The Null Device
iPhone unlocking, Vietnamese-style
Got an iPhone you want to get unlocked? The software unlocks for the 3G might not be out yet, though you could always go to Vietnam, where they do things the hardcore way
First, a technician opened up the phone and stripped it to the motherboard. In his skillful hands, the device seemed much easier to dismantle than I expected.
The technician then extracted the baseband chip, the component that controls the connection between the phone and the mobile network, from the motherboard. (This is a painstaking task as the chip is strongly glued to the phone's motherboard. A mistake during this process could brick the phone completely.)
Once the chip was extracted, it was Tuan Anh's turn. He used a chip reader to read information into a file. He then used a Hex editor to remove the locking data from the file, and after that, the chip got reprogrammed with the newly altered file. Now it was no longer programmed to work with only a specific provider.
The chip then got reassembled into the motherboard, another painstaking process.
The entire procedure will cost you about US$80 plus however much travel to Vietnam costs. Mind you, you then have to be careful about not updating your phone, because Apple's updates will re-lock the baseband chip, necessitating a return visit.
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