Cell Phone Unlocking: an industry insider blows the whistle
Mobile phone unlocking codes are completely legal to obtain and use. That is, in essence, what your network provider doesn’t want you to know. Mobile phones are locked by carriers in order to keep your business, that’s the only reason – networks will defend this position by telling you that they provide subsidised handsets and recoup the cash by locking phones to their network.
Whilst this may be the case, it’s not really your problem, you didn’t ask them to provide cheap handsets or provide them with their business model. Unlocking phone codes are widely available on the internet or you can obtain one from your carrier.
However, getting an unblock code from your network is not quite as straightforward as it should be. The carrier still wants to keep your business, even though you may want to leave them so they will charge you accordingly for cell phone unlocking, usually somewhere in the region of €30-50.
Additionally, you may find yourself passed around various departments whilst being charged the earth for each call, another diversionary tactic which is common. As such, it’s a better idea to follow one of the below methods for obtaining unlocking phone codes.
- Use a local, independent mobile repair shop – many of these carry out unlocking services too and it takes the hassle out of trawling the internet for a reputable service.
- Try a remote unlock code service – do a little research and find a good company who have decent reviews and you can find contact details for. Avoid companies who unlock via a premium rate number, these will prove expensive and lacking in support much of the time.
- Hit online unlock forums – this is your riskiest option and not for the non-technically minded in general, as many phones have to be ‘rooted’ before they can be unlocked.
- Download an app or unlocking phone codes software – again, this is carried out at your own risk. Some software works, others are created to infect your PC with malware – ensure you read up on any application before download and only go for recommended software.
The misconception that obtaining unlocking phone codes is illegal has been around since people came up with the idea of unlocking. Basically, unblock codes are obtained by ‘reverse engineering’ and software is then produced and distributed to enable others to carry out the service.
In many countries around the world, locking a handset to one network is actually illegal as it’s not thought to be the fairest business practice by some governments. In others, carriers are only allowed to lock a phone for a period of up to six months in order for them to be able to recoup their outlay.
Of course, the networks would rather you didn’t find out about unlocking phone codes so they can continue to keep your business. This also allows them to charge you outrageous roaming rates when abroad; however, unlock your handset and you can avoid this by buying a local PAYG SIM whenever you travel.