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I bought a Nokia Lumia 520 which is said to be decoupled ("independent") from telco providers. It seems to be decoupled (I can use it with any SIM) but when I turn the phone on, the first thing I see is a huge Vodafone logo.

I bought it in Hungary but the box of the phone is written in Italian language (Nokia Sales International Oy, Sede Secondaria in Italia). Is it possible that the phone first was sold in Italy in Vodafone system (like monthly subscription and + 0 euro for the phone), then decoupled illegally and sent to Hungary to sell again?

How can I be sure that my phone came from legal source? I checked its IMEI number, it said, it still has warranty. But what happens when Italian Vodafone provider realizes that noone pays the monthly subscription and blocks my phone?

  • Unlocked does not necessarily mean unbranded. – Neil Turner Jun 23 '14 at 16:25
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It can be perfectly legal (depending on local laws, etc.) to remove carrier locks from phones. for phones bought in the EU, there is the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive which allow the carrier lock on the phone to be independent of the customer's contract to provide mobile service.

Italy's specific laws require that subscribers can obtain unlocking codes after nine months by paying half of the listed subsidies. After 18 months, the SIM lock must be removed.

In your case, it might be the case that the phone was used, and the original user has decided to get the phone unlocked and use a different model (perhaps one with more memory, or a different camera) ahead of their contract term.

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