Samsung Galaxy Note 3 'Region-Lock' defeated with app

With the disappointing news that Samsung has region-locked the Galaxy Note 3, and will extend it to other handsets after the Android 4.4 KitKat update, one user on the XDA forums has released an app that removes the region lock by deleting the blacklist.

The app, which can be downloaded from the Google Play Store for £1.99 or $2.99 USD, is called RegionLock Away and promises to do away with the lock from the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 by emptying the blacklist of carriers that the handset can’t be used with.

The developer also posted the app on XDA which can be downloaded for free. So far the app has been tested on the international (European) version, and also requires that the device is rooted to work. The developer also pointed out that purchasing a SIM unlock code (they go for around $20) also removed the region-lock, but results have varied from device to device.

In any case, if you don't mind rooting and want a cheap way to unlock the region restrictions, this app might be for you.

The developer also warned that the blacklist may get updated with a firmware update, so the app may need reapplying or updating in that case. For more details check out the thread on XDA or the walk through video above.

Source: XDA Developers via Phones Review

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24 Comments

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I might have mis understood the issue, but I thought the lock extended beyond the activation. An EU version of the phone would only accept a SIM from an EU telco. If you later brought the phone to the US or APJ regions, and want to buy a cheap prepaid local SIM to use in the phone, you can't.

Edit: Interesting. Appears it is only locked on models sold in the EU and US. I was wondering, as Singapore has made selling locked phones illegal for many years. Note 3 sold here as no locking information on the box and appears to be region lock free.

Edited by jasondefaoite, Oct 7 2013, 11:40am :

Spicoli said,
Why? All you have to do is activate it normally. Do you plan on running a new phone smuggling business?

Yep as pointed out in the linked article in the first paragraph, activating it the "right way" doesn't remove the lock, at least on the European version anyway.

jasondefaoite said,
I might have misunderstood the issue, but I thought the lock extended beyond the activation.
You misunderstood indeed

Steven Parker said,

Yep as pointed out in the linked article in the first paragraph, activating it the "right way" doesn't remove the lock, at least on the European version anyway.

That doesn't appear to be true.

jasondefaoite said,

Yup. Just read an explanation http://www.androidauthority.co...at-you-need-to-know-277964/

Wonder what happens if you perform a factory reset on the device. Re-locked?

Shouldn't. The blacklist is in the /System partition which isn't affected in a hard reset. /data and /cache are wiped on a hard reset.

Now if you re-flash the original ROM using the service tool that is another thing and could very well re-add the blacklist.

with out the unlock code you cant use the USA phone in say the UK and the other way around . did you watch the video ?

They said it only applies to initial activation which is a way to prevent bringing in new untaxed phones and selling them. That would make this pirating. Doesn't this site have a policy of not showing pirating related articles?

Spicoli said,
Doesn't this site have a policy of not showing pirating related articles?

The app is available on Google's own Play Store. When not even Google cares, why should Neowin or you? Do you have a personal stake in this?

(Spork) said,
with out the unlock code you cant use the USA phone in say the UK and the other way around . did you watch the video ?
I did not watch the video, but did read the information Samsung provides on this. As long as the USA phone has been activated using an US SIM and it is not carrier locked you can use any other SIM after that without any problem.

.Neo said,

The app is available on Google's own Play Store. When not even Google cares, why should Neowin or you? Do you have a personal stake in this?

An ad hominem, really? You should have gone full stupid and said I was being paid by Samsung.

paulheu said,
I did not watch the video, but did read the information Samsung provides on this. As long as the USA phone has been activated using an US SIM and it is not carrier locked you can use any other SIM after that without any problem.

That has been proven to be a lie on Samsung's part. Try actually reading the article properly.

Spicoli said,

An ad hominem, really? You should have gone full stupid and said I was being paid by Samsung.

You're such a shill.

Spicoli said,

An ad hominem, really? You should have gone full stupid and said I was being paid by Samsung.

It was better than your pants-on-head stupid "piracy" comment.

Spicoli said,
They said it only applies to initial activation which is a way to prevent bringing in new untaxed phones and selling them. That would make this pirating. Doesn't this site have a policy of not showing pirating related articles?

Untaxed by whom? If you buy a device in Europe you pay taxes; if you, as a company, buy a hundred devices there and do not want to pay taxes your P.O. will have to specify that the goods are bought there but to be exported and that will be shown on the invoice as well: tax exempt by, add specific local tax code. When the goods will arrive to the port of entry you will pay taxes there.

paulheu said,
I did not watch the video, but did read the information Samsung provides on this. As long as the USA phone has been activated using an US SIM and it is not carrier locked you can use any other SIM after that without any problem.


So gullible

I do not really get the upset on this. What is the actual issue besides not being able to activate a device which has been imported from another region? Once activated you can use any SIM anywhere with out a problem anyway.

paulheu said,
I do not really get the upset on this. What is the actual issue besides not being able to activate a device which has been imported from another region? Once activated you can use any SIM anywhere with out a problem anyway.

That was a blatantly false statement issued by Samsung. Eg. EU Note 3 will still not work in US or Asia even if it was activated first using an EU sim. This has been confirmed by loads of people on XDA and amazon.co.uk reviews of Note 3.

paulheu said,
I do not really get the upset on this...

Maybe you're shortsighted, then. I am an expat and I travel around continents. I don't want to buy another phone or pay roaming charges while I am spending 6 months here and there.

pmdci said,
Maybe you're shortsighted, then. I am an expat and I travel around continents. I don't want to buy another phone or pay roaming charges while I am spending 6 months here and there.

This is the real issue. Not being able to use your phone when you travel will be a serious inconvenience to many.

theyarecomingforyou said,

This is the real issue. Not being able to use your phone when you travel will be a serious inconvenience to many.

So blatantly obvious as well. It makes me cringe when someone says that 'he doesn't get it' -- let alone Samsung brilliant marketing dept for such moronic idea.