How can I unlock my Phone ?

How can I unlock my Phone ?

One of the most common support problems people face at the end of their Smartphone contract is how to keep the phone and change providers.

Few people throw their phone away when the contract ends. They can be kept as back up phones or sold on eBay. However, sometimes, the manufacturer has ‘tied’ or linked the device to to the network you signed up with specifically.

Whatever your  particular circumstances, it’s useful to know how to go about unlocking your phone when you want to.

Here’s how

  • The first thing to do is read the terms and conditions you signed up to ! ( Are you sick of Whatphone saying that yet ? ) There are a variety of circumstances which are possible. By far the most likely thing is that you are legally entitled to unlock your phone from your network at any stage of your contract( see below, sometimes the telecommunications company you’ve signed up to will charge you for this. ) In some rare circumstances, you won’t be allowed to. A good example is where a particular device was linked to the network by the manufacturer as part of an exclusive deal. It doesn’t happen often but sometimes carriers offer to buy all of a manufacturer’s models for a particular phone. When that happens, sometimes the terms and conditions state that the device cannot be unlocked.
  • Only the Account Holder can unlock a phone. There’s no point in calling or trying to unlock the device online ( both are possible at Vodafone, Telstra, Virgin Mobile or Optus ) Remember, you will have a memorable code associated with your account which will be used to verify you are the Account Holder.
  • Call your telecommunications provider ‘s Customer Service Team or go online to their self service portal, to unlock the device.
  • Keep in mind there may be a charge for unlocking your phone. Some carriers insist on a minimum spend from you. Some insist on a minimum term. Some have a flat fee of $25. Whether you pay and how much you pay is going to vary according to your circumstances but at most you’ll probably pay $80 – $100.At least, for example, if you’ve been with your provider for a year or more, it’s probably free.
  • Follow their instructions. For most devices, you’ll put the new SIM card in, enter the code you got online or from the call center, rest the Smartphone and you’re off ! Phew, that’s what it’s like to breath free.

iPhones, as usual are a bit different. You’ll just need to sync your new phone with iTunes and restart.

Neil Aitken

Having worked in 3 countries for 4 telcos on both voice and data products, Neil is in a position to give you the inside track. Get beyond the marketing messages to the best plan for you.