On Wednesday, both large and small carriers in the United States have started making it easier for their subscribers to unlock devices tied to their networks. This is line with the new ?consumer code for wireless service? rules imposed by the CTIA, the primary?wireless trade association in the country.
For a long time, consumers have been annoyed by the inability of these telcos to voluntarily unlock their phones. Many people who seek better deals like more competitive data plan prices or more network coverage are hampered by those carriers? restrictive policy. But things will begin to look brighter for those who want to switch.
Requirements for unlocking a phone
Each company has their own set of requirements that you have to meet prior to unlocking your phone. Folks from Phone Arena have cleverly boiled it down to the following prerequisites:
- The price of the phone must have been fully paid. All service commitments and installment plans must be complete. All early termination fees (if any apply) must be paid in full.
- Your account with the carrier must be in good standing.
- Carriers only unlock phones tied to their own network. Don’t ask AT&T to unlock a T-Mobile phone or vice versa.
- The phone must not be flagged as lost, stolen, blocked, or associated with fraudulent activity.
How to unlock AT&T phones
Aside from the requirements mentioned above, you should be using their service for at least 60 days if you?re a postpaid subscriber or 6 months if you use a prepaid plan. You may head to their Unlocking Page and accomplish this form. Full details can be found here.
How to unlock Sprint phones
Sprint will let you know via an SMS or on your bill if your phone is eligible for an unlock. You need to contact their Customer Service at 1-888-211-4727 for specific instructions. What?s cool is that the device coming from them that are launched after February 2015 will automatically be unlocked if eligible. You may also use your computer and chat with their agents online. Full documentation can be accessed right here.
How to unlock T-Mobile phones
In order to be entitled for an unlock, your T-Mobile phone must have been active for at least 40 days. Kick that up to 12 months if you?re requesting for your prepaid phone to be unlocked. Moreover, subscribers are only eligible for only two unlock codes per year. If you fulfill those, along with other requirements in their policy, you can contact thru phone at 1-877-746-0909 or via online chat. T-Mobile will send you instructions within two days.
How to unlock Verizon phones
In Verizon?s case, phones that are 4G LTE-capable are already sold unlocked so you may use them on any supported carrier right away. On the other hand, only a number of phones with Verizon 3G Global Ready service are unlocked. If your phone isn?t one of those, you may call 888-294-6804 to send a request. If they ask for an unlock code, you can try ?000000″ or “123456” first before calling for help. The company?s full unlock policy can be viewed here.
Here are helpful links for unlocking devices from other U.S. carriers:
- Cricket – You can just walk in a store to let them do it for you. Calling 800-274-2538 is also possible if you don?t have time or chat with their support agents online.
- U.S. Cellular – This carrier will only unlock phone that are paid off already or those that are out of contract. Prepaid phone must be activated 12 months prior. You can unlock 3G phones by calling 888-944-9400. However, LTE-enabled devices requires you to hop into one of their stores in order to be unlocked. Check out their full unlock policy here.
- MetroPCS – Phones will only be unlocked if they have been in use for 90 days, along with other conditions in their unlock policy. You can go to a store or dial 888-863-8768.