If you got your Android phone directly from a carrier or Telecom provider, it’s certain that the device is carrier-locked. This means that you won’t be able to use any SIM card besides the ones from your provider. While this may not be much of an issue at first, it can be. This is especially true if the carrier you’re in has become too expensive for you or you’re always flying abroad.
You may want to use another SIM on the same phone or you don’t want to buy another phone for your travels. Regardless, there’s only one effective way to free yourself from such situations– carrier unlock your phone now.
In this article, we are going to share with you the official ways how to carrier unlock Android phones from AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon. We will also provide you with an alternative in case the legitimate methods don’t work
Part 1: Official Ways to Carrier Unlock Android Phones
For this article, we’ve only included the official carrier unlock methods for Android phones from widely used carriers such as AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon. If you have a different carrier, the procedure may still be the same, but we do recommend you contact your provider for specific details.
Method 1: Carrier Unlock Android Phones from AT&T
Unlocking your phone via AT&T’s official unlock service can be painstakingly complicated. And this goes the same with other carriers. There are just too many conditions and requirements that must be met in order for you to carrier unlock the phone.
Nevertheless, it’s safe and legal. So, it does come with a happy ending. So, before you contact or visit AT&T, check out these requirements for personal phones first:
- Your device is fully-paid and you’re not under an active installment plan. You may need to wait for 60 days if you’ve paid off the phone earlier than the expected date.
- The device still uses the AT&T network and has not been modified to use a different network.
- The phone must not be associated with another AT&T plan or account that isn’t yours.
- There should be no past-due balance in your AT&T account.
- Your Android phone must not be involved in theft, fraud, or a lost-and-found situation.
If you have a business phone, here are the conditions for you:
- You have to secure permission from the company or business that provided you with the handset.
- The lock-in period or contract for the phone must be completed first.
- In case of an early upgraded contract/plan for the phone, you will have to wait for 30 days before you can have AT&T unlock it.
For users who work in the military and are constantly moving from place to place, the phone can be unlocked without completing the plan. You just need to provide proof that you are a legitimate member of the military and an active AT&T subscriber.
To unlock your AT&T phone, you may also fill in their official unlock request form. You may also call their customer service if you have any specific questions about your case. You can reach them at 800.288.2020 or with the contact information they provided you when you first subscribed to the carrier.
Method 2: Carrier Unlock Android Phones from T-Mobile
If you’re on T-Mobile, these are the conditions to unlock your phone. They also apply to newer devices under Sprint as the carrier has been part of T-Mobile since 2020. However, for those Sprint devices manufactured after 2015, T-Mobile will automatically unlock them once they meet the carrier unlock requirements.
Regardless, here are the conditions that must be fulfilled to unlock your T-Mobile/Sprint phone:
- The device should be active and subscribed to the T-Mobile network exclusively.
- There should be no reports involving the phone with theft, loss, or fraud.
- You need to pay in full first before you can request carrier unlock if you’re on a postpaid plan.
- For prepaid users, the phone should at least have 100 USD worth of refills since its activation. Otherwise, you need to use the device for one year or more before you can request carrier unlock.
- You may need to present your receipt.
- The Android phone must be under a Sprint plan.
- The phone is not involved in fraud,/b>, theft, and loss.
- You have no outstanding balance or late past-due payments.
- Your phone has to be active for 40 days or more before you’re allowed to request carrier unlock.
Just like AT&T, the requirements are a bit relaxed for deployed military members that are out of the country. But still, it depends on the account holder’s records. If the company finds that you have been always late with your past payments, your request may not be able to unlock your phone legitimately.
So, if you think your case falls into the mentioned criteria, feel free to contact T-Mobile at 1-800-937-8997 or you may visit an official T-Mobile branch. After you’ve filed your request, you can check its unlock status online via My-Mobile.
Method 3: Carrier Unlock Android Phones from Verizon
Well, if you’re under a Verizon plan. The carrier unlock process is much simpler and easier. There’s only one rule that applies to all subscribers. There’s a 60-day rule that allows users to avail of the carrier unlock. The only difference is if you’re on a post-paid or prepaid account.
For post-paid subscribers, your Android phone will be automatically unlocked 60 days after its activation. On the other hand, prepaid users can manually unlock the phone 60 days after. Typically, you’d be given instructions on how to do it via settings. But if you don’t know, you may contact Verizon customer support at 1-877-596-7577 for guidance.
In case you work in the military and you always go overseas, Verizon would require you to submit a request. This is especially required if you are deployed before the 60 days are finished. Other than that, there are no other conditions.