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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Switching Off Sim Lock on the Samsung W531 Cell Phone

The Samsung W531 Cellphone is currently being marketed and sold through phone provider Telecom New Zealand. Telecom currently runs on a CDMA network, while the only other competitor Vodafone NZ runs on a GSM Network.

The Samsung W531 is marketed as a world phone. As the world leans towards abandoning CDMA for GSM (Telstra in Australia is a big roaming partner with Telecom NZ which is due to drop the CDMA network completely), Telecom have released this phone with dual CDMA and GSM capabilities. Telecom is due to change it's network topology to GSM in the future.

This dual network type connectivity allows Telecom to have roaming agreements with GSM partners overseas without the end user requiring a different handset each time they travel abroad.

Telecom engages a "Sim Lock" on the phone so that it can not be used on the Vodafone NZ GSM network. Telecom allows it only to be used for roaming with it's overseas partners.

All is not lost. I have successfully removed the Sim Lock on my Samsung W531 with ease, and I can switch between Telecom NZ CDMA and Vodafone NZ GSM without any issues.

Before You Begin

Put your GSM Sim Card into the Samsung W531

How to disable the Sim Lock

1. Press the "Menu OK" button on your handset

2. Press # (hash/pound key)

3. Press 1

4. Press 0 (number zero)

5. In the presented window, enter code 123580 [Update 01-Aug-08: If this code fails please try 159753. thanks dwanhalla]

6. Press OK

7. Press * (star key) to select the menu labeled "Sim Lock"

8. Change the option from "On" to "Off"

9. Your Samsung W531 will restart automatically and attempt to connect to the GSM network for the Sim Card you have inserted.

Notes: Some sources report that if you firmware upgrade your Samsung W531 at any stage, it will reset the Sim Lock settings and may change the code required to enter the service menu. You may wish to consider this as there have been firmware bugs reported on the Samsung W531.

Some sources also report that a different service code may be required and that the method of accessing the service menu differs from that described in this guide.

When the phone is in GSM mode it is not capable of sending or receiving Vodafone PXT/MMS messages.

The service code and procedure were performed on a Samsung W531 with the following version information:

PRL: 01031
S:SCH-W531 AJ05


Sim Lock code information adapted from reader comments posted by Hamish and GreeZe at:

Sprint's SCH-W531 from Samsung in the flesh

Additional field service code provided by dwanhalla.


Kai said...

Hey, Great Work!

Should I call you Hayden "Locker"?

Nobjockey said...

hey, this worked great, and I'm using my Vodafone sim now. Thanks mate.
Is it possible to change the PXT settings also?

If so, could you tell me how?


Hayden Tennent said...

PXT/MMS is not supported by this phone in GSM mode. Sorry.

pneumaticaly said...

do u Know of any instructions to do the same to the new telecom 'OKTA MONDO'????

advise would be hugely appreciated.

benlav said...

Damn, so just to confirm, I´m currently in mexico for 2 months, i´ll need to buy a new phone while i´m here? rather than using a local SIM?

Not the end of the world really. I left the world mode sim card they sent out at home :(

Hayden Tennent said...

Im sure you will be able to use a local SIM purchased in Mexico while there as long as you remove any GMS Sim-locking on the phone. If your phone is the Samsung W531 then this is the guide for you!

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for the Sim lock info, my sim card stoped working in my other phone. But yet it works in my 027 phone once it is unlocked.

thanksa heap i wont loose all my phone credit, though i cannot veiw my 021 contacts.. i think must be due to my somewhat temperamental sim card (wont work in any vodaphone mobile)

thanks a heap

^^ i can hold out till vodaphone mangages to get their act together and get some more blue sim cards .. not impressed by vodaphone

sthrn1 said...

Hi, i have w531 unlocked, and an okta mondo, wanting to know if it can be unlocked for 021?? can anyone help???

Catherine said...

Hi there, I'm also wondering if anyone has the same unlocking information for the Okta.
Any information would be greatly appreciated =)

dwanhalla said...

Hi, To check your contacts when you are in Vodafone mode, go to contacts, scroll up to phone, press right arrow and card will show with your contacts if you have saved them on your card. Also this number didn't work for me but 159753 did. Good luck.

james said...

Hi could this stop the phone from functioning properly on the telecom network?

dwanhalla said...

I have been using this for about 3 months and no problems with either network

evolvegirls said...

Hi just wondering if some-one could help me?

You said: When the phone is in GSM mode it is not capable of sending or receiving Vodafone PXT/MMS messages.

Does this mean I can not send/receive txts from 021 at all?

dwanhalla said...

When it is in 021 mode you use it exactly as a vodafone for normal txting, only pxt/mms don't work. I swap between 021 and 027 several times a day as I have contacts on both networks.

sh3lzyw3lzy said...

i have just switched of the sim lock on my phone but in vodafone mode is says limited service and i cant send or recievce message. any help would be muchly appreciated

Daniel said...

Hey thanks for info, does this charge your telecom accont and can you have it on vodafon full time?

duane a said...

Hey, - I tried doing it but it doesn't work does anyone know if there is another code?

Jamie said...

just got myself a w531 today, the unlock is a tad different, but heres the procedure for those who are interested:

1: put the sim card in
2 press menu/ok, then go to settings
3: select display
4: press '0' and a dialog box pops up
5: when prompted for a password type '123580' and select ok, then scroll to the bottom where it says sim lock, select off, then it will reboot, unlocked, ready to run :)

DanB said...

Cheers for all the info people..especailly Jamie who just did it (i brought one today). Question. Can this process be reversed..and Pxting etc restored? Cheers

Jamie said...

DanB: you can go back into the menu and restore the changes if you like, just go through the process again, and change from sim lock off to on.

if you want to keep pxt then do what i do, and change to telecom when you want to pxt. im going to do a bit more research into getting pxt to work under GSM mode, theres no reason why it cant ;).

also, im not sure if this has been mentioned or not, but vodafone(unrestricted) GPRS works on this phone under linux :) very easy to do actually, just plug the cable in and away you go. If you want to access the internal memory instead of gprs, then use the 'connect to pc' function under settings, but i think this is far more practical,what with the 100mb of data for $10 that vodafone has :p

helen said...

i managed to unlock my phone but i still can't access another network. i'm trying to hook up with 2 degrees. anyone got a clue to help me? thanks - helen

helen said...

hi again, thanks to you and the 2 degrees guy who put me on to you i've fixed my phone. just needed to also change the network selection as well. managed to work that one out easily after i posted my last message. thanks heaps! go 2 degrees!finally some real competition in the mobile market. helen

Chris said...

Hi .... I too have followed your instructions and have been able to join up to 2 degrees - thanks heaps - it seems to be working fine in NZ but I can't send or receive texts overseas, namely my daughter in Sweden - I should be able to ay? It keeps coming up with New Zealand GSM - thats not part of the problem is it??. Are there any quick answers...???? HELP from a technologically challenged grandma...

T said...

Your step by step guide was great. Thank you.
Now I'll never miss a call and/or text. cheers.

rossi123 said...

Hey does anyone know if this phone will work in aussie with a vodafone australia sim when unlocked? thanks

rawill said...

I used my W531 in Ireland, (with an Irish Vodafone card) in UK, Czech Republic and Italy with no problems.