Box breakers are shying away from top end handsets because of their up-to-date software and a lack of demand from emerging markets.
Nokia and Sony Ericsson devices, two of the main targets for breakers, are now proving to be two of the toughest brands to unlock due to their newer software, according to phone unlockers.
It comes amid a surge in box-breaking as operators continue to splurge large sums on prepay subsidy.
Only one company in the UK is reported to be able to unlock the latest Nokia handsets like the N95 8GB, 6500 and the 5310.
And Sony Ericsson’s latest devices have to be unlocked via a server, with customers having to pay for an account which entitles them to a number of credits.
Along with a demand for low-end handsets from destination countries, the increased cost is thought to be one of the factors deterring box breakers from targeting recently launched devices.
One unlocking specialist said: ‘A lot of phones cost too much to unlock. The margins have always been on the volume, going through 1000 handsets and making £2-£3 per handset. If you have to pay £15 it’s just not worth it.’
He added that codes to unlock individual phones could be bought in on-line chat rooms from dodgy network staff who charge up to £4 per handset code.
‘Everybody within the business knows where you can get the information,’ he said.
Another unlocker said that the Nokia 6300 was still the most popular handset, with devices from O2 and T-Mobile popular because of their generic boxes, with box breakers paid an extra £1 for handsets in the plain packaging.
A boss of an unlocking company said that Sim cloning, where a phone is fooled into thinking it is using a native Sim card, was growing in popularity as a result of tricks developed to hack into the iPhone.
‘Unlockers and hackers will always find a way,’ he said..
Are networks and manufacturers doing enough to stop box breaking? TextMobileon 07800 009852