Unlocking your BlackBerry in the Chinese underground

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If you’ve been following me on Twitter, you know that I’m in Montreal to get some BlackBerrys unlocked. The city is only 2 hours away from BBCool headquarters in Ottawa, so I took the bus to meet some unlocking companies I found online. The first company I went to was run by a guy called Chin and what seemed to be his cousins. The place was located on the 3rd floor of a nondescript building near some strip clubs.

[Side Note: Strip clubs in Montreal offer a great lunch buffet. The meal is all you can eat for $6 and entertainment is on a purely tip basis. Very affordable. At least that's what I've heard.]

Upon entering the company’s office, I was greeted by a girl who didn’t really speak English and who signaled to a playboy with a Bold and Bluetooth set up. His hair was slick and had the demeanor of Chow Yun Fat in Hard Boiled. I gave him a smorgasbord of phones to unlock and he went to work.

For the most part, the unlocks went smoothly. When it came to unlocking the Telus Storms, he told me some wild stories about how it can’t be done. We had a long conversation about Romanians stealing thousands of dollars to crack BlackBerrys and how it would cost me half a million dollars to unlock them.

While we’re talking, a Russian man comes in and asks if they can fix his Nokia’s speaker. After some time of trying to open the phone with a credit card, the screen exploded and the man was told he’ll have to wait at least a week. “Thanks.” Before leaving, a young guy with a large wad of cash handed Chin $1300 and left with a FedEx package.

I thanked Chin for unlocking my phones and went over to a place down the road. He took my Telus Storms and said he’ll have the unlock codes to me shortly. He didn’t know anything about the Romania story.

I’m going to be posting a How To soon where I’ll link to the companies alluded to in this post, I’m just keeping them separate for obvious reasons.

  • Deller
    what is the purpose of this post? you are saying he did a good job on your phones or you are saying he is ripping you off?...
  • Omar
    ummm, Kyle. How do you think phones are unlocked in the first place? someone needs to figure out how to break the RSA. when a new device is released, the creators of unlocking solutions (dongles, boxes, software, calculators) need many test units, and i would think they would mess up many units. And if you do a little digging you would see 80% of theses hackers or whatever you want to call them are out of eastern europe.
  • Kyle
    Bla1ze you're giving away the company with too much snooping! :)

    Here is more about the Romanian story:

    Apparently, there are these guys who unlock phones in Romania and they're always the first to unlock them. In order for them to unlock a device, you have to send them several devices (they constantly break them during the unlocking hack) and they want a ton of money for their services ($500k was the figure quoted). Once they've unlocked the device, I have to fly to Romania to get the unlocking technology that I can resell to anyone who wants to create an unlocking site for themselves. The reason it costs so much is because I'm getting the original software to resell.

    BTW - I don't believe any of this and it pains me to recount because it's just lies. Just telling it the way it was told to me.
  • Bla1ze
    Hrmm... I re read this story and something doesn't seem right here,

    "The place was located on the 3rd floor of a nondescript building near some strip clubs."

    It's Montreal, strip clubs are everywhere, although it sounds like this was in a shady area, when in all relaity it was probably St. Catherines and Peel, which to Montreal is like Times Square NY.

    "We had a long conversation about Romanians stealing thousands of dollars to crack BlackBerrys and how it would cost me half a million dollars to unlock them."

    Ya sure something wasn't lost in translation here, maybe something taken out of context. I don't think he was saying it will cost you a milli to unlock them.
  • Felicia
    I went to a store downtown in Montreal to unlock my phone - they did it in 6 hours with a special code. I got to go shopping for that time. Now i can use my Videotron sim card in my K850i from Rogers.

    My only concern was that it was in a shady building, but other wise the guy was cool. He had a lisp, but thats cute
  • Bla1ze
    The real question here is...were they able to successfully unlock that Telus Storm?
    And if so....Can I get their email address cause I need to talk business with them if that's the case. lol
  • M to the K
    Hope you're enjoying yourself in my neck of the woods. Once you live here for a while, the strip clubs blend in with the scenery.
  • Cristhian Bedon
    "At least that's what I've heard." - That line kills me inside... But yea, nicely done with getting the BB unlocked.
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