New Rules For Phone Unlocking In U.S. Go Live, Here’s What You Need To Know

The business of unlocking mobile devices has never been particularly straightforward, with the rules seeming to change from carrier to carrier, at the drop of a hat. But new unlocking standards approved by the CTIA back in 2013 offer a degree of uniformity, and from today, all major U.S. carriers will comply with the revised terms. Find out what this means for you and your devices after the fold!

In the past, many have hit a brick wall when trying to avail an unlock by any means, and with the days of software unlocking all-but over for most high-end handsets, the card-holding carriers will now be much more compliant with your request. Not only will they unlock your device if you meet a bunch of explicitly-stated terms, meaning you can go ahead and use your smartphone or tablet with another network operator if you so wish, but in many instances, it’s completely free of charge.

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Here, we break things down in terms of the major carriers, helping you to ascertain what you’ll need to do if you wish to process the unlock.

Things To Note:

  • You are eligible for an unlock once you’ve completed your contract term with your carrier.
  • Unlocking is absolutely free and you don’t have to spend a dime on it according to the new rules.
  • Tablets can also be unlocked, provided they’re locked to a carrier, obviously.
  • It usually takes around 2 business days for your device to be unlocked.


AT&T will be using a Web form for unlocking requests, and to reach it, click on this link. Details and everything else you need to know is here.


To avail an unlock on Sprint, the number is 1-888-211-4727, where one of the respondents will process your unlock. The small print, meanwhile, can be found here.


The number you should call is 1-800-711-8300. When you’re through, ask for a SIM unlock. For full details on the Ts and Cs, click here.


T-Mobile customers will want to phone 1-877-746-0909 to get the ball rolling as far as an unlock is concerned. Key details can be seen by clicking here.


So, there you have it – a standardized, easy-to-follow set of numbers through which you can get your device unlocked. As we mentioned in the previous article, you can unlock your device just as soon as your service contract has run its course, and any prepaid devices will be eligible for unlock exactly one year after purchase; both types of unlock are free.

Oh, and just to clarify, this process is applicable to smartphones and tablets alike.

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