I don't love Apple. I don't even love my iPhone, though I admit to occasional flirtations.
On the other hand, I really don't love the rest of the mobile industry.
My latest experience with unlove started with an unused AT&T issued Nokia 6555b. It's been sitting in the phone bin since I bought my iPhone, but recently I decided to use it with a Pay-As-You-Go account. It's to be a child phone -- especially for one son who tends to get lost.
Yes, for those of you of a certain age, that is the theme music from Jaws that you hear.
To cut to the chase, I've spent time with T-Mobile's automated phone activation system (very much unlove), T-Mobile customer support (surprisingly good) and AT&T's local store (saintly, really. Lousy company, but good staff).
Turns out Nokia has their own special phone locking procedure; they're supposed to make an unlock available for every phone that's been in use for more than 3 months.
Nowadays every Nokia phone is locked with a unique code, and supposedly only Nokia can provide it. The AT&T rep spent 30 minutes (this is the rep, not poor old me) working through the AT&T/Nokia system to get to the point where, in a week or two, they'll send me the unlock code. To a handwritten email address (and what's the chance that will work?).
Then, if I can find the original AT&T SIM card, and I can follow the bizarre series of incantations I was given, then maybe this Nokia phone, which I paid for, will be usable outside of AT&T.
I ain't buying Nokia again.
Apple, I unlove you less than the rest.
Update: Of course this isn't a new problem.
- A 2003 O'Reilly article has an extensive Nokia unlocking tutorial (though that's unlikely to work now - from a current Wikipedia article on SIM locks: "The algorithms used in earlier Nokia brand phones (based on IMEI and MCC code) have been reverse engineered, stolen or leaked, resulting in many people offering Nokia unlock codes for free or for a fee. Newer Nokia phones have more robust encoding algorithms and permit fewer attempts at unlocking and are not unlockable by these free unlocking programs."
- A Nokia unlocking calculator claims to be able to generate the unlock code
- In 2006 the Stanford Law Center for Internet and Society was suposed to be looking at this behavior in the context of the DMCA. The site is now gone.
- WikiHow has a tutorial on Nokia unlocking
"Typically when you purchase a cell phone, the company that sold you the phone (ex: AT&T) 'locked' the phone before you bought it, so you can only use it on their network. This means that you can't use your phone on any other network, even if you change the SIM (which is an abbreviation for Subscriber Identity Module) card..."
- Wikipedia article on SIM locks
And, for extra credit, how is this wee little episode deeply connected to the collapse of the global economic system?