Nokia Cell Phone Unbranding - gHacks Tech News

Nokia Cell Phone Unbranding

The same Nokia cell phone model can come with different firmware versions depending on the cell phone provider that sold the cell phone. It is not uncommon that Nokia cell phones provided by cell phone providers contain an older firmware version than those that are unbranded. A newer cell phone firmware does not always have to be better but it is often the case.

New firmware may fix bugs, increase the performance or add new features to the cell phone and it is usually recommended to upgrade as soon as possible. There are however some drawbacks to unbranding a Nokia cell phone.

  • The icons and options added by the cell phone provider are removed in the process. This is usually not a problem unless they are heavily used by the user.
  • You might run into problems if you contact the provider for maintenance or repair.
  • The process requires manual research and the operation of several software programs
  • The firmware update will erase all settings like contact information which can however be restored if a backup is created prior to upgrading the firmware.

The first step that you should undertake is to backup the contents of the Nokia cell phone. This can be done with the Nokia PC Suite. The suite can be used to backup all contents of the Nokia cell phone to the computer system making it possible to restore the contents at a later time.

nokia backup

The Nokia PC Suite software can also be used to check if a newer firmware for the cell phone is available. It does however only check the branded firmware and not the generic Nokia firmware.

The information provided by the Nokia tool can be used to compare that firmware version with the latest unbranded firmware version of the cell phone to see if updating the firmware makes sense at all (it obviously does not if the firmware version is identical).

nokia firmware

The firmware of the Nokia N73 cell phone is already up to date according to Nokia's Software Updater application if you check the screenshot above. The current version is listed as 4.0812.4.2.1. The same information can be displayed directly on the cell phone by dialing *#0000#.

The research begins now. The first step is to compare the current official firmware for the branded cell phone with the latest generic firmware for the same model. Sites like these provide a good overview of Nokia firmware releases. If they do not list the cell phone or model use Google to find the information.

In the case of the N73 the latest firmware listed on the page mentioned above is 4.0839.42.3.1 which has been released six months after the latest branded firmware release. This means it is possible to update the firmware to a newer version. Researching the actual change logs of the firmware releases is not always successful on the other hand. Best practice would be to enter the firmware into a search engine and add words like "changes", "change log" or similar to the search phrase.

Tip: If the firmware changes nothing of interest, then it is recommended to keep the old one installed. If it does improve security, stability or performance, improve features, or add new features, then you may want to install it.

Unbranding Nokia Cell Phones

unbrand nokia

The actual unbranding process requires additional software, specifically Nemesis Service Suite. It can be downloaded right from the developer's homepage. Make sure to select Virtual USB Device during installation. Connect the Nokia phone with USB cables to the computer system afterwards.

Note: The application is no longer available.

You start by clicking on the Scan For New Devices button in the top right of the application. It will display the following screen:

Change to the Phone Info tab afterwards and click on the Scan button. Now click on the Read button on the right side of the screen. This will retrieve important information about the phone which we need. The most important information is the current Product Code of the cell phone which is 0544952 for the Nokia N73 test phone.

nokia product code

The important step begins now. Changing the product code of the cell phone will make it look like an unbranded model of the same type. It is important to use the unbranded product code of the same cell phone model to avoid breaking the cell phone.

The same website mentioned earlier to look up the latest firmware information for a Nokia cell phone does list the different product codes as well. There are product codes for different languages and - if existing - different models of the same cell phone. If you cannot find your language or cell phone in the database you can try finding the information using search engines. A search for Nokia N73 unbranded product code or Nokia N73 generic product code should do the trick. Make sure to change N73 to your phone's model.

The generic product code for the Nokia N73 Music Edition is 0539351. Check the Enable box next to Product Code, replace the old with the new and click the Write button in the end. This will replace the cell phone's product code on the cell phone. You can use the same method to restore the old product code again. NSS can now be closed as it is no longer needed.

Start the Nokia PC suite application again or open its window and select the Update Phone Software option from the main menu. If everything went well you will now see that the updater will list the newer firmware for the connected cell phone with the option to update the Nokia phone to it.

nokia firmware update

The updater will download the latest firmware from Nokia servers if you agree to the terms (tick the check box) and click Next. The download had a size of more than 70 Megabytes and it took several minutes afterwards to update the actual firmware. The program will display the progress in the interface. Make sure not to disconnect the cell phone at this time. Best practice is to connect it to a power supply to ensure that it does not run out of power during the process.

The new firmware changes some settings back to factory default, e.g. the time zone, language or date. It is now usually possible to restore the previously saved backup files to the phone. This is important as all contact information and messages are not shown anymore after the firmware update.

Summary
Nokia Cell Phone Unbranding
Article Name
Nokia Cell Phone Unbranding
Description
The guide walks you through the steps of installing a new, unbranded firmware, on your Nokia cellphone or smartphone device.
Author
Publisher
Ghacks Technology News
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Comments

  1. pomhey said on March 24, 2009 at 1:23 pm
    Reply

    Hello Martin, i am your italian fan!
    Great guide, it runs perfectly.

    If i can leave a link, i made this guide in Italian Language one year ago, happy to know that it’s the same.

    http://www.navigaweb.net/2008/05/aggiornamento-nokia-sbrand-nss-symbian.html

  2. Paymun said on March 24, 2009 at 5:02 pm
    Reply

    so does this guide fully unlock your nokia phone? or just unbrands it? I mean can you use sim cards from diff providers after this process?

    1. Martin said on March 24, 2009 at 5:10 pm
      Reply

      It does not unlock the phone, it only unbrands it. Only useful to use newer firmware or firmware from different models of the same phone type (e.g. N73 normal to N73 Music Edition)

  3. Paymun said on March 24, 2009 at 6:06 pm
    Reply

    ah thanks, maybe one of your future blog posts will talk about cellphone unlocking? :D

  4. Anonymous said on April 10, 2009 at 1:31 pm
    Reply

    I have a nokia 5320 xpressmusic phone..i updated the software version, and found that several applications dont run on my phone with the new version, but did run on the old default version.. I can no longer get n-gage games to run on the n-gage application.. Please help.. Can i actualy degrade to my old software? Because this is unhackable

  5. Max said on April 30, 2009 at 3:12 pm
    Reply

    Nokia rulezz forever!!

  6. NokiaFan said on April 30, 2009 at 5:04 pm
    Reply

    I thought Information Week is one of the most reliable sources of information. Thanks :)

  7. Allan said on August 2, 2009 at 12:27 pm
    Reply

    i just got a brand new nokia 5320 xpressmusic § upgraded its OS from Nokia.Have difficulty downloading/installing applications like opera mini 4.2 or 3.1.Tells me “too many active connections” or “invalid .jar or .jad file”.Can someone please help explain or advise?dont mind my contact being published allan.oriri@yahoo.com.

  8. ismaeel said on October 31, 2009 at 2:11 am
    Reply

    i have a nokia n86 i updated my software an nw the phone does not want to switch on way do i do plz help..

  9. Eugene said on July 2, 2012 at 8:41 pm
    Reply

    Thank You for this very easy guide.
    Now I have the latest firmware from Nokia.

  10. Inzamol said on December 20, 2012 at 4:19 am
    Reply

    Why need to update a phone

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