If you haven't found a free code, it may be possible to buy one. Obviously the aim here is to find the code as cheaply as possible and it's only worth doing if the reason you're going to unlock your phone will save you more than the cost.
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This applies to most modern handsets, so it's always worth trying, but if it doesn't work then there's still a chance using Method 3.
- First, get a quote from your network.
Phone your current network and ask it how much it'll charge for an unlock code. Unfortunately, networks tend to play fast and loose with their unlocking fees, to the extent it often seems they're making them up as they go along. You may be quoted anything between £20 and £120, depending on your handset, network, and it seems, which way the wind is blowing that day.
Vodafone is the only exceptions from all this cloak-and-dagger pricing; its contract customers can get phone unlock codes for free regardless of how far into the contract they are, and so can Pay As You Go customers provided they've been with the network for at least 12 months. If not, a reasonable flat-rate £19.99 is payable.
Important note: If your network cannot quote you a price for an unlock code, then the chances are your phone isn't unlockable by code (they should tell you this if asked). If that's the case, don't bother looking at other sites that sell codes, they may charge you just to tell you it isn't possible. Go straight to method 3 instead.
- Then, try the dedicated unlockers.
Having got a benchmark unlocking price from your network, you can hit the web and the high st. to see if they'll beat it. If looking online, be sure you know exactly what you're getting before you pay; read the terms and conditions to make sure they won't fob you off with something other than the code you need. Also, always check the legitimacy of sites; there are some dodgy operators working in this business.
Whilst the web's probably not the best place to look, it's likely there are businesses offering mobile unlocking on your local high street. Check phone shops, markets and even some newsagents and key-cutters; they might be cheaper. The added advantage of these is that if they can't do the job you won't be charged, whereas on the web you may pay regardless.
It can take anything between 15 minutes and a week for your code to come through, depending on the network. Once it arrives, follow the instructions in method 1 to put it into the handset.