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Simcard/ handset how do they communicate to each other?


I am hoping someone could walk me through the steps a sim cards takes once it has been inserted in a phone. 

Specifically I am looking for answers to these questions below too. 

(1) Once simcard is in phone how does it decide if it is eligible to "speak" to handset?

(2) How does a sim card know if a phone IMEI has been  blacklisted?

(3) If a phone's IMEI number doesn't appear on the virgin media database will the sim card and phone be incompatible? 

I recently purchased a phone to use with my pay monthly contract until I can get an upgrade. The phone is unlocked to any network and indeed works with every other UK network provider apart from Virgin. I am trying to understand the mechanics of the simcard/ handset relationship to determine if virgin sims do some part of the process slightly different which prevents the two from working.  

All advice/ info greatly appreciated. I'm determined to get to the bottom of this as I am intrigued with the problem... not to mention I love the phone and would hate to have to give it away/ or change provider). 

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Re: Simcard/ handset how do they communicate to each other?

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