Instructions on How to Unlock Cell Phones

By Christopher Lemieux

The fees associated with breaking a cell phone contract can make your wallet thin. There is a way to escape the ropes that tie you down to one service provider. The ability to unlock your cell phone offers the flexibility to change service providers without the hassle of breaking contracts. Depending on the cell phone model or provider, you may be able to unlock your cell phone by punching in a code (provided by service providers), sending it to a professional unlocking service or purchasing unlocked cell phones via internet shops.

Step 1

Contact the customer service personnel for your service carrier and request a SIM card for a foreign carrier. It is beneficial to explain that you will be using the phone abroad during travel.

Step 2

Purchase unlocking software and cable from the appropriate provider if you are unable to receive a unlocking code from your provider. This should cost between $15 and $60 to purchase both the cable and software. The software will connect your phone via the cable to a database of unlock codes and find the one which matches your code. The code will be implemented into your phone and unlock it. Some unlocking software can become pricey, but there are numerous free applications that can be utilized.

Step 3

Send your phone to a professional unlocking service. Newer phones have undergone a greater degree of work to prevent people from unlocking phones for themselves. To unlock a phone with this added security, a professional is likely your only option. Package your phone and ship it to a professional. The charge is likely to be between $20 to $60 for the service.

Tips & Warnings

  • T-Mobile, Cingular and Nextel phones typically are simple to unlock via code.
  • Verizon, Attel and Sprint phones harder to unlock and may require professional assistance.

References & Resources