I purchased the phone from london drugs, and yes all new phones have to be carrier unlocked in canada as of dec 2018. and yes sim is activated.
Yes, however, it only means that they must give you the unlock key for free. There are brands that lock ( some of?) their devices to the first SIM inserted. Samsung is the biggest one, I don't know if ZTE does it as well.
If you used another carrier's SIM in this phone initially, there is a chance that it is locked to that carrier. You'll have to get the unlock code from them.
I tried the new activated SIM card in another carrier unlocked phone and it shows "no sim" yet again. I wanted to try his sim in my phone to verify that its not the sim reader as well, but i didnt want to unsnap his sim adapter.
So i will exchange the sim and try again.
it does not ask for unlock code.
it is account specfic, because we tried a new public sim card thats not registered to my account and it showsup in the ZTE phone.