How to Transfer a Phone to Another Provider

By Dawn Gibbs

When you spend money on a cell phone that meets your needs, you may not want to purchase a new phone when you change providers. Unfortunately, it is not possible to use cell phones interchangeably between all cell phone networks. Verizon Wireless and Sprint, companies that operate on CDMA technology, will not activate a phone from another provider. However, if you have a SIM card phone, such as one from AT&T or T-Mobile, you can use that phone with another GSM provider.

Things You'll Need

  • Cell phone with GSM technology and SIM card

Step 1

Call your customer service number for your cell phone service provider. Tell the customer service representative that you want to unlock your cell phone. Write down the unlock code the provider gives you. The representative will also give you model-specific directions for entering the code correctly in your phone. Note those directions as well.

Step 2

Unlock your phone by following the directions given to you by your carrier. Restart the phone once you have completed the process.

Step 3

Take the phone to another GSM-based cell phone provider. AT&T and T-Mobile, as well as most European cell phone companies, are GSM-based. You cannot take the phone to Verizon or Sprint.

Step 4

Sign a new contract with the new provider. Give the unlocked phone to the sales representative. He will insert a new SIM card specific to that carrier into the phone and will activate it on your new account.