Most modern cell phones that are smartphones have the capacity to work with any GSM network, but your phone was most likely blocked by the carrier that issued it to you, so that you would be forced to use their network. However, with the right codes to unlock cellphones, you can unlock any phone, and even unlock pay as you go phones.
You might wonder, why unlock phones? If you’re travelling, you can get a local SIM card and use a local carrier. While some carriers have a premium service for out-of-country calls using service partners in those countries, you have to unlock pay as you go phones to be able to use them outside the country. An unlocked phone will also have a higher resale value.
Some people worry, why unlock phones if it might damage the phone? There is no risk to the phone. You’re merely restoring the factory setting. It doesn’t void your warranty, and the phone remains unlocked even after the phone manufacturer rolls out new software updates.
The process to unlock your phone will vary somewhat depending on the make and model of cell phone. However, if you are a customer in good standing with your current carrier, you should be able to unblock your phone for free. Simply call the customer service for your carrier, and explain that you wish to travel outside of the country and need the unlock codes to allow you to use a local carrier at your destination. Most carriers will give you the codes to unlock cellphones under those circumstances with no trouble.
In addition to the unlock codes, you will need to get a new SIM card that is associated with a phone carrier other than the one which is your current phone carrier. If you are unable to get your current carrier to give you the codes to unblock your phone for free, you can still purchase the necessary codes from a third party vendor.
Once you receive the new SIM card and unlock code, you’ll follow these basic steps.
1. Power off your phone.
2. Remove your existing SIM card, and replace it with the new SIM card for a carrier other than the one which is your current carrier.
3. Power on your phone.
4. Enter the code you were given to unlock the phone. Some phones will ask you to enter the information, others will require a special code in addition to the unlock code, and still others will require you to go into option menus and change settings there before the phone will recognize the new SIM card. When you were given the codes, you also should have been given the complete process required to use the codes.
That’s all there is to it!