How to Android Phone Unlock, This Gsmsolution24 teaches you how to navigate the process of carrier unlocking for an Android phone. Unlocking your phone from your carrier’s contract will enable you to switch carriers on the fly, but there are some limitations that accompany a carrier-unlocked phone.
Determining Your Phone’s Eligibility
- Know that carrier unlocking has its limitations: While estranging your phone from your contracted service provider (e.g., Sprint) does allow you to switch carriers on the go in theory, keep in mind the following things:
- As long as you are under contract, be it a two-year or otherwise, your carrier has no obligation to unlock your phone.
- Your Android’s data type (GSM, CDMA, or LTE) makes a difference in which carriers you can use once your phone is unlocked (though most Android phones support all of the above).
- If you’ve paid off your phone or you bought it outright in the first place, your carrier has to unlock your phone upon request.
2. Find out if your phone is already unlocked: Most phones from Verizon and Sprint come carrier-unlocked by default. There are also carrier-unlocked variations of Android phones that you can purchase online.
- The Nexus, for example, comes equipped with both CDMA and GSM network support. This is also true of “International” versions of Android phones that you can buy online.
- Although they use CDMA for voice and 3G data, Sprint and Verizon both have unlocked SIM slots for LTE data, which will allow you to use your Android on any supported LTE networks.
3. Consider the status of your contract: If you didn’t purchase your phone for full retail value, you’re probably on a two-year contract with your carrier. This presents a couple of problems:
- Your carrier technically owns your phone until you finish paying it off, meaning that they aren’t obligated to unlock it.
- Even if your carrier does agree to unlock your phone, you’ll likely need to pay off the rest of your account (e.g., purchase the remaining percentage of the phone that isn’t yours) before they’ll do so.
4. Know your carrier’s policy on unlocking phones: Each of the major four carriers (Verizon, Sprint, AT&T, and T-Mobile) have slightly different criteria for unlocking, but the main theme is that you must own your device. In most cases, the device also must be licensed by the network in question (meaning you can’t ask a Sprint representative to unlock your T-Mobile phone for you).
- Verizon doesn’t place a lock on most of their devices. Even if your Verizon device has a lock on it, you can usually request an unlock as early as six months into the contract.
- Sprint will unlock your device for you if it a) has been on the Sprint network for at least 50 days and b) has been purchased in full (e.g., you don’t have any payments left to make on it).
- AT&T requires you to submit your device’s information for review. If your device is eligible for an unlock, AT&T will let you know within five business days.
- T-Mobile unlocks your phone for you if you’ve paid the phone off and the phone has been on a T-Mobile network for at least 40 days.
5. Proceed with unlocking your Android phone: If you’ve determined that your phone is eligible for carrier unlocking, it’s time to take your Android phone into the closest carrier store to you.
Unlocking Your Android Phone
Make sure your service provider will unlock your phone. Based on your contract (or lack thereof), your carrier’s policy, and so on, you should have a pretty good idea of whether or not they’ll unlock your device for you. Even so, calling ahead to make sure will save you time and frustration.
- Remember that your carrier has a legal obligation to unlock your phone for you if you’ve paid for the phone in its entirety.
- Sometimes, small carrier branch stores won’t unlock a phone for you. In these cases, you’ll need to visit a corporate branch store.
Purchase a SIM card for your preferred network. You can do this online or from the network’s carrier store. While optional, having the SIM card on hand will allow you to install it directly after unlocking your phone.
- If you aren’t planning on switching to a different network (e.g., you’re just unlocking the phone for the sake of unlocking it), skip this step.
- You’ll need to make sure that your selected network is compatible with your phone’s data network (CDMA, GSM, or LTE) before purchasing the SIM card. Your carrier can verify this information for you.
Have the proper information on-hand. In order to make your carrier’s job easier, make sure that you know the following information before going into the store:
- IMEI number– Your device’s ID number. You can find this by dialing *#06#.
- Account holder information– This includes the account holder’s first and last name and the last four digits of their social security number.
- Device phone number– Your phone’s official phone number and area code.
Visit your service provider’s store. While you can call them and have them walk you through the unlocking process, visiting the store in person will allow you to maintain a physical record of everything that happens. That way, if something goes wrong during the unlocking process, you’ll be there to witness it.
- This is also a good way to avoid getting the run-around or being put on hold while you’re trying to complete the unlocking process.
Ask your carrier to install the SIM card you purchased earlier. If they refuse or you don’t want to install your SIM card right now, that’s okay–you can install it later by opening the SIM tray with a paperclip, removing the old SIM card (if there was one) and sliding the new one in.
- If you’re simply unlocking the phone for now, proceed to the next step.
Enter the code your carrier gave to you when prompted. You’ll do this after your device reboots. Your carrier may also just enter this for you if they’ve agreed to install the SIM.
- Keep in mind that asking your carrier to install your SIM and complete the unlock process for you may result in extra fees.
Enjoy your carrier-unlocked device. Now you can use your Android phone with any service provider that uses your phone’s radio frequency, including international carriers. How to Android Phone Unlock is Successfull.