Things to do before selling your Galaxy Note9 (so it works on another network)

Many people are asking what are the steps that they should take before selling their device or giving it away as a gift. In today’s episode, we show you the basic things to consider when selling or giving away your Galaxy Note9.

Problem: What are the things to do before selling your Galaxy Note9 (to ensure it works on another network)

We spend part of our year in Canada and part in the UK.  While we were in the UK last month, I took advantage of a great Samsung special and bought a Note 9.  The Samsung phones sold in the UK, in common with all Samsungs sold in the EU, have a protection device, presumably to stop people buying the phone in the UK and then bringing it back to Canada and selling it as still sealed.  You have to unpack the phone and insert a UK SIM, then make a call for at least five minutes (my retailer suggested 20 minutes, but I found that ten was enough) in order to complete the unlock and then be able to use it with any network outside Europe, in my case that’s Canada. I’m not getting on with it very well – my main phone has been a BlackBerry 10, and I’m having a hard time getting used to Android.  If I decide to sell it, I would obviously want to factory-reset it to make sure that my data is deleted and the phone can be set up by a purchaser. The question is, if I do a factory reset, would I, or a new purchaser, have to go through the UK-based SIM procedure again, before it can be successfully used in Canada or the US? In other words, is the whole system, including this security lock, reset if I restore manufacturers’ settings? Thanks in advance for any response, Happy New Year.

Solution: Many Samsung devices are built for specific carriers that order them. The carrier-branded phones sport hardware specifications in order to work for a particular network. In the context of UK mobile environment, these means that the hardware will be using GSM technology, which is different from CDMA. While many GSM phones may work with CDMA networks, there may still be  some incompatibility issues that can occur. In general though, these issues are minor and can have workarounds.

Factory Reset Protection

Samsung devices are secured from unauthorized factory reset with the help of FRP or Factory Reset Protection. This is a security feature that prevents stolen phones from being used after wiping its storage device. This works by asking for the username and password of the Google account associated with the device. If a user is unable to provide the credentials, the phone will lock up and will stay that way until the correct information are entered. In order to avoid causing trouble to the buyer of your device, make sure to remove or delete any or all Google accounts from your Note9 before you factory reset it. You can do that by doing these steps:

  1. Open Settings app.
  2. Tap Cloud and accounts.
  3. Tap Accounts.
  4. Tap on the Google account you want to remove.
  5. Tap REMOVE ACCOUNT button.
  6. Tap REMOVE ACCOUNT to confirm.

Phone must be network unlocked

The answer to your question depends on what type of provisioning process your Galaxy Note9 needs in order to work on another network. As long as it’s properly network unlocked, it should be able to work in another network. By “network unlocked” we mean the state of a device’s network configuration that should allow it register to a new network (outside its original network). If the original network did not unlock your Note9 for some reason, it won’t be able to use voice calling, texts, MMS, and mobile data on another network. Some of the common reasons why a phone may refuse to register to a different network includes the following:

  • device has been reported as lost or stolen,
  • device is tied to an account with unpaid balance,
  • device’s IMEI has been changed, modified, or erased,
  • device’s hardware is not compatible with the network (it’s trying to connect to)
  • there’s software incompatibility with the network (it’s trying to connect to)

Get help from your carrier

We don’t have first hand information about your particular Galaxy Note9 so the best thing that you can do right now is to call your carrier. By doing this, you want to make sure that your phone is cleared properly and you don’t have any outstanding balance. If you do, make sure to settle that first and then request that the phone be network unlocked (so you can use it on another network). If your Note9 is already factory unlocked, which means that it’s been unlocked before you set it up, then all you have to do is to ensure that you pay all your bills. That way, your carrier won’t tag the device as stolen or lost and block it from connecting.

Factory reset will most likely return all software configuration to their defaults. This means that the device software environment will be like the way when you first unboxed it. Its network settings will also be reverted to their normal, carrier-specific configuration so the same process that you did may be necessary. Again, we are not 100% sure about this so we suggest that you talk to your carrier first. If you have your Canadian SIM with you, insert it to your Note9 after wiping it with factory reset and see what happens. If you are on a GSM network in Canada, we don’t think you’ll encounter any major issues at all. The problem might happen though if you’ll be using it on a CDMA network. Keep in mind that some carriers may employ both GSM and CDMA  depending on the region. If you plan on selling the phone, make sure to tell the purchaser about these factors to avoid causing problems.

Check the frequency

Another problem that you may encounter when using a European phone in Canada is the chance that it may have a frequency problem. Examples of frequency range many GSM networks in Canada are using are 800, 850 and 1900 MHz. These means that the physical infrastructures (cell towers) are broadcasting in these radio bands only. If your Galaxy Note9 does not support the existing frequency being used by a Canadian operator (or by any other network operator somewhere else), your device won’t be able to register at all. This limitation is hardware-related so there’s nothing that you can do about it as you can’t change the hardware on your device. If there are multiple network operators in the area, you can try to see how your Note9 works by using their SIM cards.

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