How To Unlock Cell Phones

You love your cell phone. It has a great camera, a perfect keyboard for texting, and you never leave home without it. So, what do you do when you decide you want to switch your service provider, or want to take your phone with you while you study abroad in Canada? Don't be stuck with paying high roaming charges and being unable to use your phone on a new network. Unlock your cell phone, and you can use it with any GSM service provider. Recent exemptions to U.S. copyright laws make it legal for phones to be unlocked, and cell phone unlocking services are popping up all over the Internet.

Along the benefits of an unlocked cell phone, why not set up the convenience some more with additional phone features. Check out Mobile TV and MyPhone Express.

Now, going back to the area of unlocked cell phones, here is the guide to make it happen:

First, you need to know if it is even possible to unlock your phone. This depends on two things, what type of phone you have and which service provider you use. Some types of phones can't be unlocked, so do a search first and see if unlocking mobile phones is possible with the brand of phone you have.

Second, your provider must be a GSM provider. GSM (Global System for Mobile Communication) is the most widely used digital wireless technology in the world, and since GSM operators have roaming agreements with foreign operators, you can use your cellphone when traveling abroad on a different network. However, many networks electronically lock their phones so you are not able to use it outside the network. Your phone has a SIM (subscriber information module) card that identifies you to the service. If you have T-Mobile, Cingular or At&T, then you have GSM service and your phone can be unlocked.

You need a little more information before you actually can get started. You will need to know your mobile phone number, the network and country where the phone is locked, the manufacturer and model number of your phone, and the phone's IMEI number. You can find the IMEI number, which is a 15 digit serial number,  by typing *#06# on your keypad.

Now that you have your start-up information, there are several options for unlocking cell phones. It is possible to contact your service provider to unlock your phone. With this option, you are provided with phone unlocking codes that you can use. Depending on the provider's rules for how long you must have a contract with them, they may refuse to unlock the phone. At&T will not unlock iPhones, but in most cases will unlock other phones providing the customer has an account that has been open for longer than 90 days and the account is in good standing.

What if your provider won't unlock cell phones?  If you are willing to spend a little money, you can use a service company that specializes on how to unlock mobile phones. The positives are that it is fast and saves you some extra work. You can always try and unlock your phone yourself if you are unable to do so with your service provider. Check out forums online where users post free cell phone unlock codes for certain phones, or purchase mobile phone unlocking software that will enable you to unlock it yourself. Once you have unlocked your phone, remember to reprogram your phone so you can use the Internet and receive text messages.


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