DRM Is bad for you.

Working my way down the to-do list and this one had been bugging me for ages. One of us HAD types had a BlackBerry and a SIM from Vodafone, but it never worked properly. Why ?


  • My colleague had NOT forced Vodafone to switch the BES service on, and allow us to talk to our own BES servers. The SIM appears to be set to the "consumer" mode, so as soon as the SIM sniffed network, it reconfigured and reset the Blackberry. So. How to fix/prove this ?

  • I put my own T-Mobile SIM in there as it works fine with BlackBerry. Ah. The device is SIM-Locked, and would only allow connection to the Vodafone Network. Well, after being overcharged £700 in November/December last year, it'll be a cold day in hell before I do that again. so..

  • A deep dive into the murky side of SIM unlocking. It transpires that anyone can get ANY phone SIM unlocked for betweeen $10 (USD) to £15 (Sterling). All you do is plug in the IMIE number, and it'll spit back an 8 or 16 digit network unlock code.

  • I went for a cheaper eBay solution, and found although clunky, support was good. Like the guy eMailed me back a few times, and it finally worked.

  • If you *really* want to get hot at this, you can buy cables and dongles for about $100 that'll unlock ANY BlackBerry device. Nasty.


So back to the "DRM is bad for you". Just like in the case of DVD's (and now HD-DVD's) the encryption mechanism is blown completely open. Any two-bit phone store can now unlock any phone, without any valididity or stolen phone checks. The only person inconvenienced is the actual end-user.


So why do the phone carriers keep this "SIM-Locking to network" broken DRM in place ?


I'm guessing that they figure the majority of the customers will not find out about this, and can stomach a few rogue shops figuring this out. Well, chaps, I have a piece of news for you. There's a really cool website called Google - you might have heard of it ? It means that ANYONE can find out about SIM unlocking, and ANYONE can do it.. So back to the question - why keep this in place ?