Phone Unlocking - what you need to know.

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.Hor to unlock your phone


Phone locking ia a procedure used by network operators to prevent phones they sell being used on other networks. Network operators claim that this practice is justified because they often subsidise the cost of the phone on the basis that they will have future earnings from locked in phones. You can buy unlocked or "SIM free" phones that are not associated with any network, unfortunately these normally cost a bit more (around 20% usually) than one tied into a network.


In 2002 Ofcom clearly stated that locked handsets are a restriction to consumers' freedom to choose the operator they want. So as a customer, you can unlock your phone using whichever method you prefer in order to switch between networks as you choose.


Usually it is just a case of entering a special code into the phone. These codes can be provided by the network operator, they often charge a fee for this service. There are also legitimate, businesses that provide unlocking solutions to companies and government bodies who want to switch operators after their contract with their existing supplier has ended. There are however some "scam" operators claiming to provide unlocking services but who will do nothing but take your money, so be very wary about who you choose to deal with.


Phones are designed to be unlockable, selling a phone in the UK that can't be unlocked is not allowed by Ofcom. Having said this, not all methods used to unlock handsets achieve this in the way the manufacturers intended. If you're using a code to unlock your phone this is likely to be a safe method. However, beware that wrongly entering codes could render your phone completely us less. Although, unlocking your phone is perfectly legal you should check any contractual obligations you may have with your operator as such items are covered under civil law. You should also check the warranty of your phone as unlocking may invalidate it.

Using a 'SIM unlocking attachment' or Turbo SIM.

Unlocking SIMs, Turbo SIMs, Unlock SIMs and Smart SIMs (as they are variously called) are tiny sleeves you place between your SIM and your phone, that "trick" your phone into thinking your SIM card belongs to a different network.
Although these devices are very thin, they may require you to cut your SIM in order to fit them. These devices are tricky to fit and may not be available for all phones. However, they have the advantage that technically, they do not unlock your handset and so do not effect your warranty. Another advantage is they are cheap, you can buy them on ebay for as little as £3 including delivery.

Provider Price Time To Unlock

In order to have your phone unlocked you will need to provide the IMEI number for the phone (get this by entering *#06# into the phone) also, phone make, phone model, your name, your email address (where you want the unlock code sending to) your account number or mobile number.

The network provider may also require you to meet some variation of the following conditions:
You must be a current or previous customer of the network. The phone has been used on the network for some minimum period, 3-12 months. That you honour the remainder of the minimum term of your contract. The phone needs to be active, you can't unlock an old pay as you go phone that's no longer on an active account. That you have sufficient credit in you account to pay the unlock fee. Note that some providers may call the unlock code by a different name, for example T Mobile call it a "Subsidy Pin Code".

Orange £20.00 14 days
O2 £0.00-£15 7 days
T mobile £15.00 28 days
3 network £15.00 N/A
Vodafone £0.00-£19.00 24 hours Varies Varies
UnlockData Varies Varies
FonesZone Varies Varies