Thursday, August 28, 2008

Unlock your phone for free


There are many websites which simply list codes for your mobile phone without charge. Many people believe the practice of locking mobile phones is anti-competitive and thus there's a lot of information to help consumers fight back against this.

Who is this for?

The free method works best for older Nokia mobile phones and some other older handsets. Yet its worth everyone quickly trying to see if you can find a code for your phone, though after trying that, go to Method 2.

Step 1. Get your facts right.

To find a working unlocking code for your handset, you need three pieces of info; its brand/model number, the network, and the IMEI code. Here's how to find them.
  • Brand and model number. Chances are you already know this, as it's likely to be written on the handset, it's box, and any documentation you got when you bought it, so I'll move on.

  • The network. This is simply the network the phone's currently locked to, not the one you want to get on.

  • The IMEI. The "International Mobile Equipment Identity" is a unique number given to all mobile phones, which gets marked as invalid when phones are reported lost or stolen. To find your IMEI, simply type *#06# into your handset, and note down the number that appears.
Step 2. Find an unlocking code.

There are a raft of websites dedicated to phone unlocking. Which you should head for first depends on your handset brand.
  • Nokia phones. The easiest way to unlock older Nokias is via codes found on sites like Trycktill, Unlock Nokiafree or Unlockitfree.

  • Other brands. Both Trycktill and Unlockitfree do list a few codes for other brands, though no where near as many as for Nokias. Some handsets by other manufacturers are not unlockable by freely-available codes, but it's still worth running a quick Google search to see if yours is one of the few that is (though do check it's a legitimate source). Also you'll find a full discussion of other phone in the Unlocking non-Nokia phones discussion in the Mobile Phone Forum.

    If it transpires that you can't unlock your phone with a free code go to Method 2.

Step 3. Use it!

The sites above will generate a code based on the info you provided, so double check it's right first. The code will look something like this. #pw+2746763089+1# (Nokia phones), or *2767*637# (Other makes).

To unlock, take the Sim card out of the phone and put in a different network's Sim. Now you can put the code in...
How to enter the code.
Rather than using the regular text keys you need to use the * key if you want to produce letters as opposed to numbers. To produce a ‘p', press the * button three times within two seconds; to produce a ‘w', press the * button four times within two seconds; to produce a ‘+', press the * button twice within two seconds.
You should now get a message saying ‘phone restriction off' (or words to that effect). You only have five attempts to enter the correct code so be extremely careful. If none are successful, the phone will still work, but you'll have to go to the network or a retailer to get it unlocked instead.

For more Details

Method 2. Buy a code

If you haven't found a free code, it may be possible to buy one. Obviously the aim here is to find the code as cheaply as possible and it's only worth doing if the reason you're going to unlock your phone will save you more than the cost.
Who is this for?

This applies to most modern handsets, so it's always worth trying, but if it doesn't work then there's still a chance using Method 3.
  • First, get a quote from your network.

    Phone your current network and ask it how much it'll charge for an unlock code. Unfortunately, networks tend to play fast and loose with their unlocking fees, to the extent it often seems they're making them up as they go along. You may be quoted anything between £20 and £120, depending on your handset, network, and it seems, which way the wind is blowing that day.

    Vodafone is the only exceptions from all this cloak-and-dagger pricing; its contract customers can get phone unlock codes for free regardless of how far into the contract they are, and so can Pay As You Go customers provided they've been with the network for at least 12 months. If not, a reasonable flat-rate £19.99 is payable.

    Important note: If your network cannot quote you a price for an unlock code, then the chances are your phone isn't unlockable by code (they should tell you this if asked). If that's the case, don't bother looking at other sites that sell codes, they may charge you just to tell you it isn't possible. Go straight to method 3 instead.

  • Then, try the dedicated unlockers.

    Having got a benchmark unlocking price from your network, you can hit the web and the high st. to see if they'll beat it. If looking online, be sure you know exactly what you're getting before you pay; read the terms and conditions to make sure they won't fob you off with something other than the code you need. Also, always check the legitimacy of sites; there are some dodgy operators working in this business.

    Whilst the web's probably not the best place to look, it's likely there are businesses offering mobile unlocking on your local high street. Check phone shops, markets and even some newsagents and key-cutters; they might be cheaper. The added advantage of these is that if they can't do the job you won't be charged, whereas on the web you may pay regardless.

    It can take anything between 15 minutes and a week for your code to come through, depending on the network. Once it arrives, follow the instructions in method 1 to put it into the handset.
Used online unlocking services? Please report good/bad feedback in the discussion.
Mobile Unlocking

Need more Details

Method 3. Unlock via a cable

If all else fails, your phone may only be unlockable by the physical use of a cable attachments. You can either pay to have it unlocked, or, if you've a head for technology, do it yourself.
  • Use a high street/market unlocking service

    Since you're going to have to post your phone to any online unlocking service, a process which can in itself be costly and cause headaches, the local unlockers have the upper hand here. It's worth asking for a few quotes and playing the sellers against each other. With these sorts of services, you may be surprised at how far a bit of haggling can go too.

  • Do it yourself.

    If you fancy yourself as tech-savvy, you can also buy a cable on eBay or cheaper accessory websites and download free software which should do the trick. This can get complicated, so be sure to research it thoroughly online before parting with your cash for the unlocking 'clip'. Be very careful though; this is only for the technologically experienced who can work through all issues.

    There are different clips for each brand, and often for different handsets within that brand, so be sure to get the right one for your needs. If you only want to unlock one handset, then the most economical option may be to buy the clip, unlock the phone, and then re-sell it on eBay to recoup your costs.

Further Details

Now it's unlocked, save some cash!

Now your handset's unlocked, the mobile world's your oyster! Read the Cheap Mobiles article for info on getting a good deal, and the Cheap Roaming article for top deals on calling from abroad. Also, check out the Orange 2for1 Cinema article.
If you've tried everything above to no avail, and you're left with a handset you don't want, why not recycle it and earn a little cash (read the Mobile Recycling article for full info).

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Mobile unlocking free.......Nokia, LG, Samsung, Sony Ericcson, NEC, Alcatel, Motorola

How to unlock

Before getting down to it, have you tried putting a different Sim in your phone to see if it works? You have and it doesn't? Okay then; there are two distinct ways to unlock mobiles:

  • Using a code. This is known as 'remote unlocking' and involves getting and entering a special code into your phone, which gets rid of all the restrictions as if by magic, and is by far the most common method.
  • Using a clip and cable. This involves unlocking the phone using a specific data cable and software, and applies to a limited number of handsets. Most people will send their phone to a dedicated unlocker for this service, but it's possible to do it yourself if you've the technical nouse.