By Joe Paonessa Dec 14, 2016

If you have an AT&T phone or tablet purchased from AT&T and are looking to take it to another carrier such as T-Mobile or a T-Mobile MVNO you may need to have the phone unlocked before you can take it elsewhere.  The following is a guide to show you how you can unlock your AT&T device.  Note, unlocking your device is free of charge through AT&T.  You should not be or have to pay a third party to unlock your device provided that it meets the conditions for unlocking.

Conditions for Unlocking

  1. The device must not have been previously reported lost, stolen or associated with fraudulent activity. 
  2. If you purchased your phone or tablet on contract or on an installment plan it must be fully paid off before it can be unlocked.  If your device was activated with the service commitment or installment plan your account must be active for at least 60 days with no past due/unpaid balances.
  3. The device must not be active on a different customers AT&T account.
  4. AT&T will unlock phones for persons who have never had an AT&T wireless account.



Officially, AT&T states that GoPhones can be unlocked but generally they must be active for at least 6 months of paid service as a GoPhone customer.  However, it has been reported that AT&T is willing to unlock brand new GoPhones as long as they have NOT been activated.  It is advised that when you request the device to be unlocked that you select Non-AT&T Mobility customer as the customer type even though there will be an option to select prepaid/GoPhone customer. (Updated: 12/14/2015.  This method worked for me.  I was able to unlock two Microsoft Lumia 640 GoPhone's that were brand new and unused.  AT&T sent me the unlock code 24h after requesting it).


Deployed Military Personnel

AT&T will unlock devices for active and deployed military personnel provided that they verify their deployment information.  Military personnel can get their devices unlocked even if they have an installment plan or other service commitment, however, AT&T reserves the right to limit the number of devices military personnel can unlock.


Early Upgrades

If you upgraded to a new phone under an AT&T early upgrade policy such as AT&T Next, you must complete 14 days of use on the network with the new device before requesting the old one to be unlocked.

How to Unlock

Once you have determined that your AT&T device is eligible for unlocking you can head over to and scroll down the page to where it says "I have read and agree to the eligibility requirements to unlock my device," tick the box and click continue.  Fill out the form that you are presented with and AT&T will email you unlock instructions with your unlock code after 2-5 business days, free of charge.  Please note, that to unlock your device you will need to have a non AT&T SIM card on hand.  AT&T will mention this in the email they send you if your device meets the qualifications to get unlocked.  Specifically you will need to have a T-Mobile or T-Mobile MVNO SIM card or other SIM card on hand to unlock your device.  AT&T MVNO SIMS will not work, as the they still use AT&T's network and your device generally does not need to be unlocked to use them.

If after following all the steps outlined here, and you find out that AT&T won't unlock your phone, you may want to give our partners from Mobile Unlocked a try to see if they can help.


Joe is the founder of He started BestMVNO in 2013, because like many of you, he was unhappy with the high price he was paying his wireless provider for cell phone service. After researching how to cut costs on his phone bill, he came across the terms 'MVNO' and 'prepaid wireless', and learned there was a way he could keep using his favorite network without having to pay a premium price for it. Since then, through, Joe has been sharing his research about MVNOs and prepaid wireless so that others can learn how to save money on their own phone bills. Contact JP

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19 Comments on "AT&T Unlocking Policy Explained"

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How do you got unlocking your Microsoft Lumia 640 GoPhone through “Non-AT&T Mobility customer”? Do you wrote the IMEI number from the box without turning on the cellphone or is mandatory (turn on) to insert a non AT&T simcard (so ATT identify the cellphone IMEI on their system, so you can request unlock code)? I tried to request an unlock code using a brand new (sealed) GoPhone (from Walmart) with the IMEI number from the box, am got this: “Error: We found no record of the IMEI Number you entered. Check your device’s 15-digit IMEI Number by dialing *#06# (errorCode.ULP2003)”… Read more »

This is how looks the retail package from the bottom.


The way to unlock has changed, now there are 2 option to choose from;
AT&T wireless customer: YES or NO
If your are a customer your request number gonna be: CULxxxxxxxxxxx
Non customer is: NULxxxxxxxxxxxx

After 6 months waiting, now ATT has my IMEIs in their database. Now I can request the unlock code.

Hope this info can be helpful.

I will never, ever give another scrap of my money to AT&T. My husband bought an unlocked, full price iPhone SE. We then decided to get a “pay as you go” GoPhone deal. I specifically told the woman at the AT&T shop that we are only in the US for the summer, and that we only wanted 5-7 weeks of phone use before we removed the SIM and went back to work in Indonesia. Well, guess what? They have effectively locked my husband’s phone for 6 months. So much for explaining our needs. At any moment, this sales woman could… Read more »

hi, when i introduce the IMEI the page says:
The IMEI you entered does not appear to be an AT&T wireless phone or tablet. Please re-enter the correct 15-digit IMEI number for your AT&T wireless phone or tablet. You can obtain the IMEI number from the wireless phone by dialing *#06#.


I just purchased an LG B470 flip phone (ATT GO Phone) from best buy. I put my MVNO sim card in, turn it on and it worked. No unlocking required. I was shocked.

Ron Schroeder

So it seems that atthas changed their policy of unlocking GoPhones as I purchased a Alcatel Allura last week at Walmart for my 12 year old son at my local Walmart store on clearance for $30, I intended to use it for T-MOBILE but att denied by unlock request saying that you now need 6 months of active paid service to unlock. Hopefully someone on eBay can get me a u lock code for about $15-16. Just wanted to give this FYI update. ????