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T-Mobile SIM locking - there's more to it than meets the eye...

As many readers of this column will be aware, the mobile phone networks lock handsets to their own network when selling pre-pay mobiles and, in the case of Orange and T-Mobile, network locking (aka SIM locking) is standard on all the handsets they sell.

The idea behind this practice is to help keep the subsidy they apply to the price of most pre-pay and selected post-pay handsets.

Yesterday I spent an unenjoyable two hours getting my trusty Motorola Razr V3 mobile - which was network locked to T-Mobile UK - ready for use with an O2 contract SIM card.

Even though I was able to remove the network lock using one of the Web's many remote unlocking services, T-Mobile have one or two other tricks up their sleeves on Motorola handsets, as they also make some of the config files read-only.

This means if you try and alter the Web browser or GPRS settings, you can't, as the config files can't be deleted.

The only way to delete/alter the config files - known as Web Session files on Motorola mobiles - is to download them using a file transfer utility like P2KMan, edit the file using a hex editor, and then upload it back to the handset.

After chatting with Motorola about the issue, it seems that, even if you get T-Mobile to supply you with the unlocking code at the end of your contract, the config settings are still read-only.

In other words, as John Reid says, the phone is not for the purpose.

Thanks a lot T-Mobile UK...