Samsung was the target of extensive hate recently as it came to light that the Note 3 and other high-end devices would be sporting a new region lock designed to cut back on gray market importers. The company said the lock was only a problem the first time a phone was activated, but some users now claim to be having ongoing issues with foreign SIMs not working. Whether or not Samsung's region lock is working as intended, noted developer Chainfire has released an app that can circumvent the lockdown entirely.

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The tool requires root, and has thus far only been tested on the SM-N9005 variant of the Note 3 with MI7 firmware. The app updates the network list when activated and instructs the modem to reset itself. After a quick reboot, you should be unlocked. Since this is in the early stages, it is not known if other devices will work the same way, or if firmware updates will reset the region lock. And of course, you could possibly break something messing around with root apps like this. Use caution... at your own risk, and so on.

The app costs $2.79 in Google Play, but you can grab it for free on XDA. That's also where users are working to check other Samsung devices with the region lock to see if the tool works.

[Chainfire Google+]

Ryan Whitwam
Ryan is a tech/science writer, skeptic, lover of all things electronic, and Android fan. In his spare time he reads golden-age sci-fi and sleeps, but rarely at the same time. His wife tolerates him as few would.

He's the author of a sci-fi novel called The Crooked City, which is available on Amazon and Google Play. http://goo.gl/WQIXBM

  • TheSparks

    These are only some of the reasons why I hate Samsung...

    • http://www.droid-den.com Rachid

      Which reason?

      • TheSparks

        Region lock, touchwiz, ugly hard ware, home button,etc.

        • http://www.droid-den.com Rachid

          The others yeah lol, but I wouldn't care about region lock as much :P

        • TY

          I don't think home button is a big problem. The menu button which should have been dead two years ago is.

        • Suhas

          As much as I hate TouchWiz, anyone can use a custom launcher to bypass that. I'm a Nexus user so I love on-screen buttons; but I don't mind the physical "home" button.

          However what intrigues me is why only Samsung keeps placing the "back" capacitive key on the right side whereas AOSP and most (or all) of other major players place it on the left. Weird differentiation strategy.

        • RH

          Call me old fashioned...I prefer the home button.

    • Aqib

      Honestly feel sorry for you getting thrills on an android forum, or prob a Apple fanboy so piss back to where, oh yeah no where you're not wanted!

  • wallstreet

    There is no need to hate Samsung as Chainfire is always around the corner to help us out like a friendly neighborhood spiderman.
    Thanks Chainfire..

    • Mike Reid

      I disagree. This is a perfectly valid reason to "hate" Samsung, or at least shun their products, should anyone choose to do so. I so choose, as is my right as a customer with 5 of their phones, a potential customer who may buy more, and someone who may offer advice to others.

      And same for the secrecy that has resulted in CM devs moving away from Exynos support.

      I've praised Samsung in the past for updating older (& popular) phones and not locking boot-loaders. Fair is fair.

  • http://www.droid-den.com Rachid

    App is great (as is the dev). But remember how the issue was completely blown out of proportion as well...

    It'll only lock if you initially use a sim outside of the phones region, which is only ever likely if a phone is imported. And if you're in the country when you buy it pop a free local sim in to avoid the issue.

    It'll affect only those Samsung is trying to effect in reality.

    • Suhas

      If you read the XDA thread you will see that though Samsung claims that popping a local SIM would remove the region lock; there have been instances where certain users were unable to bypass the region lock even after activating through a local SIM and trying to use it in a different region.

      • Mike Reid

        Can't +1 this enough.

        The experience of some people/phones (not all) indicates Samsung was either very incompetent in their explanations, or deliberately misleading.

        AFAICT, they still haven't provided an accurate explanation for why some people/phones still have problems, so I'll lean more to "deliberately misleading" IE lying, for marketing reasons.

    • http://blog.artesea.co.uk/ artesea

      Expect the statement that using a local SIM to unlock the device is just miscommunication from Samsung customer service reps. Why users continue to pester people so out the loop, then to claim that they have the one true answer, I'll never know.

      • http://www.droid-den.com Rachid

        All hope is already lost for anyone who needs to call CS nowadays :/

      • Mike Reid

        Has Samsung produced an official, accurate public explanation yet, from head office/their top marketing/communications people that explains why some phones/people still have problems, as explained on the XDA thread ?

        Yeah, never mind the CS folk; I want to see an official higher level explanation that matches real life observations.

  • flosserelli

    Chainfire is an amazing developer. He may be offering this for free, but I highly encourage anyone that uses his apps to donate to him. This stuff doesn't happen by magic.

    • Omar

      i love the way he markets his stuff. i prefer his methods to koush

    • Vardan Nazaretyan

      In fact, Scamsung should buy this app for everyone who wants to use it.

  • john

    I got firmware upgrade on my note 3 just today and now my roaming SIM is working. My note 3 was previously region locked in middle east. Now everything is fine after the upgrade

    • Lei

      Hi John! I am now here in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and I am planning to buy Note 3 here for me and for my wife but this "region locked" issue makes me undecided. Do you think it will work the SIM from Philippines if I totally reached there? Hoping for your response. Thanks in advance.

  • https://plus.google.com/108596272537415356460/posts Jason Farrell

    FYI: You can buy prepaid SIMs on EBay for various countries for less than the cost of this app, not that it's any more convenient (though it may be more reliable)

  • http://www.geordienorman.com/ George Byers


  • Carlos

    Hi eveybody, i've an samsung Note 3 , Model : SM-N9006 SW: Android 4.4 !
    does anyone have experience with this model?

  • jhoy

    hi good morning :) i know this website is obviously for android but i relly need your help to remove the region lock of my lg-ku4000 it always showing "invalid card in this region" i've benn searching it but i can't fix it...pls help me to fix it