How to Carrier Unlock an Android Phone

Many people change carriers to save money and get better service. However, this isn’t so easy if your phone is locked. In such cases, your phone will work only on the carrier’s network. Fortunately, you don’t have to wait until your contract expires to unlock your phone, regardless of the carrier.

How to Carrier Unlock an Android Phone

If you’re interested in learning how to carrier unlock an Android phone, look no further. This article will explain how unlocking works and offer an alternative in case your device isn’t eligible.

How to Carrier Unlock an AT&T Android Phone

Unlocking an AT&T Android phone can be quite complicated because of the company’s numerous conditions. However, the process isn’t impossible, and it certainly pays off in the end.

Here’s the checklist you need to comply with to unlock an AT&T Android personal phone:

  • Your device is active on the AT&T network.
  • Your device isn’t linked to another AT&T account.
  • Your device was paid in full (no installment plans).
  • If your device has a paid-off installment plan, there are two options. If you’re paying a monthly bill, you can submit the unlock request at the start of the next billing period. If you’ve paid off your device early, you’ll need to wait 60 days to submit the unlock request.
  • There’s no past-due account balance.
  • Your device hasn’t been reported stolen, lost, or involved with fraud.

If you have a business phone, here’s what you need to comply with to unlock it:

  • You need to have permission from your company.
  • The contract/term agreement needs to be completed.
  • If your phone was on a two-year contract and upgraded early, you’ll need to wait 30 days to unlock it.

If you’re military personnel and being deployed, AT&T doesn’t require you to complete the plan or contract to unlock your Android phone.

AT&T has an online unlock request form. If you need help, you can always reach out to them by giving them a call.

Third-Party Lock Breakers

If you aren’t eligible for a carrier unlock, you can use an alternative method. Many people opt for an IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) unlock that works just like an official carrier unlock. You’ll find plenty of IMEI unlock companies online, but it’s always best to go with trusted vendors like DoctorSIM and MobileUnlocked.

How to Carrier Unlock a Verizon Android Phone

Like most carriers, Verizon locks their phones. However, the good thing is the company’s locking policy has a relatively short time limit: 60 days. For postpaid phones, the lock is automatically removed 60 days after the purchase. If you have a prepaid phone, you can unlock it 60 days after the activation.

Besides the 60-day rule, there are no criteria you need to comply with to unlock your phone. Keep in mind that this unlocking policy doesn’t apply to deployed military personnel. If you’ve received a relocation order to an area Verizon doesn’t cover, the company will unlock the phone at your request.

Third-Party Lock Breakers

If you don’t want to wait 60 days, you can always try one of the many third-party lock breaker companies. These companies unlock your phone based on the IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) number and provide quick and efficient service. Of course, it’s important to carefully choose the company. We recommend trusted vendors like UnlockBase or UnlockUnit.

Services from third-party lock breaker companies usually cost less than $100.

How to Carrier Unlock a Sprint Android Phone

Sprint officially merged with T-Mobile in 2020 and changed its unlocking policy. According to the company, SIM unlock-capable devices manufactured after 2015 are automatically unlocked once they are eligible. If your device was launched before 2015, you won’t be able to unlock it through Sprint.

In addition to this requirement, you’ll need to comply with these criteria:

  • The device must be from Sprint.
  • The SIM must be unlock-capable.
  • The device can’t be reported stolen or lost.
  • The device can’t be associated with fraud.
  • There mustn’t be outstanding payments.
  • The device needs to be active for at least 40 days before submitting the request.

You can submit an online unlock request with Sprint. If your device is currently inactive, you’ll need to reach out to Sprint’s customer care.

If you’re a member of the U.S. military and deployed overseas, Sprint will relax some of the requirements and unlock your device. However, if your account isn’t in good standing and you have outstanding payments, Sprint won’t unlock your phone.

Third-Party Lock Breakers

If you don’t meet the requirements for carrier unlock, don’t worry; there are other options. Third-party lock breaker companies perform unlocks based on IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) and are equally as efficient as official carrier unlocks.

You can find numerous such companies online. Since most require upfront payments, it’s essential to read reviews and find a trustworthy company. We recommend reputable vendors such as DoctorSIM or UnlockRadar.

How to Carrier Unlock a T-Mobile Android Phone

T-Mobile will unlock your phone if you fulfill these requirements:

  • Your device is active on the T-Mobile network.
  • Your device isn’t reported stolen or lost.
  • Your device isn’t involved in any fraud.
  • If you have a postpaid account, you need to pay for the device in full before submitting the unlock request.
  • If you have a prepaid account, the device must have had at least $100 in refills since the activation date. Alternatively, the device needs to be active for a year or more.
  • If you’re on a service contract, you need to have 18 or more consecutive monthly payments to be eligible for unlocking the device.
  • You haven’t made more than two unlock requests in the last 12 months.
  • You may need to submit proof of purchase.

T-Mobile has a convenient online service that enables you to check your unlock status. Simply go to My T-Mobile and log in. Then, choose “Check device unlock status.” Once your device meets eligibility requirements, you may be able to unlock it from your settings, depending on what phone you’re using. If you can’t unlock it from your settings, you’ll need to reach out to the company’s customer support.

Deployed military personnel can get their phones unlocked even if they don’t meet all requirements. They need to be in good standing and provide deployment proof.

Third-Party Lock Breakers

If you don’t meet the eligibility criteria for carrier unlock, you can opt for an IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) unlock that can be just as efficient. Numerous IMEI unlock companies can be found online, and most operate in a similar way. Once you pay the fee (usually less than $100), you’ll get an email-based unlock code.

Since you need to pay upfront, it’s important to ensure you’re using a reputable service. We recommend Unlock River or DoctorSIM.

How to Carrier Unlock a Boost Android Phone

Boost is owned by Dish Wireless and operates on AT&T and T-Mobile networks. If you want to unlock a Boost Android phone, you need to be aware the company can’t unlock phones manufactured before 2015. Unlocking a phone launched after 2015 is possible, but only under certain conditions:

  • The device must be SIM unlock-capable.
  • The device can’t be reported stolen or lost.
  • The device needs to be active for at least 12 months before the unlock request.
  • The account needs to be in good standing.

Keep in mind that Boost won’t automatically unlock your phone even if you meet all criteria. If you want to unlock it, you’ll need to check the status and make a request with Boost’s customer service.

Active military personnel can unlock their phones with deployment proof if their account is in good standing. Family members related to the same account are also eligible for a device unlock. A phone number is eligible for two unlocked devices over 12 months.

Third-Party Lock Breakers

If your device was manufactured before 2015 or it doesn’t meet the criteria, you can still get it unlocked. Instead of asking your carrier to unlock it, you can hire a third-party lock breaker company. Such companies use your device’s IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) for unlocking, which works the same as the official carrier unlock.

If you want to use a third-party lock breaker company, you’ll most likely need to pay upfront. The costs depend on the company you choose, but it’s usually less than $100. Before deciding on a company, be sure to do your research. Unfortunately, there are many scammers online that want to trick you into paying. If you want to be on the safe side, check for positive reviews or ask for recommendations.

We recommend MobileUnlocked or UnlockBase.

Set Your Phone Free

Being tied down to a single carrier can feel frustrating. Fortunately, most carriers nowadays are somewhat flexible and will unlock your phone under certain conditions. If your device isn’t eligible for official carrier unlock, you can always hire a third-party lock breaker company. Although you’ll need to pay, you’ll enjoy a quick and efficient service.

We hope this article explained how the unlocking process works and what criteria you need to comply with.

Do you prefer locked or unlocked phones, and why? For what reasons would you change your carrier? Tell us in the comments section below.

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