If you’re using AT&T device, but want to use a new SIM card from a new carrier, what you need is a device unlock. As in the case of most carriers, there are certain requirements that you need to meet before you can have your phone unlocked. Here’s how you can unlock AT&T phone.
AT&T Phone Compatibility
You can use an unlocked AT&T phone with another carrier. However, this does not mean that it will work perfectly fine with any carrier. It is worth noting that carriers use either GSM or CDMA. This is important because if your phone runs on GSM, there may be things that won’t work perfectly with CDMA carriers and vice versa.
AT&T runs on GSM. Another carrier that uses GSM technology is T-Mobile. This means that the 2 are generally compatible. Verizon, on the other hand, runs on CDMA. However, 4G LTE may work with Verizon if you decide to switch to such network. Sprint can be a little bit more problematic.
The best way is to ask the new carrier before you unlock your phone. Better yet, you can check the compatibility yourself by just entering your phone’s MEID or IMEI number in any of the links below:
If you’ve decided on what carrier to use, it’s time to unlock AT&T phone. But first, check out if you’re eligible. These might also be of interest to you:
Note: If you’re just going abroad for temporarily, there’s no need to unlock your phone. AT&T allows its customers to use their AT&T phones in over 100 countries through their International Day Pass.
AT&T Eligibility Requirements
Before you can unlock your AT&T device, there are certain eligibility requirements you need to meet. Before checking the requirements, you may also be interested to know the difference between locked and unlocked phones here.
- The phone must not have been involved with fraudulent activity or reported as lost or stolen.
- No unpaid balance.
- Confirmation that the phone is not active on another account with AT&T.
- For phones purchased on term agreement or installment, must be active for at least 60 days.
- The installment agreement must be paid off or the contract must be completed at least 24 hours before device unlock request.
- If you have upgraded an old phone, you must wait for 14 days before you can request an unlock. In case of business account, wait for 30 days.
- For AT&T PREPAID device, you must have been active for at least 6 months.
- For business-owned device, your company’s permission may be necessary.
- For military personnel, you’ll need to submit un unlock request, as well as your permanent or temporary change of station documents.
Note: For Dual SIM phones, the abovementioned unlock eligibility requirements must be met for both lines.
Method 1 (Unlock Through AT&T)
If you have met AT&T’s eligible requirements, you can follow these simple steps to unlock your device.
Visit AT&T’s website
Go to this page: att.com/deviceunlock
Go to Unlock Your Device
In the Device Unlock page, you’ll find Unlock Your Device on the left bottom. Click it and you’ll be directed to a new page.
Note: You’ll be asked for your phone’s IMEI number. Here’s an instruction on how to find IMEI number on Android. Or you can simply dial *#06#.
Agree to Eligibility Requirements
When you are already directed to the new page, you will be asked to read and agree to AT&T’s unlocking requirements. Make sure that you read each carefully before you click “yes.”
Complete the form
You will be asked for your mobile phone number, IMEI and other account information. Fill out the form and submit it. This serves as your official unlock request.
Check your inbox
AT&T will send a confirmation email which also contains your request number. So be sure to check your inbox. The email will normally arrive within 2 business days.
Follow instructions and unlock
The confirmation email will say if you’re request is approved or not. If it’s approved, you will be given detailed instruction on how to unlock your phone. This step normally involves inserting a new SIM card on the phone.
You can also check the unlock status online.
What if your request is not approved?
The main reason why your request is not approved is that you lack a requirement to be eligible. So it’s important that you meet all the device unlock requirements to make sure that everything will turn out as planned. To be eligible, you must do the following:
- Pay early termination fees or complete the contract before making another request.
- If you’re on installment, pay the plan in full. Wait for at least 24 hours before making another request.
- If you’re using AT&T PREPAID phone, make sure that you have been active on the network and device for 6 months before making a request.
If you’re not eligible to unlock, you may instead get an unlocked Android phone so you can use it with any network.
Method 2 (Unlock Through Third-Party Service)
There are also third-party services that offer device unlocking. They can unlock phones from different carriers, including AT&T. However, if you decide to go through this method, it’s important that you choose legally-operating services and be wary of scammers.
Heads up: third-party service is not for free. It may cost you up to $60, depending on the service provider.
Choose a third-party service
Choose a third-party service that’s legal and safe. There are many scammers lurking on the web, so you must be extra careful when researching. Compare and contrast various services and read reviews before deciding which to choose.
Enter your phone’s IMEI number
Dial *#06# to find out the IMEI number of your phone. You’ll need this when you visit the third-party service’s website.
Pay for the unlock code. The cost depends on the third-party service.
Retrieve the unlock code
When you have successfully paid, the third-party service will then send you the unlock code in a matter of hours or days.
Insert a new SIM
When you’ve retrieved the unlock code, turn off your phone and insert a new SIM card.
Unlock your phone
When you turn your phone on, now using the new SIM card, you will be prompted to enter the unlock code. Enter the code and your phone will be unlocked.
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- Records up to 22 minutes of calls
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- Smart Call Blocker
FAQs About Unlocking AT&T Phone
Will unlocked AT&T phone work on Verizon?
- It depends on the phone. However, since AT&T runs on GSM while Verizon on CDMA, 3G may not work. But since both carriers run on Band 4, 4G LTE may work on Verizon.
Can T-Mobile unlock AT&T phone?
- No. T-Mobile can only unlock T-Mobile phones and not those from other networks. It’s one of its eligibility requirements.
Can you unlock AT&T which is still under contract?
- No. One of the eligibility requirements is that you must pay off your balance and complete your contract before you can request for a device unlock.
Before you unlock your phone, you must always check your terms and agreements with AT&T. It’s always important to do things legally and avoid legal gray areas as much as possible. While you can legally resort to third-party service, the best option is to run things through AT&T. It’s safe and free. Just make sure that you have honestly complied with all the requirements.
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