After weeks of anticipation, yesterday the iPhoneSIMFree software unlock solution became the first software of it's kind to become publically available. Gizmodo had exclusive access to some of the experiences of the first customers to purchase a retail copy of iPhoneSIMFree and attempt to use it to unlock their iPhones. Unfortunately, the news wasn't very good.
Based on the experiences of three customers who attempted the iPhoneSIMFree unlock, numerous road blocks may exist to keep the average user from a stress-free unlocking experience. Several of the initial
customers were met with an unability to unlock their iPhones at all, due to a "baseband communication error" reported by the iPhoneSIMFree application.
As Gizmodo and the unlockers discovered, this was due to the existence of PIN security protecting the GSM SIM card the customers in question were attempting to use. As it turns out, the initial release of iPhoneSIMFree cannot unlock the iPhone when a PIN-protected SIM card is in use. The PIN must be disabled on the SIM card first. For some SIM cards, this is just a matter of popping the card into another phone and disabling the PIN. The trouble is, however, that some cards have obligatory SIM protection and simply cannot be used when unlocking the iPhone.Fortunately, the iPhoneSIMFree team has been quick to respond. In response to the Gizmodo article, iPhoneSIMFree has released an updated version of their software which they indicate resolves issues with PIN-protected SIM cards.
For some users, however, the PIN issue won't be the only potential roadblock. The iPhoneSIMFree software package doesn't come with any helpful installation aids to help users get the iPhoneSIMFree application onto their iPhone. That said, the user will have to possess the know-how to jailbreak their iPhone and install applications. Windows users can reportedly use iBrickr to complete the task, but Mac owners are currently required to use SSH to install the application as the current version of iFuntastic is not capable.
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For the time being, the iPhoneSIMFree solution still seems to be a viable one - and one that the iPhoneSIMFree folks are referring to as "universal" in a statement issued in response to the Gizmodo article - albeit not as easily accomplished as some would have hoped.
The take home message is that there are numerous technical issues that one can experience when attempting to install and utilize the software. The iPhoneSIMFree team has been clear in stating that technical support is up to the resellers to provide. Before purchasing, be sure that your reseller is ready and capable of providing the support you may require.