AT&T Captivate and T-Mobile Vibrant Galaxy S phones store unlock codes inside

This is funny and awesome at the same time. While also possibly being a bit sad for the carriers.

Phones bought from a carrier are usually locked to that specific carrier, meaning you can’t just pop another SIM in and they’d work. If you choose to do such a thing, the phone will ask you for a NCK, or Network Control Key. Which is something that your carrier may give you under some circumstances (in some countries), or will just flat out refuse to give you.

Which is where countless unlocking sites come in, some pretty shady, some not. Which is where you’d normally go for such a thing, pay a fee, and hope that the unlock code they gave you would work.

Well, this isn’t required if you’ve got a GSM Samsung Galaxy S, including T-Mobile’s Vibrant and AT&T’s Captivate. The always resourceful folks over at XDA Developers have found that these phones actually store their unlock codes in a file that is on the device. And no, said file isn’t easily accessible, but thankfully, a procedure to read it has been found.

Not only will this unlock your device, it will also re-lock it should you need to take it back to your carrier for warranty. Furthermore, you don’t need to root your device for it to work.

But that’s not even the best part. See, if you’ve got a T-Mobile Vibrant and unlock it, you can use it on AT&T and get the added bonus of it actually supporting 3G on AT&T.

The same is sadly not true for AT&T’s Captivate, which only gets EDGE speeds on T-Mobile, but still, if you’re a Vibrant owner and for some reason get fed up with TMo, now you know you can switch to AT&T without having to buy a new phone.

The instructions are here, and remember, this should work for all Samsung Galaxy S GSM versions, including the international i9000 edition. Happy unlocking!

Via Engadget

Author: Vlad Bobleanta

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  • Jboomer

    The reason you can't get 3G on T-Mobile's network with an AT&T phone is because the frequency is completely different. It has nothing to do with inherent limitation of the Captivate.

  • Mltimike

    You're right, they're different. That is why it's amazing that the Vibrant supports AT&T's bands as well at T-Mobile's.

  • Distortedloop

    But that's exactly the point. The Captivate is limited – it's radio doesn't support AT&T AND T-Mo speeds; the Vibrant does. The hardware is different in the phones, so in this regard, the hardware is limited in the Captivate when compared to the Vibrant.

    Very bizarre that the Vibrant works on both. I've got the international version (GT-i9000) and it's limited to EDGE on T-Mo; you'd think an international unlocked phone would support more carriers than a US locked variant.

    If the T-Mo version had the front camera, I'd snap it up and give away my i9000 because I have active SIMs for both AT&T & T-Mo and it would be nice to have what is arguably the best phone on the market that I could swap SIMs in as needed without giving up data speed.

    It's odd that Samsung omitted the front camera on the US phones. The SGS line are the only phones that truly challenge the screen of the iPhone 4 (normal AMOLEDs don't because of the sunlight issue), and yet the lack of a front camera gives people a reason to go iPhone 4 over the Captivate/Vibrant if all other things are the same.