Need To Unlock Your Cell Phone? Here Are Your Options

By: Bob Orlando

If you have a GSM phone, chances are its locked to your current provider. This prevents you from using your phone with any other GSM provider, forcing you to have to buy a new phone should you chose to switch providers. But as of 2006, you can now legally get your phone unlocked. What does that mean? It means that for a small fee, you can either use a software package or an unlock code to permanently unlock your phone for use on any GSM network in the world.

Sites such as can instantly unlock all Motorola, Blackberry and Treo phones through either an unlock code or unlock software. The easiest way to unlock your phone is using an unlock code. You simply have to send them your IMEI number (a 15 digit code -International Mobile Equipment Identity), and they will email you back your unlock code. have a code turnaround time of anywhere from a few hours to 24 hours. Instructions on how to use the code are included, but all it consists of is simply inserting your new simcard, and when prompted to "enter subsidy code", you just punch in the 8 digit unlock code you received.

You can also unlock your cell phone using remote unlock software. This can be a little more tricky, but also cost less and can be performed instantly. The data cable that came with the phone will be required. If you can handle installing software and a few drivers, then this may be the option for you. Sites like have unlock software for most Motorola, Blackberry and Treo phones. However unlock software cannot unlock all models, so make sure to check if your phone is supported. Once you pay you will instantly be able to download your software. After you install the software and drivers, it's simply a matter of following the instructions, and a few clicks later your phone is unlocked.

Finally you can also chose to send in your phone to a company and have them unlock it, and they will mail you back your phone. Although that method can be slower and costs more due to all the shipping fees, so it's not really recommended. You may be lucky enough to have an unlocker in your area, so you can just bring him the phone in person and he can do it for you in a few minutes.

Once unlocked, you will have the benefit of being able to use your phone with any GSM provider in the world. This also comes in useful if you travel abroad, as you can pick up a simcard from a local company and save a ton on calls. You also greatly increase the resale value of the phone once unlocked. It's definitely a worthwhile investment.

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