Stolen / Brought in from oversea without paying tax aka SIRIM Sticker. Considered Illegal. Mostly brought in by student studying oversea.
If you have an AP set with Vodafone or T-Mobile logo, it means that your phone might be locked. Those Vodafone or T-Mobile are the service operators in the UK and that's where the phones come from. Not all AP sets have the logo. AP sets are Approved Products which means that these products are certified by sirim that your product issafe to use.
In other words, AP product not brought in by the authorised distributor like Midland, T-Choice for SE, Avaxx or Zitron for Nokia, FMG for Samsung and etc. The phones can even come from Singapore and may even have the M1, Singtel or Starhub logo. Remember to check the phone if it is locked especially those from Singapore and Vodafone.
AP sets has different level of QC. Big AP companies like Final Choice, GTMAX, Nefion, Telstra, O'Connors have extensive QC checks. Others like MSL, YS, PLANTRONICS or names not mentioned above, are slightly cheaper than the above. Whether they replaced their parts with other stuff, its another question.
AP set actually pay government tax but is juz that they are not taxed by the Local Authorised Dealer. AP set is normally distributed by small handphones companies and they might stop business anytime.
Futhermore if there's major damage on your AP set, the AP companies might not have enough equiptment to fix it. At the end, they still have to send it to the authorized dealer (eg. Zitron, Avaxx).
Tips 4There are recon set might be known as water set, so beware while you buying.
Like what everyone else have said, a phone without a sirim sticker is considered as illegal and thus cannot be sold here. But I'm gonna assume that if the phone is not available here, it should be better. And besides, if you bought the phone from overseas and bring it back here to use, don't tell me it would be illegal to use it right?
Speaking of buying a waterset from a shop, they might say that you did not inspect it properly before buying and thus you are at fault. So yeah guys, if you wanna buy a phone, do yourselves a favor and do these few things:
Sorry, deviated a bit from what is a waterset, but really, people should know these stuff to avoid getting cheated.
Btw, watersets are usually sold without accesories, only phone and charger. So sometimes if you add up buying the accesories elsewhere, it might cost near the same as buying a proper set
Recon set are second hand handphones from overseas, they juz change the phone cover (might not be original cover) and do some servicing inside and sell it as an AP set with warranty 1 year summore. As I know FMG will not fix phones other than FMG warranty handset (even they are paid they will not fix)
Identify Original and AP Set