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How to unlock the Dell Streak using a RebelSim

Written By: James Rintamaki on June 11, 2010 51 Comments

locked

Update — 1 July 2010: after a few days using this, and from other people’s reports, it looks like there are issues with the RebelSim II being able to receive/make calls while connected to 3G/HSDPA (as well as connecting to the network in general). However, tt appears to work alright if you keep the phone in 2G (GSM only) mode (see comments below). I will report back when/if any updates occur!

So you just bought a new Dell Streak but you want to use it with a network other than O2 either because you are in the US, UK, or elsewhere, or simply don’t like the O2 network. Unfortunately, there currently is not a software unlock solution available (once one is, I’ll update this post!).  However, you can still use it on other carriers by either A) use the GiffGaff (UK) network or B) use a RebelSim to “bypass” the simlock:

giffgaff tmobile uk

How-To Video:

Either watch the HD below video, or continue on with the written guide afterwards:

Use the GiffGaff network

If you are using, or thinking of using, GiffGaff as a carrier, they are actually powered by the O2 network, so using a GiffGaff SIM will work out of the box (it’s what I am currently using on my Streak).  A quick plug about GiffGaff:

giffgaff

They actually use the O2 network but are a pre-paid network offering “Goody Bag” packages such as £10 for 100min, £15 for 300min, or £35 for Unlimited minutes – and best of all, all three packages come with unlimited data and texts – and since it’s pre-paid, there are NO contracts!   (This of course assumes you like O2’s coverage and data speeds – where I am located, they’re great).

Use a RebelSim

For everyone else (outside the UK, or those not wanting to use O2 or GiffGaff), you can pop over to http://rebelsimcard.com and purchase a HTC Rebel sim II (v1.1) card (currently £9.99/$14.96, plus shipping), combined with whatever sim card you use, to bypass the sim lock on your phone!

main

Basically, the RebelSimCard is a paper thin PCB with a small chip that is the thickness of a SIM card that acts as a middle man between your phone and the your SIM card (yes, it really is that thin!)

thin

It effectively bypasses the carrier lock on your phone, making your phone “think” the SIM card you are using is for the network that the phone is locked to.  There is only one “physical” modification you have to do and that is to punch a hole in the plastic part of your existing SIM card – meaning – no damage or “tech” modifications are done to your SIM card, only the plastic part which isn’t used by any phone is messed with a bit. 

P1010377

How do you get the RebelSim to work with the Dell Streak?  First thing is that you have to buy the “HTC” RebelSim as it is the version that will allow the simlock to be bypassed on the Streak.  

You can order it with or without with the “SIM Cutter” tool that RebelSim offers, but it’s not absolutely necessary.  The tool comes with an insert that will guide you to punch the hole in the exact spot for the tiny chip on the RebelSim to fit into

cutter

(imagine if I flipped the SIM card on top of the RebelSim in the picture below; the black chip would fit inside the punched hole in the SIM card)

P1010379

However, this SIM Cutter is basically just a hole puncher (with the ability to put a “SIM card guide plate” into it).  If you happen to have a single hole puncher already, you should be able to just punch a hole in the top-middle of your SIM card yourself and be fine

P1010369

Now, with your SIM card having a hole punched in it, you want to start by placing the RebelSim on the bottom of it, like so:

together

Now, carefully slide it into the SIM slot on your Dell Streak.  This can be a bit tricky and frustrating, so take your time and don’t push the SIM card + RebelSim combo in the slot if at any time they come apart or are not flush with each other (you may risk damaging the delicate RebelSim). 

I have found the easiest way for me to do it is to start pushing the bottom-left corner into the SIM slot first – first starting on one of the phone’s SIM contacts and slightly pushing it into the corner, then by pushing (rotating) in the other corner until they are both going in together.  (In the picture below, that corner is probably pushed in a bit too much to actually be able to rotate the other corner in…but just keep trying until it works :)  — it’s hard to explain, so if you are not following, watch the video above)

P1010387

If you start to push the SIM card in and the RebelSim is not flush with the SIM card, pull it out and try again:

P1010388

Once you have them going into the SIM slot straight and together, I find it easiest to use another SIM card (or something similarly flat and sturdy) to push them in together at the same time:

P1010390

Once you’ve got them both all the way in, and the RebelSim isn’t sticking out at all (if it is, remove both and try again!), like so…

P1010391

…boot up the phone and enjoy your Dell Streak on a non-O2 carrier!

tmobile

Do you know of a better way to use the Streak on different carrier?  Have you seen a way to sim-unlock the phone?  Let us know in the comments!

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51 Responses to “How to unlock the Dell Streak using a RebelSim”

  1. Rod on: 12 June 2010 at 1:58 am

    Does the 3g data work ok as well as the phone?

  2. James Rintamaki on: 12 June 2010 at 2:21 am

    @Rod, yep, works fine! you just need to change the apn setting to match whatever your carrier uses
    and you are good to go

  3. Rovex on: 12 June 2010 at 4:43 am

    Is the R (roaming) Icon normal when using the rebel SIM?

  4. Oskar on: 15 June 2010 at 11:46 am

    iv got the R letter in the signal icon to and i can make call to other people but no one can call me. HELLP PLEASE

  5. Unlock the Dell Streak to any network with Rebel Simcard II « Rebel SimCard is a revolutionary do it yourself Plug & Play card to bypass simlocks for Mobile Phones on: 15 June 2010 at 1:02 pm

    […] also you can checkout a Full Review By the Tech Team at  jrin.net please Visit Unlock Dell Streak […]

  6. Rod on: 17 June 2010 at 6:38 am

    Can you confirm that you can call (incoming and outgoing) in both 2g and 3g data modes. If so, is there something special we have to do to enable this?

    Thanks

  7. James Rintamaki on: 17 June 2010 at 7:08 am

    @everyone, I just tried putting my T-Mobile UK + RebelSim card in the Streak again and I am only able to place outgoing calls and use data. Not only that, but I tried messing with the settings (choosing a network, instead of auto, and changing to GSM or WCDMA only, and now it won’t even connect to any carrier).

    I’m working on finding a solution and will report back..

  8. Rod on: 18 June 2010 at 6:26 am

    I have the Dell streak and rebel SIM II (installed last night, very simple, 1st put Rebel SIM only part in straight, then slide the sim on top of it then push them both together with another SIM)Installation was fairly simple and worked first time.

    I have 2g and 3g and HSDPA working ok.
    I am able to receive and make calls in all modes.
    SMS in and out works ok.

    I was unable to CREATE and SAVE a new APN so I had to use a “workaround”. I had to modify one of the EXISTING APNs to have the correct APN name (in my case web.pt.lu in luxembourg) even though I did not set the correct
    MNC number to 270 I left it at 01. It still worked.

    The Web access is fast, espcially on HSDPA.
    Watching HD content on youtube (but don’t forget to press menu/watch in high quality while the movie is started ;-)

    So current status is. All working, however, with the roaming option set to ON and the MNC code set to 01 instead of my providers MNC I hope there is no roaming data charges.
    I will know soon ;-)

  9. James Rintamaki on: 18 June 2010 at 6:29 am

    @Rod – that’s how mine was at first too, every thing worked great. Then I tried to replicate the 3G/calling issues that others are reporting by turning on and off data, then switching to “GSM Mode” only, then “WCDMA” only, then back to automatic. Now, I can’t get connected to the network at all. Can you try doing that and see if things still work for you?

  10. Rod on: 18 June 2010 at 6:36 am

    The data did not work for me until I had:
    1. Set the APN to my provider web.pt.lu
    2. Fiddled around with the “data connection” toggle, the network mode etc. It may be a trial and error scenarion ;-) And I got lucky !

    Have you tried a full reset of the streak. (I think you have to power on with the volume up and down keys pressed)

    I am a bit scared to try what you did in case I shaft mine too ;-)

  11. Rod on: 20 June 2010 at 3:27 am
  12. Rod on: 24 June 2010 at 4:57 am

    So today my dell streak was unable to connect the Network at all.
    i.e. No calls and no-data.
    I installed the SIM in my other old Nokia handset as I had heard something about updating the Network keys from time to time.
    I can now make calls but I do not have the data working anymore.
    I have toggled just about evry setting this morning.
    Let’s see if I can get the data back.

    So in summary, I have the same problem you had ;-(

  13. Rod on: 24 June 2010 at 5:00 am

    So today my dell streak was unable to connect the Network at all.
    i.e. No calls and no-data.
    I installed the SIM in my other old Nokia handset as I had heard something about updating the Network keys from time to time.
    I can now make calls but I do not have the data working anymore.
    I have toggled just about evry setting this morning.
    Let’s see if I can get the data back.

    So in summary, I have the same problem as you ;-(

  14. Rod on: 25 June 2010 at 10:11 am

    managed to get it working again

  15. Rod on: 25 June 2010 at 10:14 am

    From time to time you have to put the sim back in an old 2g phone to reset the keys I believe. I had to also do a factory reset to get it working again…….

    The Rebel Sim is not a 100% clean solution

  16. James Rintamaki on: 25 June 2010 at 10:22 am

    @Rod, yah, I agree. I emailed the folks at rebelsim about it and they said they’re currently working on other projects and will re-visit the Dell Streak issue when they can. their official solution is like you said to place the sim in a 2g phone, but they also said to turn off 3g but I don’t even see where that’s possible on the streak… here’s to hoping for a software unlock solution!

  17. James Rintamaki on: 25 June 2010 at 10:26 am

    @Rod, yah, I agree. I emailed the folks at rebelsim about it and they said they’re currently working on other projects and will re-visit the Dell Streak issue when they can. their official solution is like you said to place the sim in a 2g phone, but they also said to turn off 3g but I don’t even see where that’s possible on the streak… here’s to hoping for a software unlock solution!

  18. James Rintamaki on: 1 July 2010 at 4:48 am

    @Rod/all,
    I’ve been playing with a Rebel Sim 1 card today, and it is sporadic whether I will actually receive incoming calls when on 3G/HSDPA – however, if I turn to GSM mode only (2G?), it seems to always work for calls (however, I then do not have 3G and cannot use data and voice at the same time..)

  19. Eric W on: 21 July 2010 at 5:33 am

    Hi, I have installed the Rebel Sim into my Dell Streak, it pops up a message say, “You sim card does not allow you to connect to this network”. I can see my network but when I tried to connect to it, it pops up that message.

  20. Eric W on: 21 July 2010 at 5:35 am

    Hi, previously I can make a call out but I can’t receive calls. On top of that, I can access the internet. Please advice. THanks.

  21. James Rintamaki on: 21 July 2010 at 5:41 am

    @Eric, can you confirm which rebel sim you purchased? (have a link?) and also confirm that the rebel sim isn’t over hanging your actual sim at all? (meaning, you can’t see it at all when it’s in the phone)

  22. Eric W on: 21 July 2010 at 6:34 am

    Hi, now the signal indicator show “No Service”. Please help.

  23. Alex on: 7 August 2010 at 2:21 pm

    I just bought a Dell streak off ebay locked to O2 and I have a rebel sim card. I am in Canada and it doesnt seem to allow me to unlock it. I am with Rogers btw…any ideas? thanks!

  24. DellStreakOwner on: 9 August 2010 at 11:45 am

    thanks for this dell streak jailbreak. i’ve been looking for this. I just got my dell streak yesterday.

  25. Alex on: 9 August 2010 at 12:19 pm

    Anyone in Canada got theirs to work?? Let me know please! Mine doesnt want to work AT ALL! :(

  26. James Rintamaki on: 9 August 2010 at 12:29 pm

    @Alex, have you made sure to put the streak in 2G mode?

  27. Alex on: 9 August 2010 at 12:33 pm

    @James – how is this done?

  28. Alex on: 9 August 2010 at 2:46 pm

    by just putting the phone is gsm mode?

  29. Nate on: 12 August 2010 at 12:12 pm

    Got a U.S. Streak on the way, apparently Dell is AT&T carrier locking them though, guess we’ll find out if it works on O2.

  30. Alex on: 12 August 2010 at 12:23 pm

    just get an unlocked one…saves you so much time and energy.

  31. James Rintamaki on: 12 August 2010 at 12:29 pm

    @Alex, sorry, but I no longer have the Dell Streak so I don’t know the exact steps — anyone else here able to provide instructions for putting it in 2g mode?

  32. Alex on: 12 August 2010 at 12:33 pm

    Yeah I got rid of mine too and bought an unlocked one…no troubles now! Rebel sims BLOW ASSSS. Customer service is shit as well.

  33. Nate on: 12 August 2010 at 12:49 pm

    Well, I figured for $550 it would be unlocked, but apparently all of them are locked even if you buy without a plan.

  34. Alex on: 12 August 2010 at 12:54 pm

    Yeah I know…I got mine off ebay unlocked for a little bit more but welllllll worth it!

  35. James Rintamaki on: 12 August 2010 at 12:56 pm

    Oh wow, I figured the $550 ones from dell US would’ve been unlocked, but they’re indeed locked to ATT?

  36. Nate on: 12 August 2010 at 1:02 pm

    Yeah, I like how they make that announcement after I had ordered it first thing this morning. I thought it would be just like here in the UK and they’d be unlocked.

    http://www.engadget.com/2010/08/12/off-contract-dell-streak-is-still-sim-locked-to-atandt-wrongs-sti/

    I like to know how AT&T is managing to get Dell to sim lock a non-subsidized phone.

  37. Sean on: 14 August 2010 at 10:35 am

    Hi i looked high and low and no one has a solution

    and i cant believe the value these guys offer

    for £10 plus shipping i got a Rebel Sim II and Case and Screen protector as special deal on at moment

    rebel sim not doing 3g fro me but fine in 2g and no other solution around. im quite happy with this deal and company

  38. Alex on: 14 August 2010 at 10:52 am

    ur part of a very small crowd….

  39. Sean on: 22 August 2010 at 5:45 pm

    i have updated for free to v1.2 of rebel sim II firmware

    all is working Sweet

    auto detects APN and have full 3G now and you cant loose signal now ever

    good work Rebel Team

  40. mj on: 8 September 2010 at 11:52 pm

    Sean, how did you make it work? Just update the rebel sim firmware? Any chance of step by step indtruction of how you managed to make it work?

    Thanks.

  41. Sean on: 9 September 2010 at 4:42 am

    Well let me tell you you dont need rocket science degree

    its working 100 percent just simply use v1.2 and then insert in your phone. simple as that with the full shabang and never any signal loss

  42. How to unlock the Dell Streak – UPDATED | jRin.net on: 27 September 2010 at 4:08 am

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  43. Rashed on: 29 September 2010 at 12:00 am

    I am using dell streak with rebel sim II. i can use voice and sms but cant use data. i have added correct apn but still no edge (2g). i got R in my signal bars which emans roaming. and i have enabled use data while roaming option. any idea?

  44. James Rintamaki on: 29 September 2010 at 12:55 am

    @Rashed, it sounds like you are using the old firmware. try updating to the latest 1.2 firmware and that should fix your issues: http://www.jrin.net/2010_09_27/how-to-unlock-the-dell-streak-updated

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