Buying a 6301 on eBay? Make sure you are getting a 6301 and one that will work where you live!
Why The Confusion?
The problem is the 6300 looks almost exactly like the 6301 from the outside. Inside the differences are astounding. For example, the 6300 has no WiFi ability at all. So if you were planning on taking advantage of T-Mobile HotSpot or Fido UMA to save minutes, you'll be out of luck. The other difference is the 6300 has less than 8 megabytes of user memory available. The 6301 has 30 megabytes of user memory available.
6300 or 6301b? It's hard to tell from the outside.
The device on the right is a 6301.
The problem doesn't end there. Even sellers who have 6301 model phones have to let you know which variant they have. The 6301 for Europe operates on 900/1800/1900 MHZ GSM. The 6301 for North America operates on 850/1800/1900 MHz GSM. The issue here is many North American carriers operate on 850 MHz GSM. If you have the European variant it will not function on the 850 MHz band so on 850 MHz carriers you will get the "No Service" message. Nokia designates its triband phones for North America with a "b" after the model. So the North American 6301 is a 6301b.
The 6300 on the left has a bluish keypad, the 6301
has a brownish red keypad in this illustration.
This is not diagnostic. My 6301b has a bluish
keypad and a bluish sidelight. Check the battery
compartment label to be sure.
You've sorted out the 6300 from the 6301, you've sorted out the European model from the North American model. Your work isn't quite done! Another wrinkle has to do with the settings the carriers use to implement WiFi. Each carrier has their own settings. You will need to ensure if you are purchasing a 6301 to make use of the UMA capabilities, that you purchase a device that was originally sold for use on your provider's network. This is determined by what firmware is on the phone. Fido, Orange UK, Rogers, T-Mobile US all have their proprietary firmware with opening splash screens. They all think you need reminding about to whom you send you money every month.
Where's The Relief?
Looking at the outside doesn't help. The only exterior marking is on the removable and replaceable battery cover. The best place to look is on the label inside the battery compartment. The label has a lot of information on it. The model, the type, the FCC ID and the Code and country of origin. The Type is the Nokia internal model number. Several Types can be sold with the same marketing model number.
The Models: 6300, 6300b, 6301, 6301b
The Types: RM-217, RM-222, RM-322. RM-323
FCC IDs: PPIRM-217, PPIRM-222, PPIRM-322, PPIRM-323
Codes: Product code varies by carrier and type. 0557512EP3112 is one T-Mobile US code, others may exist.
Made in: Hungary
- To date all 6301 phones I've seen are Hungarian produced. This can change, probably will change. But for now this is true.
- The first seven digits of the product code are significant, the rest have meaning but not for purposes of this article. The product code tells the Nokia Update server which firmware to load to the device when you update the phone with your PC. Firmware Version 8.22 is the current firmware for T-Mobile. The seller can check the version (5.93 or 8.22 for T-Mobile) by entering *#0000# from the stand-by screen.
- The first three characters of the FCC ID are the manufacturer code, the remainder are the product type and should match "Type:"
Here is How It Goes Together:
FCC ID: PPIRM-217
900/1800/1900 MHz - no WiFi
North American 6300
FCC ID: PPIRM-222
850/1800/1900 MHz - no WiFi
FCC ID: PPIRM-322
900/1800/1900 MHz + WiFi
North American 6301
FCC ID: PPIRM-323
850/1800/1900 MHz + WiFi
Which Phone Is Right For Me?
The answer to that is a function of your needs and where you live.
If you need WiFi because you are a T-Mobile subscriber looking to cut your billable minutes you'll need a 6301b RM-323 FCC ID: PPIRM-323, Product Code 0557512. The product code tells the Nokia Update server which firmware to load to the device when you update the phone with your PC. Version 8.22 is the current firmware for T-Mobile. The seller can check this by entering *#0000# from the stand-by screen.
If you live in the UK and do not need WiFi you could use the 6300 RM-217. This operates on the 900 MHz band which is active in the EU. If the phone is not locked to a particular carrier it will not make any difference which carrier firmware is on it. It will be easier to take advantage of your carrier's services if it is flashed with your carrier's firmware. It may be, overall, more functional if it is unbranded.
How To Proceed?
Although it sometimes appears a particular seller is purposefully misrepresenting his or her 6300 as a 6301 most frequently this is done out of ignorance. Ask questions of the seller. Point them to this guide if they need help in figuring out what it is they have. Always assume ignorance before malice. It is better to ask questions and if the answers are not forthcoming or inadequate to pass over the item than to bid on a headache in the making.
I am the proud owner of a Hong Kong sourced Nokia 6300 sold as a Nokia 6301b for T-Mobile. It had two versions of Chinese and one version English on it. There was so little free memory that it could hold only one set of MMS settings at a time. The seller refunded a substantial amount of money to make it right and I added it to my collection. My guess is you don't collect mobile phones and you'll actually want to use yours. This was a year ago and I have now gotten around to putting together this guide so you won't end up like I did.
The main boards are similar with the WiFi
circuitry in the red rectangle at the top being
the largest difference.
I hope this was useful and somewhat entertaining. If it was either please leave me a positive vote. If it was neither, please contact me with your concerns and I will work to improve it. Several of my guides have benefitted from the constructive insights of readers like you.