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
- The device must not have been previously reported lost, stolen or associated with fraudulent activity.
- 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.
- The device must not be active on a different customers AT&T account.
- 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.
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 https://www.att.com/deviceunlock/ 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 BestMVNO.com. 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 BestMVNO.com, 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