Both Tigger and I have had to have our mobile phones repaired lately. Tigger’s was a small repair that could be done in the shop but my phone had to go back to Nokia. The assistant brightly asked “Have you done a recent backup? You’ll almost certainly lose all your data.” My blood ran cold.

I have mentioned before that we use our phones for many purposes and they therefore contain a lot of data, addresses and telephone numbers, diary and calendar, alarms to wake us up or remember things, spreadsheets and documents of all kinds. The thought of losing all that was worrying. I brightened up when I remembered that I had a memory card installed. “Erm, no,” I replied, “but I do have a memory card. I could back up to that.” It was some time since I had done a backup to the memory card and in my haste I neglected to tick all the boxes. As a result, when the phone came back and all my data had indeed disappeared, I only recovered part of it. Object lesson.

Tigger was without her phone only for a day and I lent her one of my old ones. Though properly grateful for the loan,Tigger could not fail to mention how clunky the old phone was, compared with our current ones. It lacked many features and unfamiliarity made it difficult to access those that were present. It was a relief to get our usual phones back.

The upshot of this was to realize that we needed some sort of backup device. You can assiduously back up your data either to the computer or onto a memory card but this is of little use if you are using a phone which doesn’t take cards or accept the format of the data stored on it. “What we need,” said Tigger, “is another 9300. Then we can transfer data to it and use it while one of our phones is being repaired.” Sorted.

So I did what we modern folk always do in these circumstances and looked on the Web. There I found several Nokia 9300 Communicators for sale. The model is no longer made so these were all secondhand or refurbished. I soon found one going at a very good price. Included was a charger and a data card. I typed in my credit card number and settled down to wait.

The phone arrived yesterday but as I was out, it was taken back to the sorting office. Not that it would have made any difference if I had been in as the house doorbells do not work and I therefore never hear the delivery people. So today I took the card the postman left and went off to collect the phone. It is beside me now, charging up and with a secondary SIM in it.

End of story, did you think? Unfortunately no. When I switched on the phone, up came a little notice asking for my PIN number. That’s all right, I was expecting it. I typed it in. I was not expecting what happened next, however. A second notice appeared saying “System locked: enter lock code”. Now I of course have no idea what this code is. I also have a sneaking suspicion that if you try and get it wrong too often, the phone locks up completely and you need to get a magic spell from Nokia to release it. Oh dear.

The only way I can get in touch with the vendor is by email and I have done so. I am also a member of the what was once the Nokia Club and is now called the Nokia Careline. I called them in the hope that they could help only to be told that “Currently, all our service professionals are assisting other clients. We are sorry for the inconvenience. You can continue to hold or call us back at a later time.”

Don’t you just love modern technology?

Note added later

Thinking about this problem, I had a sudden brainwave. I decided to take the phone across the road to the shop where they repaired our phones and ask if they could help.

They suggested I try the factory setting for the lock code which is 12345. It didn’t work. Well, maybe they could “flash” the phone but if they did that they’d first have to get in touch with Nokia.

At that point, I receive a call to my mobile. It was the vendor. He explained that all his phones were ex-company phones and it was impossible to keep up with all the lock codes. However, he promised to send me a fresh phone straightaway and to include with it an envelope for the return of the locked one. He even gave me his phone number in case I needed to contact him. What could I say?

What I said was that in the circumstances that seemed a good solution and that I complimented him on responding so quickly. We have been without a backup phone all this time and another couple of days isn’t going to make much of a difference.


About SilverTiger

I live in Islington with my partner, "Tigger". I blog about our life and our travels, using my own photos for illustration.
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4 Responses to Frustration

  1. athinkingman says:

    I am relieved to see that the situation is resolving itself at last. I was surprised to hear that the shop couldn’t ‘unlock’ the phone as some shops are able to offer that service without too much problem. Just a thought for the future – there are devices around called ‘Sim Card Copiers’ which are relatively cheap and would enable you to back-up any data on the sim card, regardless of the brand of phone.

  2. SilverTiger says:

    Note that this wasn’t ordinary “unlocking”: I always get my phones unlocked and it generally costs a tenner in London. What seems to have happened here is that the phones being sold cheap by this vendor are ex-company phones and in some cases the user has enabled the system lock (to prevent others from interfering with the phone), changing the default number to one of his or her own. If the phones have been collected up by the company and sold off, then the system lock might well escape notice until someone comes to use the phone.

    I don’t doubt that a competent engineer could by-pass the lock but doing so might fall foul of the anti-theft laws that prohibit tampering with phones.

    Too many failed attempts to enter the correct number can result in the phone locking up completely in which case it can only be released by obtaining an unlock code from the manufacturer who will first need to be persuaded that the phone is legitimately yours.

    In our case, a SIM copier isn’t a lot of use. This is because the amount of information you can put on a SIM is limited and so we use the phone’s own memory which allows much more sophisticated formatting. The best thing is to make regular full backups to memory card as these can be restored to any phone of the same model.

  3. Em says:

    Cool. Great service, too. I could do with a new phone – I dropped my brand new N73 in a cup of sweet tea a few months ago, and it’s literally only working as a phone now. I was using it as a camera, MP3 player, PDA…. so I find it really frustrating – and my old 6630 just doesn’t cut it. I haven’t seen a cheap enough alternative yet though!! Your vendor sounds good.. hint, hint

  4. SilverTiger says:

    I bought it from Part Tech who have their “store front” on Amazon (UK). I was led to their site by a search for a Nokia 9300 and their Amazon advert came up.

    Like eBay, Amazon provides a feedback system so that customers can register their opinion of that seller. Amazon also assures buyers that it will support them if things go wrong, though I haven’t had recourse to this as the seller himself responded impeccably, in my opinion.

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