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!