By Joe Paonessa Feb 5, 2015
On February 11th It will Become Easier to Unlock Your Phone on All Major Carriers
New unlocking procedures for cell phones, tablets and other devices will go into effect on February 11th, 2015 for the top 5 carriers in the USA. Carriers involved include ATT, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon and U.S. Cellular. Each carrier has voluntarily agreed to follow the guidelines put forth by CTIA (an international non profit organization that represents the wireless industry and speaks on behalf of all its members at all levels of government) in late 2013.
Rules and How to Unlock
- Post-paid devices will be able to be unlocked as soon as the device is paid off or the service contract ends.
- Prepaid devices can be unlocked within one year of activation.
- If you are Military personnel you can have your phone unlocked upon presentation of your deployment orders regardless of cellular/device contract status.
- Current customers can get their devices unlocked free of charge while non and former customers will pay a "reasonable cost". (Quite frankly, paying at all regardless of how cheap, does not seem reasonable for a device that you fully own and have paid off. Often if you look around the internet you can find ways to unlock your phone for free).
- CDMA devices manufactured before February of 2015 will require an MSL code from the carrier to unlock.
- Domestic SIM Unlock-capable devices (DSU) which will begin launching this month will be able to be unlocked over the air by the carrier
Not all carriers have said specifically how they'll implement unlocking but Sprint has stepped up and said that once your device is eligible for unlocking, a message will be included within that months phone bill telling you your phone can be unlocked. If you have a newer DSU device, it will automatically be unlocked when appropriate. Regardless of carrier, if your device is flagged as lost or stolen, you will not be able to unlock it.