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How to Unlock a Carrier Locked Phone?

How to Unlock a Carrier Locked Phone

Is my phone carrier locked?

This is a common question that arises when your phone is locked to a single carrier.

The reason might be that your carrier is preventing you from inserting the SIM card in your phone.

Due to this reason you can only use a single carrier or network.

This happens when your smartphone is carrier locked.

To prevent this issue from happening, all you need to do is unlock your carrier locked phone.

Here’re two methods you can try…

Read Also – How to Change Auto Lock Time on iPhone?

Two Ways to Unlock Carrier Locked Phone

Method 1 – Contact Your Carrier

To unlock a carrier locked phone, you will have to contact your carrier.

Before you contact them ensure that you have the below described information:

  1. Account holder’s name and account number.
  2. IMEI number of the smartphone you are using.
  3. The password you have set up to telephone account management.
  4. Lost, stolen, blocked phone will not be accepted.
  5. Overseas deployment papers, corporate or military.

We would also advice you to check out your carrier’s policy to network unlocking phones.

After you are done with all the researching, simply call them up. Remember that such process can be time consuming, so it is better to be prepared for that.

Within a few minutes of talking with the customer executive, you will be able to figure out if its possible or not.

And if all the provided information is enough or not.

Usually there is a time period of 3 months after the purchase before you are eligible for unlocking your smart phone.

And after that unlocking might be chargeable, but in most cases its free of cost.

Method 2 – Buy an Unlock Code Online

One more way or I must say one more option that you can consider in unlocking your phone is by the online method.

You can simply register with one of a few websites that says they focus in acquiring unlock codes for changing networks or carrier.

Remember that unlike the other option, this method will be chargeable.

Below are the names of websites with links, that can help you unlock a carrier locked phone –

  1. Unlock Radar
  2. Doctor Sim
  3. Release My Code
  4. Free Unlocks
  5. The Unlock Arena

All the above sites have good reputation, with trial and tested methods.

You just need to go to their respective websites and register.

After that you will be asked certain details regarding the phone and other stuff.

The average price of the unlocking process can be around $17 and online payment options are available.

The whole process of unlocking with this method can take up to 15 minutes.

Though the time can be increased due to variable factors.

Is It Legal to Unlock Your Phone?

Unlocking phone was considered illegal a few years back but it is legal now under the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act.

This decision was made by FCC to put power in the hands of the consumer.

One thing you should keep in mind that you cannot overcome the GSM/CDMA limitations of your smart phone.

One GSM network of a SIM card can be replaced by another, but such a SIM can’t be used on a smart phone that sits on a CDMA network.

Unlocking a carried lock phone should be done before you leave your carrier.

If you try to do it after your contract expire then it will not be possible.

But why is your Phone Carrier Locked?

There are various reasons to why is your phone carrier locked.

Traditionally, carriers underwrite the purchase price in exchange for, on average, a 2-year contract.

Normally you pay something around $199 for your phone but if you don’t opt for the contract or “SIM free” then you will have to pay around $599-799 upfront.

This contract ensures that the carrier can recoup its subsidy over the course of the contract.

In case, you want to cancel the contract then first you will have to pay ETF (early termination fee).

This will ensure that the carrier gets its money back.

Why should you Unlock your Locked Phone?

There can be many reasons to why you might want to unlock your phone.

This can be due to network issue, high charges or compatibility problems.

But after you get the device unlocked, it will be as easy taking out your current SIM card and putting another SIM of your choice in your device.

Let’s consider an example of the United States where you can switch to T-Mobile from AT&T without any extra charge.

This is possible since both the carrier use GSM technology and it is as easy as switching the SIM card.

When we talk about the phone’s worth, you will get more money when you try to sell an unlocked phone in compared to a locked one.

Plus, an unlocked phone can be sold anywhere in the world.

But if you wish to sell a locked phone, then the new buyer must have the same carrier SIM as yours.


So, if you are considering unlocking your carrier locked phone then you can try the above means.

As already mentioned, there are various reasons to unlock a phone and if you are one of those who are very moody then it is better to only buy a phone without any contract.

This might cost you extra, but this will also ensure that you can sell that phone whenever you want without any trouble.

Written by Hardip Koradia

Hardip Koradia is a pro tech blogger with years of experience in writing resourceful articles on different tech topics like mobile apps, PCs, gadgets, software, how to guides, etc. His passion for technology inspired him to start Techbylws, a growing tech blog.