‘UnlockBase’ Archive

The Insider's Guide to Traveling Abroad With Smartphones

When preparing for a trip overseas, there’s so much to think about. Let’s take a quick look at a few mobile phone tips to follow both before and while traveling abroad.


Before You Go

Unlock your phone: A lot of people forget to have their phones unlocked so they can be used overseas, at a much cheaper rate. Don’t let this happen to you! You have two basic ways to get your phone unlocked; either through your network carrier or through a third-party service provider, like UnlockBase.

Before your go unlock your Cell Phone

Unlocking your phone allows you to use it on a local carrier serving the country you are traveling to. Without local service, or in the least an international data plan, you will likely pay upward of $15/MB for data; this means sending a simple picture message will cost about $30.


Gear up

  • Phone chargers: You’ll also want to stock up on phone chargers, preferably ones that connect to your computer through a USB port. You might even want to invest in extra battery packs to ensure you can stay charged on the go.


  • We know you’re already planning on taking the coolest selfie for trip, so you’ll want to purchase a lens that is compatible with your smartphone and possibly even a selfie stick.

Download: You’ll want to download these four apps on your phone before you head out:

  • Currency App: This app simplifies knowing how much money you’re spending when dealing with different currencies. All you do is select the currency you’re making a purchase with and then select the conversion you want to take place.


  • Transit App: If you’re using public transportation, Transit App is a must. It shows you the quickest way to get to your destination using a variety of transportation methods, including bike shares, commuter rails and more.


  • Data Manager App: “This app helps you take control of your mobile data usage and save you money on your monthly phone bill.” Clint Johnston from TripHackr says.
Clint Johnston from TripHackr

Clint Johnston from TripHackr

  • Text Messaging App: Rick Steves, America’s leading authority on European travel, recommends the apps below, “all of which “work similarly for text messaging.” : WhatsAppText PlusTextfree, and React.
Rick Steves

Rick Steves

  • Offi Journey Planner: If you’re using public transportation, the Offi Journey Planner app is a must use. It shows you the quickest way to get to your destination using a variety of transportation methods, including bike shares, commuter rails and more.


Once You Arrive

Buy a SIM card: Go to a retailer — possibly even a gas station — that sells SIM cards and data plans for the carrier you want to switch to. Simply pop the SIM card in your phone and follow the activation process; you’ll then have a working cell phone with cheap international calling.

If you don’t want to take the route of switching out SIM cards, you can always take advantage of KnowRoaming, which requires the simple, one-time application of a sticker on your current SIM card that activates itself and provides cheap international voice, text and data roaming rates in over 200 countries. KnowRoaming’s prepaid system puts you in control of your usage and spending, which you can monitor in real-time using the KnowRoaming app.

Knowroaming SIM Card

Dave Dean from Too Many Adapters gave KnowRoaming a try and was more than satisfied.

Dave Dean from Too many adapters

Dave Dean from Too many adapters

Also HandsetExpert put together an interactive world map that will let you know where you can use your phone, whether all services are available and whether it will cost extra.

WiFi: While on your trip you’ll want to avoid costly data usage charges by tapping into free WiFi connections as much as possible. SpeedSpot is an app that helps you identify the closest free Internet connections.

Translation: If you’re in need of a translation app, there’s no better one than OneTongue, which has the capability to support eight users simultaneously.

Stay connected with friends and family: When it comes to staying in contact with your loved ones back home, you can’t go wrong with Skype. Simply download the app to your smartphone and you’ll be able to make international calls for as cheap as 1 cent a minute. Google Hangouts is another excellent communication app, supporting both voice and video connections.


Extra Tips to Keep In Mind

  • Keeping your phone in airplane mode ensures that you don’t unknowingly use any data,
    and it’s also ideal to turn off any push notifications.
  • When communicating with your friends and loved ones, do your best to do so with a free WiFi connection.
  • Have a great time!

Top 5 Budget-friendly Unlocked International Cell Phones for Travel

When it comes to mobile phones, most people are choosing to hop on the smartphone bandwagon.  Not only do these phones offer an assortment of features and application capabilities, but they also come in many shapes and sizes.  And best of all, some of them are unlocked, meaning they can be used on various networks.  Most importantly, some of them can be used overseas, making them perfect for those of you who travel internationally or have loved ones who are in the military.

Here’s a quick look at five of the most popular unlocked phones that can be used internationally.  Do keep in mind, though, that once you land in a different country, you’ll need to purchase a new SIM card for the carrier you wish to use; this allows you to make international calls without going bankrupt.

Asus ZenFone 4

The ZenFone 4 is an incredibly affordable smartphone.  If you want a larger display screen, opt for the ZenPhone 5.  The ZenFone comes with several attractive features, including:

  • 5-megapixel camera
  • Intel Atom processor
  • Android 4.3
  • 1GB of RAM
  • Moto G

If you liked the Moto X, then you’ll love the Moto G.  Available without a contract and for only $179, the smartphone features Android 4.4 KitKat, great performance, and specifically directed toward people traveling internationally, it is available with GSM.

Nokia Lumia 625

If you’re wanting to travel with a Windows phone, then the Nokia Lumia 625 is an excellent option that you should take advantage of.  It has 512MB of RAM, a 4.7-inch display, a 2,000mAh battery and much more.  Although this phone regularly retails for nearly $300, you can usually find it online for much cheaper.

Asus PadFone Mini

Wanting a smartphone that doubles as a tablet?  If so, you’ll love the PadFone Mini.  It comes out of the box with Android 4.3 as well as 1GB of RAM.  It’s 8-megapixel camera takes amazing pictures and captures clear video.  When it comes to extreme versatility for international travel, this is the phone you’ll want to invest in.

Sony Xperia E Dual

Although this phone doesn’t come with a microSD card slot, it still features a rear-facing camera, 4GB of memory, a big battery life and plenty of compatible apps.  You can usually find this phone for well under $100, and it works well with just about any international carrier.

If you would like more information about unlocking your cell phone to use while traveling abroad, contact UnlockBase today.

10 Most Frequently Asked Questions Answered Pertaining the FCC Guidelines on Mobile Device Unlocking

Here’s a quick look at 10 common questions and answers relating to the FCC and its unlocking guidelines.

1) Is the FCC okay with consumers unlocking their cell phones?

Yes.  There was a ban on unlocking phones, but it has been lifted.

2) What do the FCC guidelines mandate U.S. wireless carriers to do?

The guidelines instruct that five of the nation’s biggest US wireless carriers must inform their customers of the dates and stipulations related to when their phones can be unlocked.

3) Does the FCC implement a fee when a phone is unlocked?

No.  The FCC mandates that carriers not charge an unlock fee when a consumer has met all ‘unlocking’ requirements.  The providers themselves, however, may charge a fee if the consumer has not met the requirements, such as an Early Termination Fee.

4) Does the FCC decide when phones can be unlocked?

The FCC says that phones can be unlocked when the contract with the carrier has been fulfilled.  If the contract has not been fulfilled and the carrier charges an Early Termination Fee, this fee must first be paid before the phone can be unlocked.

5) What does the FCC say about unlocking prepaid phones?

All prepaid phones can be unlocked, but there may be delayed unlocking dates.  For example, some carriers will mandate that you cannot unlock a prepaid phone until after it has been activated for at least 60 days.  All carriers must allow prepaid phones to be unlocked at least one year after initial activation.

6) Does the FCC unlock all phones once the contract has ended?

No. The FCC itself does not unlock phones, however, some carriers automatically unlock them after a contract is up.

7) What does the FCC say about unlocking phones for military members?

There are exceptions in which the FCC mandates that military members who are deployed internationally will receive the right to have their phones unlocked before a contract has been fulfilled, and most times, the associated accounts must be in good standing.

8) If I owe money on my phone but not the service itself, can I get my phone unlocked?

If you purchased your phone through a network carrier and your contract has ended but you still owe money on the phone, you will most likely be required to pay off the balance on your phone before you can unlock it.

9) Can a lost or stolen phone be unlocked?

Yes, but not if it is reported lost or stolen before it gets unlocked.

10) Will an unlocked phone work on any carrier?

No. The technology on your phone must be compatible with the technology being used by the network carrier. GSM Cell Phone will only work on a GSM Carrier and will not work on CDMA Network Provider, and CDMA Cell Phone will not work on GSM Carrier but only CDMA Service Provider.

If you would like more information on unlocking your phone, contact UnlockBase today.

The cost of roaming is overwhelming and confusing. If you’re with AT&T, it remains one of the most expensive carriers for using a cellphone internationally. Learn more about how much you’re paying in AT&T roaming fees, and two solutions to help avoid these costs by unlocking your phone.

Infographic | Avoid AT&T Roaming Costs by Unlocking Cell Phone

Infographic | Avoid AT&T Roaming Costs by Unlocking Cell Phone

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The hot button issue of unlocking and jailbreaking phones continues to be a driving force behind the decision to sign up for service with a specific cellphone carrier. Before you find yourself pulling out hairs and arguing with your service provider, you need to know what happens to the millions of devices that have been unlocked and the steps you can take for having your device unlocked. You never really know what happens to your cellphone once it’s gone, but it could very well change another person’s life.

Locked VS. Unlocked Phones – the eBook

Locked VS Unlocked Phones - Download eBook

Unlock your Cell Phone today with UnlockBase

UnlockBase accept Canadian Dollar

Unlockbase is pleased to announce that we are now accepting Canadian Dollars in our store, CAD is now one of four accepted currencies along with EUR, USD, and GBP. If you already have an account with us in another currency – and want to pay in CAD – we can convert your existing account to CAD but only if you’ve never used this account (no account history, transaction, etc…). To do this just contact us using the email address [email protected] with your request of “Account Currency Switch” and our team will take care of this in less than 12 Hours.

If you want to pay in CAD but your current account already had activity, then you need to create a new account using this link: http://www.unlockbase.com/open-an-account/ (And select CAD as “Account Currency“)

You can check our prices in Canadian Dollars on our Wholesale Unlock Pricing page.

Account Security Tips 

At UnlockBase we take the security of our customers very seriously since very long time. We try our best to make our website as secure as possible being PCI Compliant & McAffee Secure as well as using the best SSL Certificate. On top of all that all customer passwords are encrypted (Even our own team can’t see your password, only customers can generate a new password using the password recovery process). So far we have a 100% password safety record, even during the notorious “Heartbleed” event of April 2014 no passwords were leaked.

Your credits are always safe with us. Still the main fight for us is about the security on YOUR SIDE essentially because of numerous potential attempts of “Password Phishing“.

What is Password Phishing ? 

It’s when somebody tries to steal your password on your computer using Virus, Key-logger, Fake Website, Email, etc…. There are plenty of methods and the way you protect your own password on your own hardware is obviously beyond our control. So the best is to know about the risk and be careful, there is actually a great post on Wikipedia about phishing scheme, please check it using this link.

So first keep in mind UnlockBase will never ask for your password. And then, always be careful if you receive an email with a “too good to be true” offer, or software to download (we never send Software by email). When this happens don’t forget to check before you click any link in an email that the URL in your browser strictly shows the http://www.unlockbase.com domain.

But how do we deal with that ?

However if somebody does manage to steal your password, you’re still in good hand with us as we record all suspicious activities using API Key Check, or if we notice somebody trying to log into your account from an unusual IP Address or from a different country. We can’t give all details, but be sure we constantly monitor all activity. And since the beginning (2004) in case of doubt we just send a Unique Code by SMS to the Cell Phone Number you provided to us when you register on our server. If you can’t provide the unique code you receive then you just can’t log in your account.

But that’s not all, as we always listen to our customers, we noticed that many customers complaint about getting locked out of their accounts while travelling because they just don’t use the same Cell Phone Number while they travel… So recently we offered a new “2-Step Authentication” using “Google Authenticator” available for free on iOs (iTunes), Android (Play Store) and BlackBerry.

To understand how to it work, just take a look at this short video :

The Google Authenticator App generates a Unique PIN (6 Digits) on your Cell Phone every 30 seconds. And on the top of your Password we will request for this Unique PIN every time you try to log into your account. This way even if somebody steals your password, they just can’t go any further without your Cell Phone ! So if you’re a control freak or simply take your account security very seriously, we invite you to setup this extra layer of security directly from the “Settings”section of your UnlockBase account, in the section “Account Security” as explained in the video above.

UnlockBase is proud to present a new and very innovative feature called ICDN for Instant Code Delivery Notication. Stop wasting your precious server resources today ! It reduces your bandwidth consumption and CPU Cycles and can create HUGE savings on your hosting plan, as well as increase your whole system reactivity.

Thanks to the new ICDN you can do so, by simply entering a URL on your Account Settings page and deploying a simple listening script on your server.

How does it work ?

Everytime an order (either by using our Web Interface, or API) is delivered to us, we instantly send an HTTP or HTTPS POST request to your server (using the provided URL) with all the informations required for you to process the delivery on your side. These are:

  • ID – ID of the order in our system
  • IMEI or MEID – The serial number of the phone concerned by this delivery.
  • Comment – The comment field as you entered when placing the order.
  • ToolID – The ID of the Unlockbase service used to process this order.
  • ToolName – The friendly name of the Unlockbase service used to process this order.
  • Status – Either ‘Delivered’ or ‘Unavailable’ indicating whether we were able to calculate a code for your phone.
  • Code – If Status is Delivered, you will find the Unlock Code here.
  • CallbackURL – The URL that is being called with this data (needs to be here for technical reasons).

The listening script uses this information to process the order on your side ! You don’t have to call the UnlockBase server on a regular basis to check the status of your orders anymore, which will save you a lot of trouble as well as precious resources. Please make sure that your listening script will return an HTTP/200 OK code and that the reply contains the string <!–success–>, otherwise we will consider that your server is down and attempt to resend the notification for up to 16 hours !

To setup your ICDN URL, just go to the “Settings” section of your UnlockBase account.