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New (from box) Vodafone Smart First 7 SE Locked After Inserting VF Sim - CS Useless

2: Seeker

Hi, just received my new (as above, sealed in box 100% legit) phone - chosen to replace an earlier version that recently got water damaged. I'm obviously not into tech & chose the closest version to what I had before - both with VF (I'm not interested in changing networks & stupidly thought this would be the easiest way to go about it). I'd hoped to use it with my previous (undamaged) sim & at 1st all seemed ok, but then 'updates' were prompted & applied (not by me) & suddenly the phone is locked, stating 'SIM network unlock PIN'[ & EMERGENCY CALLS. I've tried replacing the sim with the new one (supplied in box with new handset) but it makes no difference. I've called VF directly, but been told there's nothing they can do (even though it was clearly working fine until this 'update') cos I didn't buy it from VF directly - to me, this is a total cop out, there was nothing wrong with the handset until this 'update', the phone was brand new & sealed in the box & clearly has nothing to do with the seller. It's not even like I'm trying to change networks, both the sim from my old water damaged phone & the one that came with the new handset are VF, but neither will work now & this can't be right. I spent a long time on a call to VF customer service & really had to push to get anything checked & it felt like they jumped on laying the blame elsewhere cos I didn't order from VF directly, but VF are still the manufacturer (as stated on the sealed box) so this feels wrong. Yes, it's a low value phone, but should that matter? I still can't use it & VF have been no help at all. Common sense tells me this phone isn't faulty, it was fine before the 'update' - what kind of update locks you out of your own network? I'd really appreciate some real help please. 

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17: Community Champion

Hi @dizzymerc 


An official android software update certainly shouldn't lock the phone to stop it connecting to a network.

If it did I'd expect to see increased posts on this forum and others from people who are also experiencing this. Vodafone would also soon know from the increased inbound calls to them from concerned owners.

As a process of elimination can you try your sim card in another phone ie a friends , colleagues or families that'll accept a Vodafone sim card, and then see what happens to rule out if the sim has failed.

If so Vodafone can replace it via a sim swap.

Go into the phone and find a reset networks connection or something similar which may help. You could also opt to choose a different network in the phone's connection settings and then re choose Vodafone to help refresh the connection.

As a last resort try a factory reset ? Be aware this process could delete your saved information within the phone however.

As Vodafone didn't supply the phone your recourse is with the seller according to the Consumer-Rights-Act-2015. 

The phone may simply have failed and may have nothing to do with the recent update.

Also sometimes we see phone's are working for a short time then suddenly stop due to the phone being blacklisted by the seller.

You can check the status of the phone via using the following site if you wish. 

Vodafone should also be able to see if the phone has been blacklisted too.

Vodafone should also be able to check the status of your account.

The Vodafone Social Media Team's via Twitter or Facebook can check. They can't from your post here as there is no account access via this forum.


Where-do-I-find-my-PUK-code if this has any bearing on your situation.

I wish you all the best with this. 


Current Phone > Samsung Note 20 Ultra 5G - SM9860 Snapdragon.

Samsung One Ui 3.1  / Android 11.

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17: Community Champion

Hi @dizzymerc 


I am having problems finding your make of phone, the only Smart 7 I can find from GSMarena is here: Smart 7 and that phone was released 2016 and I doubt there are many of them still in original boxes sold as new. If you can confirm exactly the make of phone it would help. I have also looked at the Vodafone website and Vodafone no longer sell own brand phones.


I suspect the problem here will be with the update, and it may be worth checking the amount of available space on the phone, it more than likely there was insufficient space for the temporary files to download and the update is terminating corrupting the phone.


If you are able to turn on the phone without the SIM, you should be able to go to about phone and do a factory reset of the device and try updating the phone again.


You don't mention where you purchased the phone, if the phone is no longer working it will be a phone fault and the best advise would be to go back to the seller.

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11: Established

Is it this one:

Vodafone Smart First 7 SE White with Top up (Locked to Vodafone Network) - White

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17: Community Champion

Good find. 

If it is @WelshPaul then there are a few reviews from owners sharing the fact that the phone stopped working quite soon after activating it.

Current Phone > Samsung Note 20 Ultra 5G - SM9860 Snapdragon.

Samsung One Ui 3.1  / Android 11.

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I'm really sorry to hear about the issues you've experienced since updating @dizzymerc. As @BandOfBrotherssuggested, we'd be happy to look into this for you via Social Media here if you'd like our help. It's important to note however, if we're not able to find an issue with the SIM card, the best advise would be to reach out to the seller as @AnnS explained 👍

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