If you want to be able to use sim-cards from different cell phone providers, your phone must be unlocked. If your initial contract has expired already (you might have extended the period) then your provider can help you unlock your phone. You can call them up and they can do it for you, or give you the instructions.
Typical Cost Of Unlocking A Phone
Unlocking a phone is free and legal by law (but might breach a contract). If you think it is too difficult for you to do it yourself, you can find people online who can help you with it. They usually charge between $15 and $40.
If the initial contract is still running, a network provider could ask for the payment of the contracted months before it will unlock your phone. However, you might be able to negotiate a bit.
Consider These Factors
Although unlocking is free and legal, you might break your contract and some providers could stop the warranty if they find out. However, most smart phones can be unlocked in the software, meaning you can restore the old locked version to cover up your unlocking activities.
Some unlocks can be done by putting a code in, while others have to be done by connecting it to a computer. Still other ways include using a small device that hacks the simcard instead of the phone.
When people help you with unlocking, they charge you a price for their time, but could also include a warranty in case something goes wrong during the unlock procedure. This ‘insurance’ can cost you some extra money. But normally speaking everything done to the phone can be undone, so a warranty will only cost you money.
Benefits of Unlocking a Phone
- you can use any simcard, including those of cheaper contracts.
- you can use your phone abroad.
- you can sell your phone at a higher price, since unlocked phones offer more benefits to future owners.
Before you look for unlocking ways, check if your phone is not already unlocked by inserting a simcard from another network. If it gives you a simcard error, it is locked. Then you can proceed to unlock it.