How, And Why, To Unlock Your Mobile Phone

Most mobile phones sold in the UK, even those sold at a discounted price when purchased with a pay monthly contract, can be "unlocked," which allows them to be used with many providers other than the one they were purchased from. Unlocking your phone will give you the freedom to enjoy to promotional deals, cheap texts and calls, lower roaming expenses and the freedom to pass on your phone to family and friends.

Some UK network providers will give you a mobile phone "unlock code" for your model over the phone, while others may say that unlocking your phone is a violation of their terms of service. Alternatively, you can have your mobile unlocked online or at high street mobile unlocking shops for free or for reasonable prices. This review will try to guide you through the available options.

Why Unlock?

When you buy a new mobile phone, chances are it'll be locked to the network you bought it on, and it simply won't work if you try to put another network's SIM card in. Unlocking it means the mobile phone can be used on any network. What are the benefits? Here are a few:

« You need a shiny new phone mid-way through your endless 24-month contract and you want to pass your current one to family or friends.

« You've come across a promotional deal with 100s of free minutes and texts and you just can't miss.

« You love your mobile but your tariff is not a good deal and you want to switch to another network and cheaper tariff.

« You are travelling overseas a lot but you can bear the cost of UK networks' expensive roaming rates and you need to use a local SIM card while abroad.

« You are planning to sell you phone on auction sites, such as eBay, and unlocking it's much more valuable unlocked.

Bottom line is: even if you have to pay for the unlocking code, the savings will be worth it.

Is It Legal?

Yes, it is totally legal. It is a common misconception that unlocking mobile phones is illegal but this is a myth. However, be aware that it will invalidate its warranty in most cases.

Method 1: Buy A Code

Before you go anywhere else, get a quote from your network. Phone your current network and ask how much they'll charge for an unlock code. They may quote anything between £10 and £100 depending on the handset. If your current network cannot quote you for an unlock code, then it's likely your phone can't be unlocked by code. In such case, don't try anywhere else, as you may be charged but only to be told that it's impossible to unlock your phone.

Then, try the unlockers. Once you have the quote from your network, go ahead and see if someone can beat it. If looking online, remember to check exactly what you're getting before you pay. Read the small print! Although there are some dodgy website, the web's probably the best place to look.

Method 2: Use High Street Unlocking Service

If you don't feel like doing it yourself, chances are there are shops offering mobile unlocking on your local high street. Check phone shops and even newsagents and key-cutters; sometimes they are cheaper. The advantage is: on the Internet you may pay regardless of the results, local shops will charge you only if they do the job!