The Galaxy Note 3 is the latest phablet announced by the Korean manufacturer. In September, the most of discussions on the web were not about the undoubted technical qualities, but on the regional block feature integrated at the firmware level in the models sold in Europe; and it could be added to other models after the Android 4.4 KitKat update. Fortunately there is a solution: RegionLock Away.
As the name implies, RegionLock Away, the app removes the regional block, and allows users to use SIM of any operator. The credit goes to Chainfire from XDA developers who has posted the instructions on the XDA Developers forum and RegionLock Away on Google Play store. Currently, the app is compatible only with the Galaxy Note 3 SM-N9005 running MI7 firmware.
Inexplicably, Samsung has decided to activate the region lock, thereby preventing the use of SIM cards that are different from those in Europe. In practice, if a European user can’t use a SIM card from a local operator in the United States, and is forced to use the SIM card from a European operator. Indeed, it leads to high rates of international roaming charges imposed by the service provider.
The developer discovered that the regional block was implemented using a network blacklist, which listed unsupported carrier and countries; and RegionLock Away deletes this network blacklist.
One can also unlock the Note 3 sold in Europe by using a specific unlock code provided by service providers for $20. However, RegionLock Away costs $2.99 or £1.99 but there is also a free version (the APK file is available on the XDA Developers forum).
The region lock is applied in the form of a blacklist that blocks carriers and countries numbers; it’s different from SIM Lock as later whitelists one specific carrier. Above and beyond, Samsung can reactivate or patch the region lock with a firmware update in the future. In this regard, the App developer said, “Right now, this has only been tested on Note 3’s, and found working. Rumor has it Sammy will be bringing the region lock to a lot of devices, even back porting it to devices sold in the past (aren’t there laws against this?). There’s no way for me to know at this time if this specific method will keep working on the Note 3, or if it will work at all on other devices. Maybe the app will need updating; maybe Sammy will block this hack altogether, etc. Only time will tell. In theory this hack can be done without rooting or voiding warranty with some device flashing and app modding, but I’m not currently working on that because it would be highly model-specific and I’m a root user anyway. ”
However, some users have reported that they removed the SIM Lock as well using the Region Lock App. I tried the steps suggested by one of the users and it just works.
Caution: The App requires ROOT and neither the developer nor Samsung will be responsible for any mishap.