How to Unlock a Phone With an IMEI Number

By Joanne Cichetti

Your cell phone may work only with your current service provider if you purchased it as part of a cellular plan. If you try to insert a different SIM card, you probably see a message such as "Enter Subsidy Code," "Enter SIM unlock code" or "Phone restricted." These messages indicate that your phone is locked to one network and you require an unlock code use. You must give your phone's IMEI number to a company that specializes in generating unlock codes. In return, you'll receive a code that will free your phone.

Step 1

Access your IMEI number by pressing *#06# on your phone's keypad.

Step 2

Go to websites such as GSM Liberty, Unlock All Cellular or I Unlock It (see Resources).

Step 3

Select your current provider from the list of networks.

Step 4

Enter your IMEI number where indicated.

Step 5

Enter your email address and credit card information. As of August 2010, the code should cost you between $8 and $29.

Step 6

Confirm the payment and wait for the code to arrive through email.

Step 7

Power on your phone with an unaccepted SIM.

Step 8

Enter "#7465625*638*CODE#" (without quotes) to unlock your phone.