Saturday, June 20, 2009

Officially Unlocked iPhone 3GS in Switzerland

Here is the ultimate "how to" to get an unlocked iPhone in Switzerland

Step 1:

Go and buy a new iPhone 3GS in any Apple shop or at any Orange retailer. It is important that Orange is delivering the phone. Phones from Swisscom Mobile will not work. I got mines from Ingenodata in Basel for 999.- CHF (32GB iPhone 3GS model). This is the "full price" model which comes without any contract. (Orange told me full price was 1299.- but who cares. Your price might vary).

Step 2:

Take your purchase invoice and scan it in and e-mail it to info@orange.ch with the comment that you would like your full price iPhone to be unlocked. You should include the IMEI number and Serial number of your phone. You can find it at the back of the box. In my case I never got an answer from Orange that way (even I was promised Instant answer) but they need some proof you paid full price at some point.

Step 3:

Call 0800 700 700, the hotline of Orange and go through the too many menus to mobile phones and customer care. Ask them to unlock your iPhone which you purchased at full price. They might ask you to do what you did in Step 2. Be aware that depending on which person you end up talking to, the answer can be "send in the papers", "give me your IMEI and I activate it", "I'll pass it to the backoffice, they call you back" or "I have no clue, let me ask my collegue". But they all know that it is possible. And if they know how to do it, they can doit very quick.

Step 4:

If you end up on a friendly guy answering with "give me your IMEI and I'll enter it" then be sure your iPhone is connected via USB. Give him your IMEI, let him type it into the computer and once he has done that, launch iTunes. iTunes will ask the Apple activation server and should get the unlock code immediately. You get a message saying something like "Congratulation your phone is now unlocked". Don't believe the employees if they say it takes 2-3 days to be activated. It takes 2-3 days to get someone from Orange to enter the IMEI into the system but once its at Apple's server, its instant.

I've done that with 3 iPhone 3GS I bought this friday morning and even though it took me various calls (mainly because I was in a hurry as I was planning on traveling outside of country the next morning), it was an easy going process.

Note: even though I am a Swisscom Mobile customer since 1994 and I paid my previous iPhone 3G at full price, Swisscom does not want to unlock. This also means that if you buy iPhones from Swisscom, they wont unlock and you're stuck to be Swisscom customer and you can not put a foreign SIM card into the phone if you travel abroad (#1 reason for me to only buy unlocked iPhones). In my eyes this is illegal but I leave it to someone else to go to court for it.

I can only say, Thank you Orange for having this fair option, even though I'm not your subscription customer.

24 comments:

Aldanur said...

Thanks for the whole description!

Here in Zürich they sell them for 1299 chf (1099 for 16G) in the Orange shops (and they're out of stock). Sounds like a trip to Basel for me :)

Mike said...

I've just called Orange and they said that I need to have an Orange account to unlock it, but Orange account is not possible without an Orange SIM, which I don't have! Crazy...

Andreas Fink said...

just try again and tell them that this is a iPhone with full price without a orange SIM or contract.

Mike said...

Yep! Got it! Thanks! One of the three women was kind :)

Pascal said...

Dear Andreas, great information!
I am waiting for quite sometime that digitec is receiving them but it sounds like it will take forever. I have a question regarding the buying... If you buy it without abo how can you proof it is an orange phone?
Mike have you bought your phone in Basel as well? did you pay the same as Andreas?

Andreas Fink said...

You can prove it by having an invoice from your supplier which says you did buy it at normal rate. That should be enough proof.

But after having e-mailed and faxed orange and called them 3 times that day (because I left for iceland the next day and wanted to have it done), they just asked me the IMEI on the phone without questioning.

A few days after my phones where unlocked, they e-mailed again asking for the IMEI because they couldn't read it on the scan. So now my friends phone is now unlocked too ;-). *psst*

Pascal said...

Thanks alot for the infos!
Ingenodata confirmed the price of 999CHF.
Do you have may be a contact name by Orange to unlock the phone, just to avoid beeing transfered between multiple services until I find the right person?

Andreas Fink said...

No. Just call their main number.

Shagran said...

Dear Mr.Fink

Thanks alot for these information

I will go to Switzerland in next week

to Zurich and Lugano

but, how i can buy iPhone 3GS from Orange without contract , Because i think the company dont sell the iPhone without contract

can i find it in orange without contract?

please help me and i wait your advise


Best Regards

Andreas Fink said...

just go to any AppleStore or Orange store and buy it there and ask without subscription. They will sell it. Take a invoice with you and call Orange (0800 700 700 to have it unlocked). Make sure you buy an Orange model and not a Swisscom model.

Pascal said...

Worked perfectly to me! Bought it on Saturday, went to an orange shop and ask to unlock it. Thy told me it will be done on wednesday. Today Monday it is already working....
Thanks alot Andreas!!!!!

Pascal said...

Dear Andrea,

I bought the phone on Saturday and went straight to an Orange center to unlock it. It worked perfectly fine.
Today I have done a video and the phone became REALLY hot.
My phone is from the production week 22.
Are you having the same behavior?
Do you know if there is any recall action?
Should I ask for an exchange?

Thanks alot!

troubadix said...

Hallo Andreas,

heute (18.07.) waren wir dann auch in der Schweiz. Das Gerät kostet im Basler Store hinter dem Bahnhof wirklich nur 999CHF im anderen Basler Store wird es für 1299CHF verkauft...
Orange kommt mit dem liefern gerade wohl nicht so hinterher deswegen waren von den 32GB nur noch weiße verfügbar. Aber egal iPhone ist iPhone!
Unlock via Hotline war in 2 Minuten erledigt!
Vielen Dank für den Tipp! Die Apfelmusgang auf radiofips hat nun wieder was zum testen, reden, besprechen...

bhushan said...

Dear Andrea ,thanks for your useful info about unlocking iphone .Well i have a question ,i am traveling to USA soon and thinking to buy iphone there(without contract) and bring it here.Do u think then i can unlock it by your way (orange centre)?And if i unlock the iphone then is it still under apple warranty?
Thanks

Andreas Fink said...

Orange can only unlock phones provided by themselves. No point buying it in the USA. You probably can't even buy it there without a contract too.

bhushan said...

Thanks a lot for your reply.But i have checked in USA you can buy iPhone 3gs 16 gb for 599 $ without contract.http://www.wireless.att.com/learn/internet/iphone-faq.jsp

Andreas Fink said...

yes but they are for AT&T customers only. meaning you still have a locked phone!

PrashantKurlekar said...

Thanks for information.

It was really quick, i purchased iphone at 10 am unlocked it at 10:30 am. Now i can use any sim card :)

Keep it coming such wonderful tips ;)

Admin said...

Argh! I bought my 3G from a friend who bought it from another friend. I called Orange up to organise an unlock and he said that I need to give him the original phone number! Very persistent!! Not sure what I can do as I don't think that I will be able to get this phone number :(

Andreas Fink said...

Orange needs your IMEI. You can see it in your phone's settings. However if Orange asks for the phone number, then probably to check if the subscription period is over (assuming the phone wasn't paid at full price). Just tell them you got a NEW iPhone 3GS from the store (they might ask for sales receipt copy). Depending whom you reach it might just work.

Gonzalo said...

This is great stuff...really helpful. I also bought an iphone today with the purpose of unlocking it. I went to Orange, I pay 100chf more and they send the request to Apple for the unlock of the phone. As I am an Orange customer, they gave me a 30% off discount on the phone. So I ended up paying 700chf for the phone...quite nice isnt it? Many thanks for posting this out.

spike said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading.

Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

-
iPhone Developers

Guilherme said...

I just bought a second hand Orange iPhone 3GS in Portugal.

I'm not sure if it was originally bought by the full price or not...
What's the price Orange is asking for unlocking locked iPhone 3GS?

It's currently software-unlocked but I'd prefer it to be officially unlocked. Thanks! Btw nice blog

Andreas Fink said...

Guilherme, it depends from which Orange you got it. If its from Orange switzerland, calling them should be all which is needed. They want to have your IMEI number (you can find it in the menus). Unless it was bound to a long term contract (subsidized) it shouldnt cost anything. The new iPhone 4's are sold without any lock now. I'm glad Apple stopped this nonsense. The only place where this still happens is AFAIK in Japan and AT&T maybe...