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userH9BXPBIY2l
Asteroid

Crippled features on unlocked phones -- This should be advertised!

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I just bought a Galaxy S9 from Best Buy a couple of days ago. Yesterday, I noticed that my new phone did not have visual voicemail capability.  After some Google searching I realized that the unlocked phones are crippled by the carriers so that they don't provide some functions.  For AT&T, this means no visual voicemail, Wifi calling, and HD Voice.  I am so angry that this fact was not mentioned anywhere on Samsung's, Best Buy's, or AT&T's websites.  The sales people at Best Buy did not bother to mention it either.

 

Wifi calling in particular was a feature driving me to upgrade my phone.  Now I am stuck with a phone that is technically capable, but will not do it.  I tried to return it to Best Buy (and buy the AT&T version), but they will not waive the $35 restocking fee.

 

It is fine that carriers want to differentiate their locked phones, but the differences should be clearly and obviously stated to the consumer.  Samsung and Best Buy should at least state that "carriers may limit feature functionality on unlocked models when compared to carrier-locked phones," or some similar verbiage.  Carriers should spell out the limitations specifically.  I am furious about this!

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Honored Contributor

Re: Crippled features on unlocked phones -- This should be advertised!

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Hello @userH9BXPBIY2l

This is a carrier based option. Some carriers will allow some or even all of those features to work, even if the device in question is a factory unlocked model. Other carriers simply don't allow it, but it's ultimately something they choose.  =/


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16 REPLIES 16
Honored Contributor

Re: Crippled features on unlocked phones -- This should be advertised!

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Hello @userH9BXPBIY2l

This is a carrier based option. Some carriers will allow some or even all of those features to work, even if the device in question is a factory unlocked model. Other carriers simply don't allow it, but it's ultimately something they choose.  =/


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userH9BXPBIY2l
Asteroid

Re: Crippled features on unlocked phones -- This should be advertised!

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Right.  But since all carriers can, and most do, limit the functionality of factory unlocked phones, the ethical thing to do (for any seller of unlocked phones) is inform the buyer that this is the case. 

  

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Daswooski
Cosmic Ray

Re: Crippled features on unlocked phones -- This should be advertised!

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I have an unlocked Galaxy s9 bought from Samsung...I have used a T-Mobile Prepaid SIM and All Features Work...I have used a Verizon SIM and ALL features Work....but when I put my AT&T SIM in it....nothing !!! NO Wifi Calling at all. It is AT&T doing this because they are focused on nothing but profits...

it is ridiculous ...

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useregbgjl7oos
Cosmic Ray

Re: Crippled features on unlocked phones -- This should be advertised!

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@Daswooski

Verizon's Wi-Fi Calling actually works on the S9? I have the unlocked S7 edge, and Verizon's Wi-Fi calling is not on my S7 edge. Sprint has Wi-Fi calling on my S7 edge. None of AT&T's features are on my S7 edge. And, every single one of T-Mobile's features is on my S7 edge.
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Red Giant

Re: Crippled features on unlocked phones -- This should be advertised!

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have u downloaded visual voice mail app from playstore for ur carrier? by the way, AT&T is the one blocking wifi calling and HD voice (which i'm assuming VoLTE), not samsung

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Samsung Care Ambassador

Re: Crippled features on unlocked phones -- This should be advertised!

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@userH9BXPBIY2l

 

I think this one is on Best Buy, if you believe them that their teenage mobile "specialists" really know what they're talking about. 

 

The way I see it, Samsung is not the one limiting features on unlocked phones, the phones are capable, but carriers decide to either support them or not, so Samsung has no reason to advertise anything. They just make a sell a phone, how it works with your specific carrier is between you and your carrier, in Samsung's eyes I'm sure.

 

On the other hand there are carriers, they offer some advanced or enhanced features on their branded phones, everything works, they change what they feel is fair for their models. Lock them. It's their thing, it's between them and their customers, but they don't sell an unlocked model, so nothing for them to advertise there (However if you would have called them to ask about it, they would probably explain what the limitations are, I looked at an unlocked phone for AT&T myself and found a ton of information about what will and will not work on AT&T's forums).

 

But Best Buy, assuming they knew what carrier you were going to use the phone one, should have mentioned something. At least tell you to research if everything is supported. But they're there to make sales, and in my experience most don't know much about any phone other than iPhone.

 

Really confusing at the end of the day. Hard to find someone to blame, ultimately we as consumers must do our research first, don't ever trust a sales man or any company that desperately wants your money.



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userH9BXPBIY2l
Asteroid

Re: Crippled features on unlocked phones -- This should be advertised!

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I ended up returning the phone and paying the $35 restocking fee. I have since purchased the AT&T version from Samsung.  Fortunately, Samsung lowered the price on the AT&T version to the same price as the unlocked phone. That helped reduce the sting of the $35 loss.


I understand that the carriers are the ones limiting functionality.  My complaint is that Samsung and Best Buy know that carriers do this, but there is no notification of this on their websites, nor (in the case of Best Buy) do the sales people bother to mention this to buyers.  I don't expect Samsung or Best Buy to list out the restrictions of each carrier, but I think there should be a general statement on their websites, like: "carriers may limit feature functionality on unlocked models when compared to carrier-locked phones."  That would at least indicate to buyers that they should talk to their carriers and evaluate the differences. It just seems like the ethical thing to do.

 

All this frustration aside, I love the phone!

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Samsung Care Ambassador

Re: Crippled features on unlocked phones -- This should be advertised!

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@userH9BXPBIY2l

 

Yeah I agree with you there, a warning on a web site is reasonable.



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userTZ0p5YGZfK
Constellation

Re: Crippled features on unlocked phones -- This should be advertised!

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So, when you bought ATT phone from Samsung - does it have EXACTLY the same functionality as phone bought from ATT?

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