I feel so geeky…unbranded my phone tonight

I have been so frustrated with T-mobile and other carriers locking down their phones. Now I understand that getting a subsidized phone has some implications, but limiting applications on the phone is a joke.

You save like $100 – $200 per phone to do a contract with a carrier and they block the best features of the phone.

I have a Nokia 5300 (XPressMusic), it is a good phone, when i got it my requirement was email. My old “smartphone” had email built in, I liked being able to take a picture and email it to a friend or myself.

After getting the phone I couldn’t figure out how to email, the sales guy assured me I had the capability. We travelled, 30 days passed, still no luck. It turns out oh yeah you have email, but you have to log into T-Mobile’s stupid tZones and use their web like interface. I was FURIOUS! I demanded a return (politely) and they said as long as it’s been less than 30 days…sigh.

This was Spring of last year, so with recovering from my illness and surgery and all that I just didn’t want to deal with it. Fast forward to Fall and I was getting antsy. I hate the wap browser, I want more. I want opera mini. Well too bad, T-mobile blocks all network accessing apps. Now I understand their argument, if everyone had access it could cripple the network. For the most part people aren’t going to use it all the time.

I had been searching high and low for 1) unlocking and 2) how to get around this block.

In the end, 1 is easy, call t-mobile, they will give you an unlock code. I still have yet to do this, but since I am not switching anytime soon, I’m in no rush. And since unlocking does not fix the bigger problem I could care less. Item 2, well as of about Sept/Oct 2007 I could find nothing. Lots of companies promising, oh yeah, send me your phone, for $50 we can do it.

I didn’t trust them. So now I start getting antsy again after being in Vegas and taking forever trying to use tzones and the stupid built in web browser. I just give up trying to get the details I want.

I started searching again, stumbled along a lot of the same frustrations. I was about to give in and pay $450 for an unlocked iPhone when I stumbled on a youtube video showing how to unbrand the phone. It included text instructions and links to everything needed. In reality, there was just one app I needed to download because I had the others (came with the phone, Nokia software).

I basically needed to backup my important shit, then run this app, click a few things, change a code, click a few things and BAM, my phone no longer is restricted by the powers of tmobile. It unlocks features I shouldn’t have like push to talk, don’t worry T-mobile doesn’t support it (yet) so it wont work.

Now I am able to install opera mini and use it. It took a bit of fooling around to get opera to actually work. I got it working, then just as stupidly as I got it working I made it stop working. I fooled around some more and realized what I did to get it working and it works again.

I did this not to try and “beat the man” or rip off anyone. I just wanted what I feel like I paid for and was promised. I also want to be able to use the web in a somewhat normal manner. The opera browser has cool features and I can user things like Mobile Google and all that now.

So what about email Jay? Well, sadly I still can’t seem to get it to work. Here is a link to my phone on Amazon (mine is black), notice one of the features is Email (POP3). So why the f can’t I get it to work! At least now I can download and install an email client if need be. One of these day’s I’ll figure it out.

Keep in mind this “unbranding” as far as I know is only for Nokia and if you try it, it’s at your own risk. I take no responsibility for your actions.

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