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I have bought a used Motorola Defy (MB525), rooted, running CyanogenMod 9 (ICS 4.0.4).

It is locked to work with only a specific carrier. I bought an unlock code, and unaware to this the previous owner got an unlock code from the carrier. Both are the same, so I suppose the code is correct.

When I insert a GSM SIM card from another carrier and turn on the phone, I get a message that roughly translates to "insert SIM network unlock PIN" (see image below).

enter image description here

When I insert the unlock code, it blinks a message VERY fast, I can't even read it, then it says "failed on requesting network unlock", or something like that.

I have performed this more than 3 times, does it mean my phone is locked forever?

I have also been told to remove CM9 and reinstall the stock ROM in order for the unlock to work, but (1) I have no idea if this would actually help, and (2) I have never changed a ROM before and, althouh I used CM9 to create a nandroid backup, I have no idea how to reinstall CM9 and then restore the backup.

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If I remove the GSM card and turn on the phone, I can use it (obviously, no phone features). If I insert a GSM card from the original carrier, I can make/receive phone calls and use data connections, when no wifi is present. If I insert a GSM card from any other carrier, I get the unlock dialog. If I press the "dismiss" button, or enter the bought code and get the error message, then it works as if there's no GSM card. –  That Brazilian Guy Dec 29 '12 at 16:03
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That translates via google - "PIN unlock the SIM network." now, am not 100% sure if that is saying SIM unlock PIN or network lock.... :\ Any other insight? –  t0mm13b Dec 29 '12 at 16:44
    
Apologies if my answer is incorrect, so yeah, am not 100% sure either....could be something wonky going on there with CM... –  t0mm13b Dec 29 '12 at 16:45
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Bingo! Check the 3rd post on this thread –  t0mm13b Dec 29 '12 at 16:47
    
@t0mm13b that definitely sounds like we're on the right direction here. I will try the suggested fix and see what happens. –  That Brazilian Guy Dec 29 '12 at 18:34

3 Answers 3

There's a SIM Lock and Network lock - both distinctively different!

  • SIM Lock is to prevent phone from starting up unless a user's PIN is entered.
  • Network Lock is what it is, tied to the carrier and requires the unlock code which can be bought for a fee.

By the sound of it, a confusion arose, when it asked for the SIM's PIN code that requires to be entered - which is NOT the Network Lock code! It is selected and decided by the user.

In short, SIM Lock has a maximum count of three times to enter the PIN code and if unsuccessful and the maximum retry count has reached, the PUK (Personal Unblocking Code) code needs to be entered!

The PUK code can be found on the original SIM Card plastic accompaniment as obtained by the original carrier. If this cannot be found, the only way is to take it back to the place of origin, where the SIM card was bought and explain to the Sales rep about it and may be charged!

(Now, they could easily be suspicious as in "handling a stolen handset"... get the original proof of purchase from the owner, documentation etc to back yourself up just-in-case!)

Edit

Ok, after clarifying with the OP, who kindly showed the screenshot in their edited question, the message is slightly ambiguous which lead to my not being 100% sure if that message when fed into Google' Translator is saying "PIN unlock the SIM network." Do not know if that is saying SIM unlock PIN or network lock hence the ambiguity.

But further investigation lead to this thread, specifically post #3 which does back-up the OP's statement, despite the thread discussing about Samsung, I would guess the same thing may apply to the Motorola handset:

I have also been told to remove CM9 and reinstall the stock ROM in order for the unlock to work, but (1) I have no idea if this would actually help, and (2) I have never changed a ROM before and, althouh I used CM9 to create a nandroid backup, I have no idea how to reinstall CM9 and then restore the backup.

That makes perfect sense, as the stock ROM would know how to handle the mechanism as its built into it specifically for the handset, so yes, a revert to the Stock ROM would be required which would obviously mean another OP's question to be posted separately or by per-chance, a quick google-fu to yield on how to revert back to original.

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If I remove the GSM card and turn on the phone, I can use it (obviously, no phone features). If I insert a GSM card from the original carrier, I can make/receive phone calls and use data connections, when no wifi is present. If I insert a GSM card from any other carrier, I get the unlock dialog. If I press the "dismiss" button, or enter the bought code and get the error message, then it works as if there's no GSM card. –  That Brazilian Guy Dec 29 '12 at 16:00
    
By the way, are "SIM card" and "GSM card" synonyms? –  That Brazilian Guy Dec 29 '12 at 16:00
    
SIM card and GSM card are synonyms yes. Right, you need to be double sure that the "unlock" code is actually asking for SIM's PIN? Is there a PIN lock on that other SIM card that you're trying to pop in place? –  t0mm13b Dec 29 '12 at 16:04
    
It seems that a mis-translation/mis-understanding happened from the question - to quote I get a message that roughly translates to "insert network SIM unlock PIN"... is it SIM PIN code that is requested or network unlock? –  t0mm13b Dec 29 '12 at 16:05
1  
It's "PIN de desbloqueio da rede SIM". "desbloqueio" = "unlock" / "rede" = "network". I've included an image on the question. –  That Brazilian Guy Dec 29 '12 at 16:27
up vote 0 down vote accepted

I have followed this guide and my phone is now unlocked.

I wouldn't recommend it for a beginner user, because it involves pretty advanced commands and procedures, and uses ROMs and tools from untrusted sources. Proceed at your own risk!

The performed steps were basically:

  • Create a complete nandroid backup on the SD card.
  • Google for a stock ROM for the specific phone model I owned, and the specific carrier that it is locked to. I found one on a random forum. This is not recommended for obvious security reasons, but I was desperate. If your carrier provides an official stock ROM, I definitely recommend you prefer using it.
  • Googled for the ADB drivers for my phone model. In this case, the Motorola drivers worked fine.
  • Connected the phone to my computer and flashed the stock ROM. In my case, this actually downgraded my phone from android 4.0.4 to 2.3.3 and unrooted it.
  • Performed the unlock procedure using the unlock code I had.
  • Rooted my phone again, and installed a new recovery menu
  • Applied the nandroid backup from the recovery menu.

Result:

Phone is back as it was before, but unlocked.

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Obviously you have network locked phone and correct unlock code. The problem is somebody typed wrong code too many times and therefor the phone won't accept the unlock code.

The solution is to hard reset the phone - search google for hard reset instructions. Once the hard reset is done the phone will accept your unlock code!

Best Regards,

gsmwong

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Do not think a hard reset is the cure as was pointed out that CM is a bit wonky about handling network lock/sim lock. –  t0mm13b Dec 29 '12 at 22:03
    
What's the difference between restoring to factory defaults and hard resetting? –  That Brazilian Guy Mar 24 '13 at 19:24

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