Original topic:

S23 U1 factory unlocked regional SIM lock?

(Topic created: 03-22-2024 03:09 PM)
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linkysys
Asteroid
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Galaxy S23

S23 and newer models have been reported to be region locked as to physical SIM card but not as to eSIM. See https://us.community.samsung.com/t5/Galaxy-S23/Samsung-Regional-SIM-Lock/m-p/2539149#M6039
Of course, rumors like this have also been reported in prior releases of these phones.

I would like clarification on this from anyone who has traveled to Europe with a US U1 factory unlocked S23. Were you able to use, for example, an Orange Europe Holiday physical SIM card or eSIM with success on a U1 US factory unlocked S23? Am I stuck paying AT&T for an international plan?

Seems like Samsung would have a method to fully unlock these phones if they are purchased outright and not subject to payments or a carrier specific payment plan. If a factory unlocked phone is not truly unlocked I would expect a visible warning label in the promotional materials. When a phone is sold and marketed as "unlocked," the assumption is that it will not geofence a good faith purchaser.

3 Replies
KiwiBird97
Red Giant
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Galaxy S23
Foreign SIMs don't play well on North American variants, you know. Allow us to explain why. As you know, the technology has evolved over the years, and there are third-party tools out there like Samkey that have compromised the integrity of region locking in the intent because often, when those people import devices, what do they get? They use such tools to bypass those regional restrictions instead of making five-minute calls to remove them properly. We feel it isn't fair that those bad actors have access to those tools and typical users like us do not. Therefore, Samsung appears to have removed foreign SIM support, but with a few exceptions. Here are some changes.

QR CODES (3rd SCREENSHOT)
You can no longer enter an activation code to activate an eSIM. If that QR Code prompts you to enter one, it will throw an error instead.

CANADIAN USERS WELCOME (4th SCREENSHOT)
In the past, US variants released in 2023 couldn't use SIMs from Canada. Samsung seems to have revised its approach this year and will allow SIMs from Canada to be activated, including carriers like Telus, Rogers, and Bell.
(Note that cellular tablets in Canada use U or U1 instead of W. This is because they previously used UE in their firmware, the same variant for US unlocked variants.)

PRIMARY SIMS
You can only set one primary SIM for all three functions (calls, texts, and mobile data). If you use a travel SIM that doesn't support all three functions, it will not work correctly. For example, you could miss out on calls or texts or be unable to use data from a non-primary SIM.

We'll see what happens with One UI 6.1 if Samsung is reconsidering the use of foreign eSIMs outside of the USA, Puerto Rico, and Canada.Screenshot_20231030_233154_Call settings_1000048552_1700766900.pngScreenshot_20231030_233159_Call settings_1000048553_1700766903.pngScreenshot_20231030_234811_Call settings_1000048558_1700767586.pngScreenshot_20240322_161309_Chrome_1000052341_1711149189.png
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KiwiBird97
Red Giant
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Galaxy S23
We updated to One UI 6.1 last night and noticed the following:

TRANSFER SIM FROM ANOTHER DEVICE (FIRST 2 SCREENSHOTS)
Detailed instructions have appeared on what device types are allowed. Cross-platform eSIM transfers are no longer supported on North American variants. Going forward, eSIM transfers must be conducted between Samsung devices.

SCAN QR CODE (3rd SCREENSHOT)
No changes here. Your device bought for the North American market (U/U1/W) can only use SIMs from the United States, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, and Canada. Activation code entries are no longer supported.

SEARCH FOR ESIMS
The procedure has changed slightly. When you tap Add eSIM, it goes to the Choose How to Add Your eSIM screen first. The carrier list appears AFTER tapping the Search for eSIMs button. Also, note that the Other Ways to Connect to a Mobile Network option has been removed. However, this does NOT mean you are limited to those eight carriers listed. US/PR/USVI carriers not on this list, such as Spectrum Mobile, Google Fi, Consumer Cellular, Mint Mobile, and Visible, will still work.

SELECT YOUR SERVICE PROVIDER (4th SCREENSHOT)
The carrier list depends on the market that the device is made for. For example, if you're using a Canadian variant, carriers like Bell, Rogers, and Telus will appear. In your case with a phone bought from Europe (EUX), carriers like Orange, O2, and Vodafone will appear.

SUGGESTIONS
I want Samsung to revise its approach and put the carrier list first when adding eSIMs. Tapping any carrier will bring the user to the Choose How to Add Your eSIM screen.
(If this happens, users can scan the QR code from the selected carrier, provided that no existing eSIMs are found. They can also download their mobile plan directly or transfer one from an existing device.)Screenshot_20240329_102802_Call settings_1000023905_1711733283.pngScreenshot_20240329_102911_Call settings_1000023907_1711733352.pngScreenshot_20240329_102935_Call settings_1000023908_1711733375.pngScreenshot_20240329_102947_Call settings_1000023909_1711733387.png
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KiwiBird97
Red Giant
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Galaxy S23
Correction! It seems like some primary carriers do allow foreign eSIMs to be used. As always, roaming is always available.
• T-Mobile: USA, Canada, Puerto Rico, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, UK, Austria, Kuwait, and other carriers in Europe and MEA
• AT&T & Verizon: USA, Canada, and Puerto Rico
• Other carriers: Unknown

We reached out to Verizon and AT&T, and they do not accept activation code entries for adding eSIMs. Therefore, if you're using one of those two carriers, you won't be able to use foreign eSIMs except for those in North America (US/Canada) and Puerto Rico.Screenshot_20240409_015315_Call settings_1000024374_1712652795.pngScreenshot_20240409_015119_Call settings_1000024373_1712652679.pngScreenshot_20240409_015322_Call settings_1000024375_1712652803.pngScreenshot_20240409_015329_Call settings_1000024376_1712652809.png
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