When you buy your smartphone with a contract or service agreement, your phone might be locked to your wireless company’s network. The company gave you the phone for free or sold it to you at a reduce price in exchange for you using their service for 12-24 months. Your monthly bill is very expensive because you are paying off the rest of the cost of your phone.
Once your contract is up, you might want to take your phone to a lower cost prepaid wireless company. If you phone is locked however, it might not work. But most wireless companies will unlock your phone. I recommend you unlock your phone. If you decide to sell your used phone, you’ll get more money for it unlocked. Also, you own the phone should it remain locked to one network.
Most wireless companies will unlock your smartphone for free. That is, if the are willing to unlock it at all. You’ll need to meet their terms and conditions. The terms and conditions are different for each company.
Typically, the company checks:
- the phone was not reported lost or stolen
- your account is / was in good standing.
- the contract was completed or the Early Termination Fee was paid.
- The phone was used on there network for the required amount of time
See the links below for more details.
The official AT&T unlocking policy is here: Unlock your AT&T wireless phone or tablet.
You can fill out the ATT Unlock Request form here: Customer Device Unlock- Request – AT&T
The official T-Mobile unlocking policy is here: Unlock your mobile wireless device
The official Verizon unlocking policy is here: Device Unlocking Policy
The official Sprint policy is here. Unlock your Sprint device.