By Joe Paonessa Feb 11, 2015
In accordance with CTIA regulatory policy, Boost Mobile has announced its unlocking policy, and it is essentially the same as Virgin Mobile's unlocking policy which unfortunately for some could be rather limiting.
First off, Boost Mobile says that it will provide you with an MSL code and or domestic sim unlock code (DSU) under the following circumstances:
Conditions for Unlocking
- The device has not been previously reported as lost or stolen and thus flagged as ineligible to be unlocked
- The device has been kept active on your account for at least 12 months and your account is still active at the time you request an unlock.
- If you meet the above two conditions, you can contact Boost Mobile's customer support at 1-888-266-7848 to request your device to be unlocked.
Devices That Can be Unlocked
The following devices are what Boost Mobile considers to be its most popular and do not necessarily represent all the devices that Boost will unlock for you.
Devices That Require MSL Code Unlock
- Apple iPhone 4S
- Apple iPhone 5
- Samsung Galaxy S 3
- Samsung Galaxy S 4
- Samsung Galaxy S 5
- Samsung Galaxy S 5 Sport
- Samsung Note 3
- Samsung Note 4
- Samsung Edge
- LG G3
- LG Flex
- HTC one
Devices That Require DSU
- Apple iPhone 5s
- Apple iPhone 5c
- Apple iPhone 6
- Apple iPhone 6 Plus
These DSU devices won't become unlock capable until 2/19/2015. Of course if you have an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus it appears you'll be waiting a bit longer to get those unlocked because with those devices being on the market for less than a year you won't meet prerequisite number 2 in the list above for conditions for unlocking.
It's worth noting that even if you get your phone unlocked, you still may be unable to use it on other carriers according to Boost Mobile's faq page. What's of particular importance to some is that for "certain devices, not all functionality may be unlocked (e.g., for some smartphone devices, only the CDMA/voice functionality of the device may be able to be unlocked but not the GSM/UMTS/LTE portion of the device)." This seems rather bogus, and if you are truly unlocking a device, the GSM/UMTS/LTE portion should also be unlocked. I surmise though, a software update which you may or may not ever get may be needed to unlock that portion of the device. Boost also warns that
"Boost Mobile devices which the owner has attempted to reprogram or activate on another carrier's network or otherwise altered from its initial programming or settings may not be able to be reactivated on the Sprint network."
This seems like a rather generic warning, and likely means that if you want to reactivate on Boost/Sprint, you'd better know how to reprogram back to the phones default settings for the network.
For those of you with a DSU device, if you can get Boost to actually unlock it, you should be free to take the device to any other network, as long as the carrier/network you are going to will allow you to use that device with them. Now I mention that if Boost will actually unlock it, because their fine print says:
" For domestic SIM unlock or DSU-capable devices launched after February 2015, the SIM locking has restrictions, and Boost Mobile's ability to unlock these devices or work with the manufacturer of the device to unlock the SIM slot vary."
Here it seems like Boost Mobile is trying to leave itself an out so that it does not have to unlock your device. Furthermore, I suppose the manufacturer could elect to block you from unlocking your device as well, to try and force you to upgrade to a new device from them. However, I think that such a policy would also be a quick way for that manufacturer to lose a customer's brand loyalty. So most likely here, Boost may claim they can't or won't unlock the device and blame it on the manufacturer as the reason, sending you into a calling circle between Boost and the manufacturer trying to get it unlocked. Hopefully though, these scenarios are more hypothetical rather than actual, and Boost will allow all devices to be unlocked that meet their preconditions for unlocking.
Bring Your Own Unlocked Device Policy
Unfortunately, Boost Mobile still wants to for some reason play hard ball here. The company says that it will generally only activate devices that have been certified to work with its network and services and will not activate unlocked devices from other carriers or service providers even if those devices were manufactured for Sprint, Virgin Mobile or Assurance Wireless. This also seems like a rather bogus policy, and if Sprint really wants to retain customers and maximize profit, it seems this policy should quickly be disposed of.
So what do you think of these new unlocking policies? Will you be trying to take advantage of them any time soon?
Are you still having trouble getting unlocked? Perhaps our partners at Mobile Unlocked 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