How to unlock your phone: Telstra, Optus and Vodafone

A locked phone means you’re locked into a plan with the telco you bought your device with. You won’t be able to use other SIMs with better deals, more data and big discounts.

So, here’s how to unlock your phone from the Telstra, Optus and Vodafone networks (sometimes for free!). Then, you can flexibly switch plans to grab the best deal each month.

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What to do once your phone is unlocked

Shop around! There are genuinely fantastic deals out there outside Telstra, Optus and Vodafone. We’ve included some top picks for you, and you can compare even more cheap plans here:

How to unlock your phone from Telstra

The only way to unlock your phone for free is if you’ve had a phone with Telstra for at least 2 years. Otherwise, you’ll pay a small fee.

Telstra unlocking fees:

  • $80 for devices that have never been activated, or active for 6 months or less
  • $25 for devices activated for six months to 2 years
  • Free if you’ve had your phone with Telstra for over 2 years

3 steps to unlocking your Telstra phone:

1. Find out your phone’s unique International Mobile Station Equipment Identity (IMEI) number. Dial *#06# and take note of the IMEI number. It’ll be about 17 digits long. You can also find the number behind the removable battery (if your phone has one) or on your phone’s original box.

2. Contact Telstra directly.
Use the My Telstra app by sending a message under the Get help tab. Or, call Telstra on 125 8887 from a Telstra phone, 13 22 00 from a non-Telstra phone, or +61 439 125 888 if you’re overseas.

3. Follow the instructions.
A Telstra representative will show you how to unlock the phone and organise any fees that need to be paid. You can use a credit card or prepaid credit.

How to unlock your phone from Optus

Today’s iPhones are automatically unlocked (only those running an iOS lower than version 7 might be locked). If you have a phone locked to the Optus network, you can unlock it for free if you’ve met certain conditions.

Optus unlocking fees:

  • Free if you’ve recharged your phone to a minimum accumulated amount of $80
  • $80 if you’ve had your phone with Optus less than 6 months
  • $25 if you’ve had your phone with Optus more than 6 months

3 steps to unlocking your Optus phone:

Note: if you have a locked iPhone, just update to iOS7 or restore the phone through iTunes to unlock it for free.

1. Retrieve your IMEI number by dialing *#06# on your phone and hitting send. If your phone has a removable battery, you can also find the IMEI number behind the battery.

2. You can begin the unlock process by visiting Optus’s unlocking portal or texting MENU to 9999 and following the prompts.

3. You’ll be sent an unlock code to enter when you activate a non-Optus SIM card or eSIM.

How to unlock your phone from Vodafone

Vodafone stopped locking phones after 1 August 2013, which means very few people will still have a locked phone today.

Vodafone unlocking fees:

  • Free if you have a plan with Vodafone
  • $50 if you’ve had your device less than 6 months
  • $25 if you’ve had your device for over 6 months

Unlocking your Vodafone phone:

  • iPhones can be unlocked by upgrading to iOS 7 or above, or restoring the phone through iTunes if it’s too old to support iOS 7.
iOS 7
  • For other phones, you’ll need to look up your IMEI number by dialing *#06# and recording the first 15 digits. On a USB modem, the IMEI is under the SIM card.
  • Follow the prompts to unlock your phone.

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