Everything you need to know about how unlocking works and why it will work for you.
When the purchase price of the mobile phone to the consumer is subsidized with revenue from subscriptions, operators must recoup this investment before a subscriber terminates service. In order to secure their investments, GSM network providers implements a software feature called SIM Lock on the handset to prevent usage outside their network. Such subsidies are worth more than several hundred US dollars and in that’s why carriers also charge an early termination fee; another form to recoup the subsidy investment.
Insert a SIM Card from a different carrier than your current SIM Card. When the handset power up is completed the handset will display a message like those below if it SIM locked:
- Enter Subsidy Code
- Enter Unlock Code
- Incorrect Sim Card
- Insert Correct Sim Card
- Invalid Smart Chip
- Phone Restricted
- Sim Network Unlock Code
- Sim Network Unlock Pin
- Special Code Required
- Wrong Sim Card
An Unlock Code is a numeric string. When entered into a locked handset it releases the SIM lock restriction and allows the handset to be used on other GSM carriers.
Unlocking your cell phone has multiple benefits: It increases the resell value and marketability of your phone by not restricting the purchaser to a specific carrier, it allows the handset to work worldwide and eliminates the possibility of roaming charges; by allowing you to switch to a local carrier in the local region.
SIM (i.e. Subscriber Identity Module) card is one of the key features of GSM. It is a detachable smart card containing the user’s subscription information and phone book. This allows the user to retain his or her information after switching handsets.
It is a software capability built into GSM phones by mobile phone manufacturers. Network providers use this to restrict the use of these phones to specific countries and network providers.
A Hard Lock is a permanent carrier lock. Your phone will become hard locked by attempting to enter an incorrect SIM unlock code more times than your phone allows, permanently locking the phone to the current carrier. Each phone has different limits regarding unsuccessful attempts before the device becomes hard locked. The usual amount for HTC, Motorola, Nokia, and Samsung is 5 attempts, usual amount for LG and Blackberry is 10 attempts. The messages below are examples of what a Hard Locked phone will display.
Code Error, Please Wait …
SIMLOCK block unlock reset KEY
SIM network subnet unlock PIN
You have tried 5 times, please wait for timeout …
Unlock Attempt: 10 of 10
Contact Service Provider
Number of Attempts Remaining: 0
Wait before Enter Special Code
Cannot Undo Restriction
This phone only accepts SIMs from specific networks, and has been blocked.
No, unlock codes are permanent and do not expire.
Yes, as soon as the phone has been unlocked with us, it will stay this way forever.
The IMEI (i.e. International Mobile Equipment Identity) number is used by a GSM network to identify devices attempting to connect to them and therefore can be used for stopping a stolen phone from accessing that network. It’s only used for identifying the device and has no permanent or semi-permanent relation to the subscriber. The IMEI number includes information on the origin, model, and serial number of the device.
IMEI = 14 digits + 1 Check Digit
IMEISV = 14 digits + 2 Digit Software Version Number
IMEI + SV = 14 digits + 1 Check Digit + 2 Digit Software Version Number
The format of the IMEI is AA-BBBBBB-CCCCCC-D, (15 Digits) although it may not always be displayed this way. The IMEISV drops the Luhn CD (i.e. Check Digit) in favour of an additional two digits for the SVN (i.e. Software Version Number), making the format AA-BBBBBB-CCCCCC-EE. The IMEI+SV incorporates both the check digit and the additional two digits for the Software Verison Number, making the format AA-BBBBBB-CCCCCC-D-EE.
On many devices, the IMEI number can be retrieved by entering *#06#, or is located in the battery compartment.
Android : Settings –> About Phone
Blackberry : Options –> Status
iOS : Settings –> General –> About
Sony Ericsson (New Devices) : Options –> status.
Sony Ericsson (Old Devices) : Dial * Right * Left Left * Left
By process of elimination you should be quickly able to narrow down the cause to either a locked/defective phone, or a faulty SIM. If the issue appears to be a faulty SIM visit your neared network provider store to get a replacement SIM Card. If your phone displays this message then try resetting your mobile, turn your mobile off, remove the battery, and ensure your SIM is securely in place. Turn your mobile on again. If you still get this message try your SIM in another working phone – if the SIM works fine in another phone then the issue may be a defective SIM If other SIMs also will not work in your phone then there is a handset fault, or it has been blocked.
A PUK (i.e. PIN Unlock Key) is required to unlock SIM cards that have become locked after three successive incorrect PIN entries.
Note : If you enter the wrong PUK code 10 times in a row, your SIM card will be invalidated, and you will need to purchase a new one. The phone will display the following error: “PUK blocked call operator”.
The cost of unlocking a handset varies upon availability of the SIM unlock code. Some networks will release unlock codes based upon age of the phone or requirements of the subscriber. Typically, in these cases the price per unlocking is relatively low compared to other options. In the other instances the network will not release the unlock code because of strict eligibility requirements or exclusive sales arrangement with the manufacturer or for other reasons, then the unlock code must be obtained through the manufacturer of the phone. Obtaining codes via the manufacturer will in most cases be more expensive than through the network. Additionally, all networks don’t have the same eligibility requirements and some never releases unlock codes under any circumstances. When this is the case, all models no matter the age of the handset should be requested through the manufacturer.
More in-depth answers about unlocking technology and network-specific concerns.
No, OEM software / OS updates should not lock the phone. However, in the event that the phone does lock again, the customer can reuse the original lock code already purchased to unlock the phone.
When using a Factory or Manufacturer unlock method the code is acquired directly from the Factory or Manufacturer of the handset (e.g. HTC, LG). This method is usually more expensive but delivers 95% of orders successfully.
When using a Carrier / Network unlock method the unlock code is acquired directly from the Carrier / Network (e.g. AT&T, T-Mobile). When you purchase your unlock code with us, we will have the ability to waive some of the eligibility requirements. This method is usually the cheapest, but it only delivers, on average, 75% of orders successfully, the remaining 25% must then be acquired through Factory / Manufacture method.
Yes. If you unlocked a device that was assigned to network named “ABC”, it will still work flawlessly on ABC.
Some troubleshooting to do before redoing the process.
Must Update to the latest OS = Android 7.0 or latest (for most devices)
Update the Play store & Device Unlock App [Latest Version].
Some other Troubleshooting for APP Unlock FAILED message:
1) Try doing a hard reset (memory reset) so the cache of device is clear and also try taking out / swapping sim cards if possible.
2) APP unlock “fail”: We found a fix if anyone else complains of the unlock “failing”. It looks like the app remembers the last attempt of the unlock or remembers the last “invalid sim” entered in the phone and will stay in the “failed” response until the app is cleared:
How to do that?
- app manager
- look up “device unlock” in app manager
- clear cache
- also clear data.
- exit out.
Now restart device unlock app and the unlock will complete without errors! as always thanks for the support hope this helps future customers problems/questions.
If this still doesn’t work, we will work on further troubleshooting instructions
Information specific to popular handset brands such as Apple and Samsung.
The process is done via iTunes. You will receive from us a confirmation Unlock code. Most importantly if your iPhone was “Jailbreak” in past to unlock it you would have to remove all related application.
Once your iPhone is clean from any Jailbreak Applications please follow these steps:
- Install the last version of iTunes.
- Make sure your iPhone is updated with the latest version of Firmware (Currently iOS7).
- Switch on your iPhone with a Not Accepted SIM Card.
- Connect your iPhone to your computer using the Original USB Cable.
- Launch iTunes & wait until iTunes detect your iPhone.
- Now disconnect your iPhone and reconnect it after 10 seconds.
- Your iPhone is now Unlocked. Note: In case your iPhone is not unlocked, just do “Restore” !