20 Nov Guide to Phone Unlocking
Upon purchasing a new handset from a specific carrier, you can expect that it’ll be locked to that network so you will not be able to use it with any other SIM card. If you wish to be independent from the network you bought it from, unlocking your phone gives you the freedom to switch to a new provider.
Reasons to Unlock Your Phone
Avail Cheaper Tariffs
Unlocking allows you to keep your existing handset and switch to another carrier in case you found a better deal elsewhere that lets you save more cash in the long run. You can also take advantage of free SIM cards that networks give away from time to time, which often include free minutes and texts.
If your phone is locked to a specific network and you decided to go out of the country, you’ll be stuck with the same SIM and suffer expensive roaming rates in return. Whereas if you’re using an unlocked phone, you have the freedom to momentarily switch to a local SIM from the country you are visiting and save money.
Increase the Handset’s Value
Should you decide to sell your phone in the future, you’ll be able to get more value out of it as compared to a locked phone.
Is it Legal?
Many people are misled to believe that unlocking is illegal, probably because the networks themselves like people to believe so. But in reality, unlocking simply means having the phone work with any other SIM, and thus is completely legal. What is illegal is phone unblocking, which means making a device to function again after being blocked by a network, often due to being stolen or lost.
Option 1: Check if You Can Unlock Your Handset for Free
Before paying someone else to unlock your phone, it would be wise to check first for free options online. There are many sites that provide codes for phone unlocking, although there may not be available codes yet for new gadgets.
Before anything else though, you need to know a few facts about your phone- the network you are currently locked to, the brand and model number, and the International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) code. You can find your IMEI code by simply typing *#06#.
Option 2: Purchase a Code
If option one doesn’t work because there’s no code available for your handset yet, then you can purchase a code instead. However, make sure that the reason for doing so will definitely be worth the cost.
It would be a great idea to get a quote from your network first before trying dedicated unlockers. The price may range from £15 to £20. However, if your carrier can’t give you a quote, it’s possible that a code cannot be used to unlock your phone. In that regard, go straight to option 3 to avoid getting charged by sites that sell codes only to tell you that it isn’t possible.
However, if you’re in the middle of a contract, it is most likely that your provider will not unlock your phone, or charge you very high fees for this. Make sure to weigh the pros and cons very carefully before deciding to unlock your phone early.
Option 3: Cable Unlock
In some cases, your phone can only be unlocked using cable attachments. You may pay someone else to do it for you by visiting high street shops or professional unlocking services. One advantage of visiting physical stores over paying someone online is that they won’t charge you if they can’t unlock your phone, unlike in the web where you might still get charged anyway.
On the other hand, you can also do it yourself by buying a cheap cable from eBay or accessory websites. You should proceed with caution though, as this technique can be tricky. Often, different unlocking clips are designed for each brand and for specific handsets only, so make sure to purchase the one that you need, or else you’ll end up wasting cash.