If you don't know what I'm talking about, let me explain it. You might be thinking that to unlock your phone you just swipe left and maybe type in a password, but this is a different type of â€˜unlocking'. When you get a contract (or a pay as you go phone) with a particular supplier, they will usually â€˜lock' your phone so that you cannot use a SIM card from another supplier in that particular handset. For example: if you buy an iPhone 4 from EE, and use it for a year or so, but then see a good deal with Virgin and so buy a new SIM and put it in the iPhone 4, it, most likely, will not work, because the phone is locked. You either have two options here, you can either speak to your supplier and they will unlock it after a few days (it can take up to 30 days) or you can speak to company like unlockingsmart.co.uk and they will sort it out for you.
Below I will briefly go through the main suppliers and let you know how they operate in regards to the locking of their handsets.
What Are we Dealing With
Firstly, here is a list of the main suppliers that do sell locked smartphones:
- O2 (Usually)
- Tesco Mobile
- Virgin (Usually)
I say â€˜usually' on a couple of them because occasionally they sell phones that aren't locked. The only major supplier that sells unlocked phones are Three, but as you can see, all the rest of them do. If you are unsure whether you have a locked phone, either ring your supplier and they can check for you, or simply put another SIM in the handset and see if it allows you to make calls or send text messages.
How to Unlock It Direct
If you choose to go for the more expensive option and get your phone unlocked directly by your supplier, here is what you are likely to have to pay and how long it is likely going to take:
- EE - Â£8.99 - 10 Days
- Orange - Â£8.99 - 10 Days
- T-Mobile - Â£8.99 - 10 Days
- O2-Â£15 - 10 Days
- Tesco-Â£10 - 7 Days
- Virgin Mobile-Â£15 - 30 Days
- Vodafone-Â£20 - 10 Days
There are different circumstances that can affect the price and time it takes to unlock, but you will need to check with your suppliers on what those circumstances may be. As you can see it can be a costly and time ineffective way of unlocking your phone, whereas an online independent company can do it quickly and a lot cheaper, so it is worth thinking about.
It should also be noted that if your phone is reported stolen or lost, then the phone suppliers will not unlock the phone in any circumstances, in case it is the thief trying to get hold of your personal information, or resell the handset etc.