Unlocking a BlackBerry Storm - some interesting facts

Sam from Cellfservices sent me a great email explaining some of the process behind unlocking a BlackBerry Storm. The following comes from his email to me:

When unlocking a BlackBerry Storm, the unlock process will only unlock the GSM portion of the phone. Because the Storm is Tri-Band, it allows users to use the GSM network in their own country as well.

The dual-band Blackberry 8830s will only work in Asia and Europe. We are able to unlock those as well and have unlocked hundreds of them , but it is a bit more of an arduous project. For example, Verizon masks the last digit of their IMEI always as zero on their 8830s, so we have to read the file through a shared usb program. Most of our international users are willing to do that, but I find that most North American end users do not want to go through the trouble when they can’t even use it in their own home country.

Also, CDMA can be unlocked through programming, but not through code. Most CDMA service providers (Sprint, Verizon, Bell, Telus) will not allow users to use phones outside of their own network since it needs to be manually activated by a representative.

Another interesting fact to note, is that TELUS and Bell definitely will not allow an unlock. Apparently, in the USA, people were changing Sprint ESNs to take over old Verizon ESNs so they could technically ‘mask’ what phone they were using. I’m not sure why, but people would only go from Sprint to Verizon, and not the other way around. To my best knowledge, changing the ESN on a phone is illegal in all North American countries. What the people are saying is: ”Verizon knew, but they didn’t care.”

Remember, go to our BlackBerry Cool and Cellfservices BlackBerry unlocking page to unlock your BlackBerry. We will be offering savings of up to 60% off all BlackBerry unlock codes. Our sale will begin on April 2 at 12am EST and finish on April 9 at 11:59pm EST.

11 Responses to “Unlocking a BlackBerry Storm - some interesting facts”


  1. 1 kalikidtx

    so this means there is currently no way to take a bb storm (of any carrier or model) and unlock to use on at&t or t-mobile in the US?

  2. 2 James

    You can unlock the Storm for use on T-Mob or ATT here in the states. I believe the blog is incorrect in stating that the Storm is a tri-band phone. It is (according to the Blackberry website) a Quad-band GSM phone as well as CDMA. I got my unlock code from Verizon and can confirm that an AT&T SIM works in it. If you are travelling internationally, you should be able to buy a local prepaid SIM card and use it as well.

  3. 3 Sam

    My mistake. You are correct, it is quad-band! Just to clarify: CDMA phones such as blackberry world phones, storms etc, can be unlocked. The CDMA portion is NOT touched, but the GSM is unlocked allowing you to use the CDMA storm on a GSM network (Rogers, AT&T, T-mobile). However, the Verizon 8830 (for example), when it is unlocked, it will only work in Asia and Europe due to the dual band. You would not be able to use this on a North American GSM network.

    Now here’s the tricky part:

    CDMA phones can technically be unlocked via ‘programming’. This means you can use a Sprint phone on a Verizon network. People were doing this by changing the ESN number to match an older version Verizon phone’s ESN number. They would then call into Verizon and activate their “Verizon” phone by telling the service representative the modified ESN on the Sprint phone. Since it is technically an older Verizon phone’s ESN, the modified Sprint ESN will be found in their database and they will be able to activate it on their network.

    The problem with this is that some networks frown upon this practice; especially Telus and Bell in Canada. In fact, it is illegal in all North American countries to my best knowledge. By changing the ESN number, you’re technically altering the hardware that the manufacturer had produced - aka. hacking, which can be argued.

    Now back to the storm. Unlocking the GSM part is not banned by CDMA servers. For example, if you were to unlock a Telus Storm, the Telus network will still work if it is active. However, if you happened to switch over to Rogers or any other GSM network, you can continue to use your Telus storm (using GSM).

    Hope that clarifies your question(s)

  4. 4 Sam

    I got the new blackberry storm and I’m still unsure if I can unlock my phone and a T-moblie Sim my boyfriend I should at my contract just in.

  5. 5 Sam

    Not sure if I can unlock my blackberry storm and use a T-Mobile Sim card my boyfriends says I should look at my contract before unlocking it

  6. 6 Kris

    Can I unlock a verizon BB Storm and use ATT - will both the internet / email and phone service work?

  7. 7 Jackey

    I just unlock my BB storm by my Verzion c.s. tell me this program only good for 10 month period of time…is it ture ?

  8. 8 martin

    i just unlocked my bb 9500 and 9530 fom a guy on ebay called kane. his username is kane7647. he unlocks real fast and cheap too ! take a look

  9. 9 Nestor

    I unlocked a BB Storm, the phone works but i cant use the internet or the emal, it has something to do with the carrier. The company tells me that the phone is locked by verizon, and that i need to unlock it before i can set my internet service. I called verizon and they tell me the phone is unocked, i’m really confused, do i have to unlock the phone or is only a matter of the carrier? and if i have to unlock it where can i do it?

  10. 10 Eric

    Can I unlock a telus world edition to the usa?

  11. 11 Neal

    Please someone help me! Anyone. I own a “Unlocked Verizon BB Storm 9530″ on the Rogers Network. For some reason! All long distant calls that come through, come up “Unknown Number” as well as some local calls. I have a feature on my account called “Who Called” which sends me back a text message of any missed calls. So here’s what i don’t get! If i don’t answer the calls that come up as Unknown Number. I’ll get a text message sent back to me on masking the Unknown Number, giving me the number. So the network can read it! Why cant the phone? I’ve seen a few post from other user with the same problem. Is this a bug in the phone and can it be fixed through some settings in the phone I’m missing? Note: Options/Security Options/General Settings/Content Protection: is Disabled. Include Contacts is set to No and I’ve configured my Smart Dialing. SOMEONE OUT THERE, PLEASE HELP!!!

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