How to Override the AT&T SIM Lock

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AT&T branded cell phones are often programmed with a SIM lock. A SIM lock is a type of programming which prevents cell phones from operating on other compatible GSM wireless networks. You cannot use a T-Mobile SIM card, for example, in an AT&T phone if the phone's SIM lock is activated. To override the SIM lock on your AT&T phone you must enter the numeric SIM unlock code, unique to your cell phone, into the phone. Once the SIM lock is deactivated, the phone may be used with SIM cards issued by other network providers in addition to AT&T.

Preparation

  • Turn off the cell phone.

  • Remove the phone's battery cover.

  • Take out the battery. Write down the "IMEI" number printed on the label inside the battery compartment. Be sure to record this number correctly. This number is what uniquely identifies your cell phone. You need it to obtain the unique SIM unlock code for your phone.

  • Remove the phone's SIM card. The SIM card slot is generally located somewhere within a cell phone's battery compartment.

  • Reinsert the phone's battery. Replace the battery cover.

Obtain the SIM Unlock Code for Your Cell Phone from AT&T

  • Contact AT&T customer support.

  • Ask the AT&T customer service representative about obtaining the SIM unlock code for your cell phone. AT&T will provide the SIM unlock code to eligible current and former customers at no charge upon request, if eligibility requirements are satisfied.

  • Provide the representative with the phone's IMEI number after the rep has verified your eligibility. The rep will then provide you with the SIM unlock code for your cell phone.

Obtain the SIM Unlock Code for Your Cell Phone from a SIM Unlock Service

  • Go to a commercial SIM unlock service website.

  • Enter the details for your cell phone. You are generally asked to enter the phone's brand, model number, IMEI number and current network carrier (which is AT&T).

  • Follow the on-screen instructions to purchase the unlock code for your phone.

Unlock the Cell Phone

  • Turn on the cell phone with the AT&T SIM card removed from the phone.

  • Follow the instructions which came with your SIM unlock code to enter the code into your phone. Whether you obtained the unlock code from AT&T customer support or from a commercial service, you should have received a set of instructions along with the code.

  • Look for the prompt on the phone's display indicating that the network unlock was successful.

Tips & Warnings

  • According to the AT&T "Wireless Consumer Checklist" manual, the eligibility requirements are as follows:
  • You have completed a minimum of 90 days of active service with AT&T and your account is in good standing.
  • All exclusivity agreements associated with your AT&T account have expired.
  • AT&T prepaid customers must be able to provide a detailed receipt or proof of purchase for their phone.

References

  • Photo Credit Pixland/Pixland/Getty Images
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