20130514

Review: Nokia 500 Totally Locked to Mobilicity A Bad Idea


When the Nokia 500 came to Mobilicity a couple years ago, it was an entry phone for smartphone fans who can't afford Google smartphones, Apple iPhones, and especially Samsung superphones (anything associated with 4G).

Initially Mobilicity was selling Nokia 500s for $250, then $200, then $150, then $100 and when fans could afford it, they discontinued it.

Yet almost everyone who bought a Nokia 500 bitched and complained about it. First, Anna barely worked. It crashed or froze. So Belle replaced Anna, supposedly over the air, but in most cases the Nokia user needed a PC with Windows to upgrade the OS.

So much for OTA on Anna.

Me, I waited a long time when Nokia 500s were being sold by jaded smartphone fans for under $100. After picking up one for $75 CAD recently, I concur with the disappointed Nokia fans who are either iPhone fans or Android fans now: Anna is a disappointment.

It too me a week to figure out my Nokia 500 is locked to Mobilicity for life. Coming from a store that sells mid- to high-end smartphones on a prepaid contract, I'd expect better. Though it turns out now that Mobilicity has seen the light and offered unlocked phones.

The only catch here is that the phone must have the 1700 MHz band to be fully functional in their AWS network.

Theoretically, an iPhone 4 might work as a 3G phone but will be slow to refresh the browser screen. All that's missing in the HSPA bands is the 1700 MHz band in an iPhone. In iPhone 5, it has the band for GSM along with the 700 MHz band but the CDMA version unlocked will not work on a GSM network.


So GSM phones might work in Bell's network only if addition to CDMA, Bell has a GSM 3G network to augment the CDMA channels.

Enough of smartphone specifics.

A close look at Nokia 500's specifics shows that it has full HSDPA range with 1700 Mhz band. Bell's 3G+ is UTMS so the frequency bands for a Samsung i757m locked to Bell are not equivalent to a Samsung i727 locked to Rogers.

The fact that HSDPA is used in a Nokia 500 suggests that it would work on a Bell network up to 3G but not on a Rogers network.

However, HSPA+ being common to both networks, a phone with 850/1900 MHz bands will work on both networks when unlocked.

Therefore a Nokia 500 if unlocked would also work on Bell, Telus and Rogers networks.

Sadly though, Nokia 500s are locked. You'd have to beg Nokia directly for a factory reset and be prepared to pay upwards to $100.

Since this involves a credit card, I'm stuck with Mobilicity. I'll pass.

Overall, though I used the Nokia 500 as a camera when I recently visited Victoria but stopped using it when I realized that it'd be best to transfer the pictures by Bluetooth to my Samsung phone as the Nokia had no way to upload by wifi to my Google account.

This is what happens when Symbian is locked to the Nokia network. It's also why Nokia's shares are falling. Yet the ex-Nokia fanboys are bitching at Nokia rather than Microsoft, who is the real reason why Nokia never went for Android.

Overall, Nokia + Windows 8 is as proprietary as Apple and iOS. Symbian appears to reflect this old-fashioned philosophy.

But I digress.

Overall the Nokia business model is failing its investors. Sadly, their lack of understanding of both the Apple + iOS business model and the Google + Android business model is why they went with Microsoft. I can only see big gaping security holes due to Windows.

Even so, Symbian has the potential were I to sign up to nokia.com. However, I want to get Belle into this Nokia 500 before I even consider it.

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