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Relationship of device IMEI to network lock status

I'm experienced level 1
I'm experienced level 1

Sorry if i am asking something odd, but I learned something odd after speaking to FIDO Tech Support for quite a while trying to understand why I couldn't get the FIDO My Account app to work on my phone. 

Long ago I was a Bell customer, and my first phone was a nice Sony Xperia Z. It met an unfortunate end within months of the contract starting, though I kept it on life support long enough to extract all the stored data and transfer to a Sony Xperia M2 I bought at a  local shop that sold unlocked phones. Put in BELL SIM and everything tickety-boo for years. Then I switched from BELL to FIDO, put in the FIDO SIM adjusted Settings and carry on. The only glitch I had was that it has Android 4.4.4 and would not update to anything newer. And it refuses to run the FIDO My Account app. Loads from the PlayStore fine, but when i go to register it suddenly goes black and says the app is stopping. There is a crash report, which I dutifully read out to the very helpful Tech Support guy. 

And here is where it got weird. My Sony Xperia M2 is not recognized by the IMEI he can see as a Sony - it says it is a Blackberry (and not a Blackberry model that was ever sold in Canada). So obviously somewhere in the dark past someone has changed the IMEI. 

So maybe I am thinking this is why the Android OS won't update, and why the FIDO MyAccount app doesn't want to work.

Now I do have a perfectly legal, valid and legitimate IMEI for my old Sony Z that is in a plastic baggy to keep the parts from getting scattered about the junk drawer. And changing the IMEI isn't as big a deal as it used to be.

BUT.. the old SONY Z was locked to BELL until the day it died. And there is ?no? way of unlocking it now as it isn't in any shape to power up, and I am not a customer of theirs so it isn't likely they would be interested in being particularly helpful.

So if I were to use my old SONY Z IMEI from the phone that was locked to BELL and program it in to my current unlocked SONY M2 phone to restore it as a not-quite-so-confused SONY device would it still be an unlocked M2 and work with the FIDO SIM or would it decide it was a locked Z and then I have to figure out how to get it unlocked when it clearly isn't what it says it is.

Which probably isn't as big a deal as it used to be either. My nephew would probably have it done before he finished a glass of milk and some Oreos.

Thoughts? i have tried searching the net but mostly it is geared towards the opposite direction, changing the IMEI to facilitate unlocking/unblocking - not swapping when you already have an almost perfectly functional unlocked device.






Hey@thePoodleFarmer! Philippe here. Welcome to the community. Smiley


To help you, can you clarify if you spoke to our technical support or with Sony regarding the IMEI?


Alternatively, we'd be happy to check your options to get a new device as well. For that, you can contact us here or we can send you a PM from the community.


Hope this helps!

I was speaking to FIDO Tech support because the issue i was having was with the FIDO My Account app being non-functional since an update earlier this year. That is when i learned that the IMEI the FIDO network sees isn't the IMEI I see when I use Settings>About Phone>Status. And thats when the discussion trailed off, the issue is with my second-hand store phone not the app which is supposed to function with old Android OS like my kitkat


I like my phone. 😍 It hasn't had a lot of functionality disabled. I can plug in a set of headphones and listen to my local FM radio stations using the tuner, without an app or data usage. It doesn't gobble data running a bunch of apps in the background because most of the apps have become disabled over the years, and I have only installed maybe 3. I don't need a lock screen and it doesn't make me have one. It RNDIS tethers to my wifi router, and all my computers be they various Mac or Windows (XP & 10) for data sharing. SONY has a great Xperia software package so i can backup, migrate, repair and do almost anything else in the way of self-diagnosis and maintenance. FIDO doesn't sell SONY/Ericsson that I can see.  it has lasted longer than my first wife. They are both paid off. And no one wants to steal it either.


It ain't too broke. Not bad for 4 years. I will continue to putter and plug away. No rush, sometimes it takes me a year to find the right way. Better than doing it the wrong way in a day.



So I updated the Sony Xperia software on my laptop, tethered my wife's FIDO iPhone for an Internet connection, plugged in my Sony phone and tried to do a software update using the vendor software and it gave me the same message, no updates available. Which is exactly what the phone said. Odd, when I am at Android 4..4.4 KitKat. 

So I tried the Repair Software option to see what would happen. 


"No software found. Authentication failed. Software update or repair of prototype devices is only allowed from specific IP addresses."


Which appears to reinforce the working theory put forward by the FIDO Tech guru that the IMEI was changed to one that was used at the Blackberry development shop back in the day when they had lots of very talented engineers in KW doing software & handset development in Canada. Lots of those folks probably had vacation/retirement properties down this way.


Why was the IMEI changed to a prototype number? it was probably cheaper, easier and faster to change the IMEI at the root to a generic number than to get TELUS to unlock the phone back in the day when they weren't required to unlock phones at no charge once the contract period was up and the phone was fully paid.


Sidenote:: A few years ago, I think my wife had to pay BELL $25 to get the unlock code when out of contract so she could take her 4S to Europe and and get a cheap SIM card there that would work for a 2 week stay. Then she left the phone on the KLM flight when deplaning in Toronto, and before she even claimed her bags at the airport she reported it - and KLM looked and it was already gone. So they got an old iPhone and a prepaid SIM from Netherlands .. and my wife got a new iPhone6S upgrade replacement no charge with another 2 year contract extension. win/win.


Update to the update and end of the chase..


I was searching through the sonymobile developer and support sites and found out where the hard copy of the IMEI is printed on the device. Not the displayed, but physically printed. 


And the IMEI printed in gold on the black plastic is the same IMEI that it shows in the display. So no IMEI change was done. It is what it is what it is, no hanky-panky.


the first six digits is the TAC of the IMEI, and it is a sequence used by Blackberry for prototype devices as I found searching on the net.

Printed in gold, under the SN and other stuff is,

"Prototype build API"


So my Xperia M2 is not a hacked phone. It is legitimately network unlocked based on IMEI. it is an escapee from the Blackberry lab. When i bought it and it powered up as a Telus device it is probably because the Blackberry engineers were using Telus network for testing in KW. t may have a custom ROM based on what it says in the service menu, and I can restore the factory ROM if I choose to take the chance. Everything gets erased and reset.  And maybe it gets bricked if it never had a factory ROM.


It ain't broke much. Don't see much sense in messing around trying to break it. I started reading the SONY Developer site notes on using their authorized bootloader and inserting a custom ROM and my head started to spin, eyes glazed over and all I could think of was the Cragle . Everything is awesome.










We're happy to read everything's resoved @thePoodleFarmer! Smiley 

Fair enough @thePoodleFarmer. Smiley


Thanks a bunch for sharing your experience.

I'm experienced level 1
I'm experienced level 1

The good news is I have the unlock code for the old Z. My wife called BELL and they were more than happy to give her the unlock code specific to the IMEI. Couldn't do it online, the device wasn't registered to her account. Helps that she still has a BELL account. FIDO has great LTE service at home, and zero service where she works. BELL is the opposite, which is why I have FIDO for the both of us.


So worst case scenario I should be able to unlock "it" if necessary.