If you’ve followed my posts recently then you may have noticed a bit of a theme developing. I’ve written about switching from a contract to a monthly rolling SIM-only plan (which could see your monthly charge go from around £40 to £12) and I’ve had a look at some cheap SIM free handsets.
But what happens if you’ve got a phone that’s locked to a certain network? Perhaps you’re switching from a contract to a SIM-only deal and you want to keep your existing phone. It’s a common scenario.
Unlocking. For new devices this is now illegal in the USA but we’re all going to want to do it at some point.
Your options? Well, if you want to go ahead and pay then your list is endless. There’s several options on the web and that guy down at the local market will be more than happy to take your cash. However, there’s the free option too. If you’ve got a HTC Desire S (for example) then you’ll no doubt find ROM images floating about the web and various means of unlocking your phone for free. It’s great, but it’s fiddly and you need to know what you’re doing.
I’ve had a look around the web and found prices vary wildly. It depends on the model you’re unlocking and where you buy. The cost for a HTC Desire S goes from anywhere between £9.99 and £39.99 which is a bit nuts.
I ended up heading to eBay.
At times eBay is a pain. You can find seemingly good listings which have caveats like “SIM unlock code will be posted via Royal Mail” or, in small font at the bottom of the listing, “These are instructions on how to unlock your phone only”. Buyer beware.
I bought an unlock code from someone called RST-GSM and, after emailing them my IMEI, they sent the code through within minutes.
The cost? 99p.
Yes, in some instances you may find that certain phones cost a little more to unlock. The old HTC Desire S is relatively cheap, but you might end up paying a little more for a newer more popular phone.