    That's a really good phone!

    I believe that anytime a phone is sold locked on eBay, it's a good indication that it's either a stolen CDMA phone (which would be less useful in India) or that the phone was sold under contract, and there's balance remaining on the original account, which prevented the phone from being unlocked. Which means that the carrier will not give you the unlock codes. In short, the phone won't be usable unless you clone the phone (which may or may not be illegal, depending on your region).

    Unlike in other countries, US consumers tend to buy discounted phones under 1-2 year contracts. They typically pay absurd monthly rates in exchange for cheap phones. Unfortunately, carriers go to extreme lengths to prevent these phones from being resold in other markets. More or less, a locked phone is basically a brick.

    There are probably phones that are sold locked that have fulfilled their contracts, and therefore are elligible to receive an unlock code for international travel, but you would want the seller to unlock the phone before they sent it to you. It also would have the problem of broadcasting on a slightly different bandwidth as the Indian networks, so compatibility would not be 100% (this is anecdotal).

    The same is true for a GSM phone - you'd want them to send you the unlock code before purchasing.

    Unfortunately, if the phone is stolen or if sold before its contract has been completed, you won't be able to unlock the phone.

    Anyway, sorry if my info is overly gloomy. :-(

    Hope you get an S3! Good luck!

    • Douglas Mutay
      November 15, 2012 at 7:39 am

      What do you mean by "if the phone is sold before its contract has been completed, you won’t be able to unlock the phone"? Does it mean that these private service phone can only unlock a phone when its contract is finish?

      • Kannon Y
        November 15, 2012 at 6:24 pm

        Hello Douglas, good question!

        So with CDMA and GSM phones there are of course ways that carriers use to lock subscribers into contracts. The most common method: Carriers assign unique numbers to each phone on their network.

        Carriers in the US have another layer of security to prevent customers from bailing on their contracts. For example, Sprint assigns another unique identifying number to each phone, called the Master Subsidy Lock. This is designed to prevent phones from being unlocked if there's a remaining balance on the subscriber's account or if the phone is ever stolen. An MSL prevents the phone from changing networks.

        You do have the option to pay an ETF (early termination fee) and then proceed with an unlock on the phone, however.

        I have heard anecdotes about subscribers getting unlock codes while under contract, because they had to travel abroad, but I remain skeptical of such stories.

        There's is process known as cloning that will allow you to use a locked phone, but it's illegal almost everywhere.

      • Kannon Y
        November 15, 2012 at 6:36 pm

        So to answer your question: I've heard about how private services can unlock CDMA phones, even when you're under contract. They may or may not be using illegal means and I doubt they can reprogram all phones. So, yes they can unlock a phone, but with conditions.

        Some carriers have phones that can be easily reprogrammed (GSM only requires a SIM swap and if locked is only locked into one network). Others have phones that aren't so easily tampered with (Sprint/Verizon/CDMA).

        So if there's a balance remaining on the phone, the phone shouldn't be unlockable unless you use an exploit. And I'm not aware of any exploits for a Sprint/CDMA phone.

        If they're cloning, that's highly illegal. If they're running an exploit, that may cause retaliation on the part of the carrier, but isn't illegal.

  6. Sean A
    November 15, 2012 at 3:16 am

    I did a bit of looking on this topic and it appears that you cannot use locked devices in India. You did mention unlocking and I found this website.

    It may help you in unlocking the device though they do charge a small fee. As long as you have a GSM sim card you should be able to use it in India.

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