Let’s say you’ve been a long-term Sprint customer; you bought your phone from them a long time ago and you’re ready to switch to another network carrier for whichever reason.
Can you use the same phone after changing it? Let’s explore the steps to get the phone that you own outright on the service that you want.
There are a couple of things that you need to know about cell phone carriers before we talk about unlocking them.
Different network providers use different cell towers across the United States. We won’t go into every type (because it is really confusing at points, so I’ll link below to give you an example). The thing to take away is that if you buy a phone on MetroPCS for example, it may not work on sprint. I’ll also give you the two biggest types:
CDMA – Verizon, Sprint, Virgin Mobile, Boost (and these carriers versions of prepaid)
GSM – Almost every other network; AT&T, T-Mobile, Metro PCS, Most overseas carriers
Every phone has an individual number tied to it, just like computers! This is called the IMEI number. When carriers buy phones from the manufacturers, some of them “lock” the IMEI to their specific service. This can obviously be an issue if you are trying to use the phone internationally or on another service. Also, if that phone is stolen, if the bill has not been paid, etc., your carrier can “blacklist” that number to prevent further use of the device.
Facts for after the unlock
Once a CDMA phone is unlocked, it will work with all carriers.
Once a GSM phone is unlocked, it will only work on other GSM carriers.
Verizon Phones come factory unlocked.
All other phones are generally locked and will require unlocking
Tech It offers unlocking services for android and iPhones. Before unlocking an iPhone, please remember that we cannot remove iCloud locks from them. The information that we look for prior to unlocking is:
1. What carrier is it on and what carrier do you want to use it on?
2. What is the model of the phone? (iPhone 8, Samsung S8)
3. Does the device currently have a payoff?
After answering these questions, the technician on staff can get a quote for you and unlock your phone!