How to Unlock Telstra Phone for Free

unlock telstra phone

Why is my mobile device locked on the Telstra network?

If you’ve bought a mobile phone from any of the major Australian networks (including Telstra) in the past couple of years, there’s a good chance it isn’t locked.

But don’t get excited yet – this only applies to phones bought with contracts and/or postpaid month-to-month plans. That’s because such plans and contracts indicate you will stick with that telco for a long time, and you probably paid the full cost for the phone anyway. The exception to this postpaid rule is if you purchased your phone more than 2 or 3 years ago – phones were frequently locked back then, regardless of the type of plan.

Phones purchased for prepaid plans, on the other hand, are likely locked. If your mobile device is locked on the Telstra network, it’s likely because it was sold to you at a huge discount. In exchange for that discount, Telstra likely locked your SIM to their network so you would remain their customer and pay back that discount.

But don’t worry, you can actually unlock your mobileor device and shop around for a better SIM only plan from another telco. However, unlocking your phone might cost you some money, depending on how long you’ve had it. That being said, you can also unlock your Telstra phone for free if you’ve owned it for a while. Read on to find out the details.    

How to unlock your mobile device from the Telstra network

Unlocking your phone from the Telstra network is as easy as retrieving your phone’s IMEI number and contacting Telstra. We’ll give you the steps on how to do this, but first, you’ll want to know if Telstra will charge a fee to unlock your phone, of if they will unlock it for free.

First, remember that your phone is likely already unlocked if you have a month-to-month SIM plan from Telstra. If you have a prepaid plan, then it’s probably locked.

If you’re unsure about whether your mobile device is locked or unlocked, try switching your SIM card with another network’s SIM card. A mobile device that is locked to the Telstra network will only work with a Telstra SIM card. If your Telstra phone works with a different telco’s SIM card, then it is already unlocked.

If your device is locked, the cost to unlock it depends on how long you’ve had your Telstra phone:

  • Under 6 months – $80 unlock fee
  • 6 months or more, but under 2 years – $25 unlock fee
  • 2 years or more – Unlock your Telstra phone for free

Steps to unlock mobile device

Here’s how to unlock your mobile device from the Telstra network:

  • Retrieve your phone’s IMEI number – Dial *#06# and take note of the IMEI number. If your phone has a removable battery, you can also find the IMEI number in the battery compartment, behind the battery. Alternatively, you can find the IMEI number on your phone’s original box.
  • Contact Telstra – You can do this via the My Telstra app by sending a messageunder the Get help tab. Alternatively, you can contact Telstra over the phone by dialing 125 8887 from a Telstra phone, 13 22 00 from a non-Telstra phone, or +61 439 125 888 if you’re overseas.
  • Follow the instructions – A Telstra rep will walk you through the unlock process, and if there’s a fee to be paid, you’ll have the option of usint your debit or credit card.
  • Alternatively, you can take your mobile device to a Telstra store and a service rep will unlock your phone for you.


When you unlock your phone from the network that sold it to you, you’re then free to move telcos at a whim simply by changing the SIM in your phone. If you’re anything like the average Australian phone user, you probably keep your phone for 3 years (or more) before you upgrade the hardware. The most common reason for changing the phone you have is dropping it – not a desire to have the latest iPhone or Samsung Galaxy device – simply because the new ones, these days, are not that much better than their previous versions.

We would advise you to start with the end in mind. In our view (and we’ve been doing this for a while now), buying a phone which is unlocked already and then adding a SIM, is the best way to do things.

In short, we suggest you check, when you’re buying your phone hardware (the physical device itself), that it is not locked to any network. More than two thirds of people do this now, and they’re the ones who get the benefit of ever-increasing data allowances without having to worry about unlocking their device.

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.