Following up on one of our newest feature, Ask Android Central, where you guys ask the question and we provide the answer, we have a question from Ty Underwood regarding the T-Mobile G1's usefulness of being unlocked

Would an unlocked g1 run on other (gsm) networks without a hitch? There isn't any tmobile in my area and I was just curious. Thanks!

 

The T-Mobile G1 is certainly a popular device and Android is in the eyes of a prospective many but one sticking point with the G1 is its ties to T-Mobile. We at Android Central definitely understand your concern about T-Mobile as a carrier—paltry 3G network, spotty service—but luckily there are definite options to make it work on other carriers.

After the jump, Android Central answers how to use an unlocked G1.

Before we get started, we should note that there are a few roads you can take to get an unlocked G1. Our most recommended route? Become an Android Developer and purchase the Android Dev Phone 1 (aka a SIM and hardware unlocked G1 with a snazzy graphic on the back cover). After an initial $25 fee to become a developer, you purchase the phone for $399 and will be able to use ANY sim card from any carrier AND flash custom Android builds since the bootloader is unlocked as well. Honestly, the Android Dev Phone 1 offers an amount of freedom unmatched with other options.

The second option would be to buy a regular already sim-unlocked T-Mobile G1. There's a great web portal that lists unlocked T-Mobile G1's on eBay here.

And finally, the most popular option would be to buy the T-Mobile G1 contract-free from a T-Mobile retail store and then either wait 3 months for the unlock code OR purchase an unlock code from a reputable unlock source (some of the writers on Android Central used unlock-tmobileg1.com) if you want to get nasty with a different carrier immediately. You'll need to give the website your IMEI number which can be found in either the settings/About Phone/Status or by pressing *#06# in the dialer.

After you receive your unlock code, simply follow the instructions in this video:

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Basically insert a non T-Mobile SIM card and then enter your SIM unlock code. Voila. Your T-Mobile G1 is now just a G1. But you're not quite done yet, because the phone is not set up for data on other networks you'll have to tinker with some of the APN settings. Luckily, it's dead simple. For example, for AT&T:

Simply go to Settings > Wireless Controls > Mobile Networks > Access Point Names then hit Menu and select New APN. Enter the settings for your Network. For example, this will set up AT&T (If it's not mentioned on this list, leave it at whatever the default was:

  • APN Name: AT&T
  • APN: wap.cingular

And you're done! You'll be on your way to a fully functional G1 in no time. But buyer beware, since T-Mobile uses a funky band (in the US, at least) for their 3G Network it won't be compatible with your AT&T account meaning your unlocked for AT&T G1 will only be capable of lowly EDGE speeds. No 3G for you unlocked AT&T users. Why you ask? Well to quote the T-Mobile forums:

 

In the U.S., T-Mobile and AT&T both use GSM technologies, but there are fundamental incompatibilities in their 3G services. AT&T runs its 2G and 3G services at 850 and 1900 MHz. T-Mobile's 3G service uses 2100 MHz to transmit and 1700 MHz to receive.
The G1 can handle 2G service at 850, 900, 1800, and 1900 MHz, which pretty well covers the world's markets. But 3G comes only at 1700 and 2100 MHz. That takes care of T-Mobile in the U.S. and everyone else in the rest of the world. But it leaves out AT&T's 3G service.

 

Is that a bit of a downer? Well, of course since AT&T is the only other GSM carrier in the US. But at least you'll still be able to enjoy the openness of Android and its potential on AT&T after following our instructions!

 
There are 18 comments

Vanessa says:

I have completed the above settings instruction but can't seem to get to the next level. It demands that i set up an email account before going to the home screen. Each time i attempt to either set up an account or use an existing account it says that it cannot connect tot he Google server. What to do?

Bolaji says:

Why spend all that money just to get a Dev1 phone, when you can go to ebay, and get an unlocked phone for cheaper (or buy a locked one and unlock it for roughly $20).

Then just do the necessary firmware upgrades to get the ADP1.1 firmware and boot loader. That will give you root acess along with all the dev1 features for much cheaper.

Ricardo says:

Bolaji,

Can you explain the process on turning the G1 dream into a G1 dev ?

Calvin G says:

I believe you can also just purchase the phones unlocked from the Walmart on-line store here:

http://walmart.letstalk.com/product/browse.htm?pgId=100

Rogers in Canada has told me that if you purchase one they are happy to supply you with the SIMM that hooks it up to their network. Rogers does not offer the phone for sale themselves.

Cal G, Saskatoon, SK, Canada.

NewG1 User says:

Hey guys i have G1, the main problem is im using prepaid card with no internet access i can't pass thru with google.com email validation which is i dont have one.. Can any one here solve my problem?

Ken says:

the fastest and easy way is to unlock it yourself by purchasing an unlock code online, it takes a minute to unlock it by inputting the code. So far the cheapest code available is for $19.99 at http://unlockg1mobile.com

liz says:

I have a t-mobile G1. I just got it unlocked. I want tobe able to use it just as a phone and for camera and text messaging. I don't want the internet access. Can i do it?

Anonymous says:

Liz,
Did you get a reply to your inquiry? I know it was March of this year but will be willing to help if required.

ok here is my question, i am waiting for my mother to shipped a att phone pretty much her second line, but in the mean time i myself have a prepaid att phone and was wondering if i could slip that sim card in my g1 and unlock with the provided code from tmobile to where i just see where it says unlocked. then backout and wait until iget the other phone and swapped the sim out or do i have to go through the whole process.

Anonymous says:

I have att iphone plan and im using a unlocked g1 with it and i cant get my voicemail to work. Is there a way i can fix it. I already tried going through the settings and changing all them. ANY HELP!

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sweachha says:

i have a G1 MOBILE.BUT THE PROBLEM IS I'M NOT BEING ABLE TO USE THE BLUETOOTH. I CAN'T TRANSFER ANY DATA FROM OTHER MOBILE VIA BLUETOOTH...CAN U HELP ME BY LETTIING ME KNOW THE PROCEDURE

Anonymous says:

after unlocking the g1 to att can you go back and use a tmobile sim card that does not have the data plan? When unlocking, do you need an Att sim card with data plan?

thumbs says:

can u tell if i get my g1 unloked to work with 02 net work can i get on to the internet ? will there settings work on phone

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Anonymous says:

hello, great vid. can i unlock it with a prepaid att sim and stil ge data services

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