Unlocking your phone for free. Why bother?

Unlocking your phone for free. Why bother?
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.

However, if you’re clever enough, if you search enough, you can SIM-unlock a smartphone for a tiny amount. For such a cheap price, why bother trying to do it for free?
Unlocking your phone for free. Why bother?

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  • phillip norton

    I paid £40 to get my xperia z unlocked

    • rst-gsm

      should have came to rst-gsm would have been less than half of that price

  • Martin

    Don’t the networks unlock your phone for free at the end of your contract? We got an old iPhone3gs unlocked via O2 when the contract was up.

    • rstgsm

      o2 will unlock your iphone for around £12 even payg just go to o2 uk

    • Simon Hardy

      Orange charge over £20. Even for your previous handset when you are still tied/committed to them with a new phone & contract. When you have completed the contract, completely covered the cost of the phone and are still with them I cannot see how they get away with it.

      However, when I left T-Mobile a few years back they unlocked the phone for free as I had completed the contract. I’m not sure if they would still do this as part of EE?

      • Martin

        Yeah, just found out it’ll cost £20.42 from Orange:( They really do take every single opportunity to rinse you out of cash, I can’t wait to leave.
        I called up for a PAC, told them I could get an iPhone from three for £29 per month and £29 up front, the best they could do was £36 per month and £20 up front.

        • Simon Hardy

          Be aware, your final bill from Orange may not be what you expect. Despite explicitly telling me that I would simply be charged a full month of my contract from the date of requesting my PAC, what they actually appeared to do was cancel my contract immediately (refunding what I had already paid for that month) but then charged me a cancellation fee + charged for all calls, texts & data used in the few days between requesting and applying my PAC code. They had even removed the £1 daily data cap. I ended up paying over £11 more than I should have.

          • Martin

            Oh I have no doubt I will have my wallet emptied some more by the wonderful people at Orange :(