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How to Unlock a Phone for Free – An FAQ

This FAQ is a comprehensive guide to unlocking your phone. It will also show you how to unlock a phone for free!

What is a SIM lock?

A SIM lock is a capability built into GSM cell phones by mobile phone carriers. Providers may use this ability to restrict customers into using their services only. In most countries, phones are shipped with network provider locks, which restrict the use of your phone to the original network only.  Typically, a locked phone will display a message if a restricted SIM is used. These messages typically say “Insert correct SIM card” or something similar.

What does unlocking my phone do for me?

Unlocking your phone allows you to use your old/new phone with ANY provider worldwide! Many cell phone providers electronically lock your cell phone (at the purchase of a plan) to restrict you to their service and from going to another provider with the same phone. Specifically, they lock your phone to force you to pay high roaming charges when you go overseas so that you cannot use an international SIM card with your phone. If you are planning to sell your phone in the near future, unlocking your phone may increase its value dramatically! People who buy phones on eBay often look to see if they would be able to use the phone with their own provider. Often, they will not buy your phone because your phone is locked to a specific provider.

How does cell phone unlocking work?

A cell phone can be unlocked by entering a device-specific code into the phone based on the phone’s “International Mobile Equipment Identity” or IMEI for short. This number can be found by entering *#06# on the keypad on most phones. This is completely harmless, permanent and 100% legal. The unlock code is verified by the phone itself and is either gathered from a database or using a mathematical formula by the provider. This ‘unlocking via code’ method is the most efficient as it is the same method most retail stores will offer. This service required that the individual who wishes to unleock their phone email their IMEI number to the company who unlocks the phone. The company will then process this IMEI number and email back an unlock code with instructions. Input the code into the phone and you will get a message saying something along the lines of “unlock successful”. [How to unlock a phone for free (hubpages)].

Does the ‘unlocking via code’ method work on all phones?

Although these remote methods of unlocking (described above) work with most phones, there are some that require different methods of unlocking. For example, the iPhone can only be unlocked via software or via a Universal SIM card method. Additionally, some newer models of phones require some time for an unlock code database to be gathered. Sit tight and keep looking, as it will probably happen eventually.

Is there anything I should be careful of?

Early Nokia models (called DCT 2/3/4 phones) have been reverse engineered to provide unlock codes for free online for these models. Be careful with these free codes, as if they are incorrect, the phone may become “hard-locked” if 5 or more incorrect codes have been attempted. There are several fake random number generators available which may harm your phone.

How much does it usually cost?

Depending on the model of phone, unlock codes can cost anywhere from $10 to $50 each. They are permanent, and each code will only work once. Sites charge because it actually costs them money to to pass on the code to you.

Is there anywhere where I can find out how to unlock a phone for FREE?

Some phones, such as Nokia DCT phones can be unlocked for free with a calculator, but make sure you are aware of the potential harm it can do to your phone written above before trying.

A site called specialises in unlocking ANY cell phone for free! It is the only website which does this. You may be wondering how, but to save you the pondering, it uses a checkout system called TrialPay. A simple explanation is shown in the 3 step image below. Please feel free to read more about TrialPay and how to unlock a phone for free.

Author: Adam Stone

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