Apple iPhone 7 - Blacklisted? Network Lock? Huh?

stevodurbs

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Hi guys,

Bought an iPhone 7 Plus from a mutual friend, someone who I trust(ed) to not sell me stolen goods. Phone came all neat in the box, all accessories there, serial checked out fine and there’s no issues with iCloud. He even showed me the proof of purchase slip (1 yr old phone, for the record).

But......

It shows “No Service” when an MTN or Vodacom SIM are used, but works perfectly with Cell C and Telkom SIM’s :unsure:

My first thought was network lock. Went to Telkom and they claim no network lock (apparently hasn’t been a thing since iPhone 5). Went to MTN and Vodacom and they claim there is no blacklisting evident for my IMEI on their systems.

I have also tried the following with no luck:
1. Reset network settings
2. Reset all content and settings (factory reset)
3. Settings > Carrier > turned off Automatic and selected manually MTN / Vodacom
4. Updated carrier settings to latest
5. Updated iOS to latest
6. Hard reset phone between SIM card changes (hold down lock button and volume down until Apple logo appears)


My first question is how do I verify for certain whether there is an IMEI blacklisting in place?

Second question is if there is blacklisting on this phone and there is no valid reason for it being blacklisted (i.e. I can show proof of purchase, etc), is there any legitimate way to remove the blacklisting?

Any useful advice or experience with this sort of issue would be appreciated!
 
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SauRoNZA

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iPhones have never been network locked.

All I can think is that this is not a "Global" phone and just GSM and is therefore frequency restricted and doesn't work MTN and Vodacom due to their spectrum usage.

Blacklisting should apply across all of them so I doubt it's that.

Check which model it is here and that should lead you down the path to enlightenment. Chances are your friend wasn't even aware this is the case.

https://www.techwalls.com/iphone-7-plus-model-differences/

HOWEVER if it's a locally sourced phone then it should have been a Global phone as far as I know.
 

stevodurbs

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All I can think is that this is not a "Global" phone and just GSM and is therefore frequency restricted and doesn't work MTN and Vodacom due to their spectrum usage.
The box (for what it’s worth) has the ICASA badge on it. On inspection (on the phone, in the About and on the box), it is the model A1785*, which as you surmised is the Global phone and only has compatibility issues with some US carriers.

Blacklisting should apply across all of them so I doubt it's that.
This is my understanding too... is there maybe a delay in the propagation of IMEI blacklisting across the different networks?


*EDIT: apologies, made a typo. Model number is A1784 (international), not the A1785 (Japan)
 
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SauRoNZA

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Maybe it's worth trying the 2G/3G/LTE settings to see if that makes any difference but that should really only apply to mobile data and I would expect it to still register for voice otherwise.
 

SauRoNZA

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The box (for what it’s worth) has the ICASA badge on it. On inspection (on the phone, in the About and on the box), it is the model A1785, which as you surmised is the Global phone and only has compatibility issues with some US carriers.



This is my understanding too... is there maybe a delay in the propagation of IMEI blacklisting across the different networks?
Hmm well if it's Global then that's no issue for sure.

Are these MTN/Vodacom sims cut by any chance or are they original nano sims?


****

Also you can't remove a blacklisting the network says isn't there. Either which way you'll be running into a human problem.
 

samcro

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I had an iphone 6s I bought on gumtree and had the same issue,phone would work only on Vodacom and get no service with the other networks. The phone had been originally from Vodacom and they claimed phone wasn't blacklisted so as the other networks. The problem was never fixed.
 

stevodurbs

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Are these MTN/Vodacom sims cut by any chance or are they original nano sims?
Nope, not cut - original SIM’s that work in my iPhone SE and a Samsung S7 Edge.

The instant you put in a Telkom or Cell C SIM it registers on the network and just works as it should. MTN and Vodacom it states “Searching” for about 10 secs and then “No Service”.

Even though it makes zero sense, it seems like my device IMEI is somehow only blacklisted on two networks (???) :confused:

The problem was never fixed.
Well I hope I’m not in the same boat (though I have a feeling I am), else this thing is off to my SO in the UK where it can get some use!
 

whatwhat

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Just go buy 2 new prepaid sims for the ones that say No Carrier and try them to see if you get signal. Could be an issue with the sim cards you've got.
 

whatwhat

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All I can think is that this is not a "Global" phone and just GSM and is therefore frequency restricted and doesn't work MTN and Vodacom due to their spectrum usage
There has never been an issue with spectrum for MTN and Vodacom. The US phones are actually better since they can use CDMA if you really need to. The only issues originally were Telkom and Cell C with their LTE bands (TDD and some weird frequency), but that hasn't been a problem for the last couple of years.
 

quovadis

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The A1785 is the Japanese model version - you may want to check the frequency band support vs the bands used in SA by the providers you’re having issues with.
 

supersunbird

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When you search for available networks (with Telkom or Cell C SIMs), do they show the other networks as existing?
 

Swa

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You should check the IMEI. I was sold a Vodafone modem that had no IMEI and wouldn't register on their network. I don't know if Telkom or Cell C would register it but the format could be invalid and register on one network but not the other. Also check your network settings and if it's locked to a specific network(s).

EDIT: I think I actually used that modem on Cell C first and it wasn't working.
 

stevodurbs

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Just go buy 2 new prepaid sims for the ones that say No Carrier
When I went to Vodacom and MTN shops, they did this for me with a few different working SIM cards.

When you search for available networks (with Telkom or Cell C SIMs), do they show the other networks as existing?
Yes it does show all of the networks when I try to manually configure carrier (Vodacom, MTN, Cell C and Telkom).

You should check the IMEI
IMEI checked with iStore Tygervalley yesterday and no issues found. In fact they noted it is Vodacom stock and still under warranty for a month!
 

stevodurbs

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The most frustrating part about issues like this is finding someone at one of these networks/carriers who knows how the f*%# any of this works!! o_O

So many opinions have been thrown at me by Voda/MTN/Cell C store employees about how it’s a SIM issue, then it’s an Apple issue and there must be a problem with the Serial number, then it’s definitely blacklisted, then it’s definitely not blacklisted.

One guy at the Vodacom Datastore said he has seen this before and is sure it’s a blacklisting. He said it sounds like the type of blacklisting when bills are unpaid or insurance claims are made. Unfortunately he was unwilling to check my IMEI on their system to verify this, as “I’m not the original owner” :confused:

Another guy at the Datastore chipped in that blacklisting of stolen devices in SA is often not across all networks, that the blacklisting system doesn’t work well and often only the networks that the original owner was using and that they called to report and blacklist the device after it was stolen will have it blacklisted. Does anyone have experience or knowledge about this?
 

whatwhat

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IMEI checked with iStore Tygervalley yesterday and no issues found. In fact they noted it is Vodacom stock and still under warranty for a month!
Just take it to vodacom and tell them to fix it.
 

Swa

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The "not the original owner" thing is nonsense. They wouldn't even be able to tell the original owner unless it was bought on contract from them.
 

quovadis

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The most frustrating part about issues like this is finding someone at one of these networks/carriers who knows how the f*%# any of this works!!
Out of a matter of interest does the IMEI match the invoice and the box?
 

whatwhat

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Out of a matter of interest does the IMEI match the invoice and the box?
It does sound weird that Vodacom would sell a Japanese model here. Maybe the phone was damaged and the repair shop used a second hand shell.
 

quovadis

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It does sound weird that Vodacom would sell a Japanese model here. Maybe the phone was damaged and the repair shop used a second hand shell.
Would check the IMEI on the case and via the settings on the phone too
 

SauRoNZA

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When I went to Vodacom and MTN shops, they did this for me with a few different working SIM cards.



Yes it does show all of the networks when I try to manually configure carrier (Vodacom, MTN, Cell C and Telkom).



IMEI checked with iStore Tygervalley yesterday and no issues found. In fact they noted it is Vodacom stock and still under warranty for a month!
Well if it’s under warranty make them sort out the problem...
 
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