How to Unlock a Cell Phone Locked by the Carrier


Most cell phones come locked to a specific wireless carrier upon purchase. This prevents users from using the device out of the country or with another provider. To avoid this, you will need to unlock your phone from its carrier with the use of an unlock code. An unlock code removes the network lock from the device in a few easy steps.

Things You'll Need

  • Unlock code
  • SIM Card
  • Dial "*#06#" from your mobile phone. Wait until the "Status" screen appears and locate the IMEI, or International Mobile Equipment Identify, number. Write down the IMEI number.

  • Contact the wireless provider and ask a representative to provide you with the unlock code for your device. Provide the representative with your IMEI number and write down the unlock code.

  • Power off your phone and remove the battery from your device. Locate the SIM card slot and remove the original SIM card.

  • Insert a SIM card that does not belong to the carrier to which the phone is registered.

  • Reinsert the battery and power back on the device. Wait until the phone prompts you to enter the "Network MEP code."

  • Enter the unlock code that you received from your wireless carrier. Wait for the device to say "Code Accepted" or restart. This will confirm that you have removed the carrier's lock and successfully unlocked your device.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can also purchase an unlock code for your phone by contacting a cell phone unlocking company.
  • Unlocking your cell phone is legal; however, if you are still under a contract it may terminate your contract, which may cause you to incur early termination fees.
  • Entering the wrong unlock code repeatedly may lock the device to its current network indefinitely.
  • You can unlock only GSM cell phones with an unlock code. CDMA phones will need to undergo a service called "Flashing" to remove the network lock. This is usually conducted by a professional.

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  • Photo Credit Jacqueline Veissid/Digital Vision/Getty Images
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