T-Mo Galaxy Avant test unit leaked – Hints at another Uncarrier 5 phase: Phone unlocking?

galaxy avant

Recently, evleaks got hold of an official pre-release press image of an upcoming Samsung device for T-Mobile: Galaxy Avant. Today, we’ve also been given some images of a test unit and a piece of information regarding a very interesting piece of software preloaded on the device. This particular device has model number “sm-g386t”, has 16GB storage and comes loaded with Android 4.4.2. Like the press image showed, it has a central camera on the rear shell, while the shell itself has an unusual pebbled texture. On the front, is a very Galaxy-esque design, complete with physical home button and capacitive menu and back keys. 

As for the interesting piece of software: Two test drivers of the device noted that the phone had a pre-installed app for carrier unlocking the device. Upon booting up the app and going through a couple of prompts, the device was completely unlocked. Our source noted that he tried a VZW SIM card, which worked fine. Interestingly, once the phone was unlocked and the phone restarted, the device unlocking app was no longer there.

Sadly, because the test engineer had already used the app, and it vanished after doing so, we’ve not been able to get hold of any images of the app icon, or the app going through its paces.

Perhaps more interesting is that upon ringing the care team to confirm the unlock, the tester(s) were informed that the gen care team are no longer processing unlock requests. Stating that “…according to our local business support, gen care solution centers no longer own the device unlocking process as part of their scope of support (or won’t soon enough)”

Now it’s possible I’m getting ahead of myself here. But, if T-Mobile test units are coming loaded with a carrier unlocking app, and gen care aren’t processing requests anymore, is there a possibility that it could make its way to all devices sold on T-Mobile? We’ve already heard that one part of Uncarrier 5.0 could be simple billing, by including all taxes and fees in the monthly payments. So, a $50 plan is a $50 plan with no added charges. What if another phase was having the freedom and the ability to unlock your phones and go with another carrier if T-Mobile doesn’t work for you? What’s more, having the ability to do it through an app on your phone, and not needing to speak to a customer service rep.

It does line up with an opinion I shared a while back. In short: If T-Mobile really wants to be the Uncarrier, it shouldn’t just give people freedom from traditional contracts, but traditional network locks too.

While it’s clear that T-Mobile is testing this service, it’s not clear what it means for the future. My immediate reaction would be to predict an announcement at Uncarrier 5.0. It could give Magenta bragging rights over its rivals, doing something risky – yet again – that its competition would never dare try. Sadly however,  I’ve received no information to confirm that prediction so far. That said, the clues are definitely there.

For now, stick it on the “something interesting” shelf, and hope that Legere&Co. announce plans on Wednesday.

Quick update #1: Just to point you towards a T-Mo employee in the comments section below: In order to unlock any T-Mobile device, please contact care or tech support. No changes have been made to the scope of support. Thank you.” 

Maybe this one is a little too good to be true.

Tags: , , , ,

  • S. Ali

    Probably something included in beta testing units for multi-carrier testing (which is why the app disappears)

  • Get_at_Me

    Care not submitting unlock requests anymore is interesting, but maybe the customer deals directly with the oem regarding the unlock. I doubt tmo would ease up on the unlock process/eligibility.

    • nick

      Care still does them I work in care

    • ChristianMcC

      I’ve gotten 3+ unlocks in the last 8 months. They just required I use the phone for a couple days.

    • T-Mobile Cares

      In order to unlock any T-Mobile device, please contact customer care or tech support. No changes have been made to the scope of support. Thank you.

      • logan

        So is this story true? Or is it a bunch of crap

  • monkeybutts

    Very interesting people would be able to switch carriers again if they find T-mobile just isn’t for them if this is true. Most likely would only go to AT&T and AT&T MVNOs with the phones though

    • ChristianMcC

      Well, with Verizon starting up VoLTE, it may work with their network, less the CDMA in most current cases.

    • schweddyballs

      People can already do that lol. Just call up tmobile and unlock your phone and cancel. This app doesn’t change that, if someone hasn’t paid full price for their phone it will not be unlocked, at the very least it’s just another way to reduce call volume into care.

      • monkeybutts

        You have to meet a 40 day service requirement

  • CJ Jacobs

    I call BS!

  • Zac

    Bunton, you took quite a leap here, and into thin air.

  • T-Mobile Cares

    In order to unlock any T-Mobile device, please contact care or tech support. No changes have been made to the scope of support. Thank you.

  • TechHog

    I wouldn’t get excited about this. Even if it does happen, if the merger goes through, it’ll be the second thing to go (after contract-free simple choice). There’s no way Son would be in favor of this.

    • T-Mobile Cares

      If and when the merger goes through, T-Mobile will continue to operate as business as usual. No changes will be made to out core business model. Please keep your eyes out for upcoming announcements.

      • T-Mobile Official

        The merger is happening, and we’re going to copy AT&T and Verizon’s business model. Bend over, suckers!

    • Tawanna Brown

      If they merge they will keep uncarrier and ditch Sprint accorging to reports.

  • Bob

    I’m sure that a payoff of the device is required. The device checks with TMO and if you’ve paid it off it will unlock.

    I’ll bet it also can unlock the phone for a trip. Say you head to Europe for a month. TMO unlocks the device for that month and it relocks at the end of the month. The app doesn’t disappear because you’ll need it again if you pay off the device.

  • Willie D

    In the words of many on the internet, “Pics or it didn’t happen”. And every beta tester knows to document and log and photograph all suspect apps, wording and UI changes.

    • schweddyballs

      Exactly, wouldnt you at least screenshot some mysterious unlocking app? Fail on the ‘testers’ part lol

  • twicetheprice

    The biggest story here is that this kind of apk exists. Surprised there isn’t a huge bounty on XDA for the first person to get the apk and distribute it.

  • bkin94

    Fingers crossed that this pans out! Not only because it would be great, but also it would be nice to see tmonews on the cutting edge of rumors again!

  • Nice One

    What is gen care? Is that a British colloquialism
    for customer service?

    • schweddyballs

      No, its a normal abbreviation of general care, the queue you are routed into when calling tmobile customer service. And most other companies as well…

      • Just Me

        Shweddy…lol…love it

    • Just Me

      No, it’s short for General Care. When you call T-Mobile, there are a few departments such as Financial Care, Tech Support, Business Care, etc. General Care takes care of most issues

  • NoFrigginWay

    Just retract and delete this BS article please? Thanks.

  • ceegii63

    Phone Unlocking app… would be a game changer if true

    oh wait i love windows phones so too bad for me >.<

  • hmmmmm

    Any T-Mobs workers know if this is true or not??

  • Tawanna Brown

    I doubt this article I’d true as everyone knows you can’t use a gsm phone on a cdma network. Even if the phone takes a SIM unless the phone going from tmobile to Verizon is not possible. Att sure… Suspect article.

    • Rod

      Its completely possible. Verizon and Tmobile use the same bands for LTE.

  • Not Unique

    There are other “un-carriers” (i.e. not AT&T, Verizon, or Sprint) that offer the ability to buy an unlocked phone for the full price. I just don’t think it’s unique. And the fact that T-Mobile advertises the fact that they pay off Early Termination Fees – you can go to any carrier you want with an independent service (like Cellbreaker) in order to get out of paying Early Termination Fees.