Learning how to unlock a phone is one of the best things you can do to get the most out of your mobile phone.


Because unlocking your phone makes it so much more flexible, cheaper to use abroad – and valuable!

But isn’t unlocking a phone fraught with danger, you ask, or worse – even illegal?

Nope – it’s completely legal, and it’s a simple procedure that’s so much easier than you’d think.

Better still, there are more benefits to unlocking your phone than you realize, even if you don’t want to sell it. Network operators make money from locking you into their network, but there’s real value in unlocking yourself from their clutches!

unlock mobile phone

Why you should unlock your mobile phone

If you’ve never thought of unlocking your phone, here are just some of the benefits it can bring:

  • give your old phone to your other half so you can get a shiny new phone mid-way through your contract, while still keeping the same number
  • get a super-cheap roaming SIM so you can use the Web and Google Maps abroad without paying a fortune in data charges (currently, UK operators charge £7.50 per MB for data abroad!)
  • sell your phone on EBay (it’s much more valuable unlocked)

I went to the US recently, and nearly fainted when T-Mobile sent me a text message telling me I could use mobile data abroad, but only if I was prepared to pay £7.50 per megabyte! To put that in context, that’s a single visit to the homepage of Engadget!!

I had to use WiFi in the end, and so was saved by Starbucks, but it was inconvenient to say the least. If my phone was unlocked, I’d simply have bought a US SIM while I was over there, or even a new roaming SIM that lets you keep the same number (I’ll have more on this in a later post).

So unlocking your phone is definitely worthwhile, and could save you a fortune.

Phone unlocking has become a lot easier in recent years, but you do need to be careful – there are loads of cowboys out there who will offer to sell you an “Unlock Code” that either won’t work or is completely unnecessary.

Don’t worry, though – I’ve written the following guide to help you safely unlock your mobile phone without bricking it and without being ripped off.

Four steps to unlock your mobile phone

In order to unlock your phone, just follow these four simple steps:

  1. Check if your phone is already unlocked
  2. Gather the information needed
  3. Get an unlock code for your phone
  4. Apply the unlock code

Caution! Before you try to unlock the phone, make sure you know the following:

  • entering the wrong code five times can completely lock your phone – only the operator will be able to unlock it
  • unlocking your phone can invalidate your mobile insurance
  • unlocking your phone isn’t guaranteed to work. It should do, but it may brick your phone if you’re unlucky (think of this as the “side effects” warning from a medicine leaflet!)
  • the following steps are for unlocking your phone so you can a different SIM in it. This is very different from unblocking your phone, as a blocked phone usually means it’s stolen or the PIN has been entered incorrectly too many times! Speak to your network operator to unblock your phone.