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mobile phone unlocking information
how to unlock your phone
As far as we know, ALL GSM mobile phones can be unlocked, so it's worth remembering that if somebody tells you that yours cannot be unlocked, they are probably lying!
However, some mobiles are easier to unlock than others. There are 2 methods widely used:
If you are lucky, your phone will be unlockable via a code unique to your handset. There are several ways of getting hold of this code:
Firstly, try calling your network's customer services and asking them for the unlock code for your phone. Most networks don't mind at all and this is probably all you will need to try. However, if they can't (or don't!) help you...
Call the support line for the manufacturer of your phone and ask them. Not all manufacturers will give you unlock codes, but some (e.g. Sony Ericsson) do seem to.
Search the Internet - There are some sites on the Internet which calculate unlock codes for you for free (see our links page). However, they are usually not guaranteed to work and it can take some time before you find one that covers your make and model of phone.
Use an unlocking service - Bottom of the list, because this you have to pay for and in many cases it is unneccessary. You find people willing to unlock mobile phones all over the place - in the High Street, on the Internet, even in street markets! We have linked to a reputable Internet phone unlocker on our links page.
Software Update Unlocking
If your phone will not accept an unlocking code, you have no choice but to unlock it by using a software update. What this means in practice is connecting your phone to a computer using a special cable, and "flashing" a software upgrade over to your handset. Again, there are several ways to go about this:
Some official phone service centres are able to do this for you. Contact your phone manufacturer and find out where your nearest licensed service centre is. Give them a call and see if they can help you. You will normally have to pay for this, but you are dealing with qualified phone engineers and you have some kind of guarantee should something go wrong.
There are other non-official companies (and some shops) that offer this service - you can even send your phone off to have it unlocked by "mail order", but as these are not official phone engineers it is unknown what comeback you would have should something go wrong.
If you are confident with the technical side of things, there are web sites where you can buy data cables for mobile phones to connect them to your own computer. You can then download software upgrades and flashing utilities from the net and upgrade your mobile phone's software yourself. This isn't recommended however unless you are sure you know what you are doing!
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