You want to switch networks, but your new SIM card isn’t recognized by your phone. You contact your new carrier, perplexed, only to discover that your smartphone is locked to the original network, and there’s nothing you can do about it.
Of course, this isn’t entirely correct. There is always something you can do if you have an Android smartphone. Here’s how to unlock your Android phone or tablet’s SIM card.
Does Rooting a Phone Unlock the SIM? No
Before we go into how to unlock your Android phone’s SIM, let’s define what network/SIM unlocking is and isn’t.
To unlock the SIM, a generated code must be entered into your phone through the keypad. It’s done to sever the connection between your phone and the network that sent it. This allows you to connect to a different network’s service by inserting a suitable SIM card from a different network.
However, and this is critical, unlocking the SIM card does not root your phone or mobile internet-enabled tablet.
Rooting your phone opens the bootloader, which is a whole separate thing. Rooting a phone will not unlock it, but it will allow you to alter or install a new operating system.
Both forms of unlock are legal, albeit a SIM unlock often need assistance from the network/carrier.
Is Your Phone SIM Locked?
Unlocking your tablet or phone to a different network is often simple. In any case, not all phones are SIM or network locked.
Phones purchased directly from a manufacturer or third-party retailer, such as Motorola, OnePlus, or Amazon, for an unsubsidized price (typically $500-$700), are more likely to be unlocked than phones purchased from carriers, such as Verizon, T-Mobile, or AT&T, for subsidized prices (typically free to $200).
But how can you tell if your SIM is locked?
- Examine the device’s documentation: if the word “unlocked” appears on the invoice, you can be sure it isn’t tied to a carrier.
- If you insert a SIM card from a different carrier and it does not function, you know the phone is locked.
- Call your provider and inquire if the phone is locked.
But what if you’ve learned that your Android phone is limited to a certain carrier/network?
Ask Your Carrier to Unlock Your Phone or Tablet for Free
Surprisingly, you may contact your carrier regarding SIM unlocking your phone or tablet.
Since February 2015, mobile phone owners in the United States have been allowed to request that networks unlock their handsets in order to transfer providers. In the European Union and the United Kingdom, a similar system is in place for phone owners.
Furthermore, carriers must notify consumers on their monthly payment if the device is unlockable.
Begin by contacting your carrier and inquiring if the phone is eligible. On cellphones purchased on contract, there is a stipulation that requires you to pay a charge if the first two-year contract has not yet expired. This will terminate the contract and provide you with the unlock code.
This leaves you free to use another SIM in your phone.
If you purchased your phone directly from a network, it will usually be locked for 12 months. If the account is current, the network should release the unlock code after this period.
How to Unlock the SIM on Your Android Phone or Tablet
Your network will need the IMEI number to remove the network/SIM lock. The International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) is a one-of-a-kind code that may be used to identify your phone or tablet on any network.
In Android, there are two ways to find the IMEI number:
- Open the Phone app.
- In the dialer, enter *#06#.
- Make a note of the IMEI number.
- Navigate to Settings > About phone. (On earlier phones, go to Settings > About phone > Status.)
- Scroll down to get the IMEI Information and write it down.
This 15-digit string is all your network needs to reach you, whether by phone or on the internet. The network should then provide you a code that will allow your device to utilize the new network’s SIM card.
(It should be noted that the whole procedure may change amongst networks.) Also, your new network may need you to provide a special code in order to function with that carrier.)
While American carriers are not authorized to charge for this service, your network may charge a modest administrative cost for unlocking your phone in the UK and Europe.
Meanwhile, if you’re having difficulties with the “SIM not supplied MM 2” issue, we’ve provided some solutions.
Related: How to Fix the SIM Not Provisioned MM 2 Error
Find a Reputable Smartphone Unlock Service
If your network does not accept requests to unlock your phone, certain specialist websites do.
However, we recommend utilizing such a service only if your network is unable to unlock the device. Because such sites are unregulated, they are not necessarily trustworthy. You may get some security by paying for the service using PayPal.
To unlock your phone or tablet SIM, try the following sites (at your own risk):
It is important to note that no matter which service you pick, there is no assurance that it will unlock your smartphone or tablet SIM.
Related: Free SIM Card Unlock Sites
Avoid Android SIM Unlock App Scams
As we’ve seen, unlocking your Android’s SIM card is an easy process. So much so that no SIM unlock applications are required.
These applications are phony and pose a security risk to your device and the data saved on it. They are scams and should be avoided.
Don’t go looking for a SIM unlock tool on Google Play. Likewise, do not look for “phone unlock tools” on download sites, Bittorrent, or Usenet. These are often infected with Trojans and other viruses.
There are safe and legal ways to unlock your smartphone’s SIM/network connection.
While you should be wary of SIM unlock app frauds, Google Play does feature helpful SIM card management tools.
Did You Unlock Your Device?
Unlocking your smartphone or tablet’s SIM card isn’t for everyone. We urge that you take some time assessing the merits and downsides of this practice. It’s handy for certain people, such as when traveling abroad and don’t have a dual SIM handset.
Also, if you’re moving cell network carriers, be sure you’re receiving the greatest bargain possible!
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