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Why should you unlock your phone?

Soon or later you are going to buy a new phone, but the chances are it will be locked to the network you bought it on, this is how most major mobile phone providers are, and if you try to put another network's Sim card in that phone, it simply will not work...

By you unlocking your mobile phone, it enables the phone to be used with any compatible Sim card on any network of your choice, this gives you these benefits:

* Promotional Specials. Often networks give away free Sim cards, these can come with free texts or calls. Yet if your phone isn't unlocked you can't put the Sims in your phone and take advantage. Any decent free Sim offers are included in the free weekly

* Better phone then Network has to offer. If you like your phone but do not have a good deal, by unlocking your phone, it allows you to keep the phone, but switch to another network.

* Added value. Unlocked phones sell for more, because they have much wider appeal to users on other networks and in other countries. Who wants to buy a phone that is locked, but cannot use it in their country or on their network? No body!


* Freedom to roam. Unlocking extends to many foreign Sim cards too, so you can totally eschew the UK networks' expensive overseas rates by getting a local Sim card everywhere you go.

In short, unlocking gives your mobile independence from the network you got it from. And what's more, it's usually simple to do. Many, especially slightly older, handsets can be unlocked using codes generated for free on the web, and if that doesn't work, you can do it for a reasonable fee, either through your network or high st. phone unlockers.

Even if you have to pay your network to unlock the handset, unless you're on a particularly good tariff, the savings should quickly outweigh the outlay.

Why do mobile phone companies lock phones?

Mobile companies say their phones are already heavily subsidized to entice you to buy them and they need to make up this shortfall. Yet the reality, as ever, comes down to cold hard cash; it makes no sense to sell you the phone at reduced cost and then let you take your money to another network provider.


Isn't it illegal?

Nope, this is a common misconception, and one the mobile phone companies (unsurprisingly) aren't keen to dispel. The confusion arises because unlocking and unblocking are often mixed up, yet mean different things.

* Unlocking is totally legal. It just means making the phone work with any Sim card.


* Unblocking is illegal. This is the practice of making a phone work again after it's been blocked by the networks, usually as a result of its being reported lost or stolen. Unsurprisingly, It is thoroughly illegal and should not be attempted.

But what about my warranty?

While it's not illegal, unlocking your phone WILL invalidate its warranty in most cases. Thus do think twice if you're still in the warranty period and have a super-expensive handset; while it's possible to 're-lock' some phones, this shouldn't be relied upon.

Is there any way around it?

It's possible to get a 'Sim unlocking attachment', which is a little device roughly the same size and shape as a Sim card, which goes in the handset's card slot alongside the Sim itself. Effectively, the device unlocks your Sim to make it work with the handset, rather than the other way around, so your phone warranty remains intact when you use one (though obviously you can't sell the phone as 'unlocked', because it isn't).