Unlocking your Phone

Have you been wanting to switch phone providers, but have been held back because your phone is locked to your carrier? Yes? Well, you are one of many who will appreciate this news. Today marks the deadline for phone carriers to implement the ability for users to unlock their phone, which allows them to take their phone to other carriers. 

Back in 2013, carriers and the CTIA–The Wireless Association have agreed to allow the ability for customers to unlock their phones. According to fcc.org:

In 2014, CTIA-The Wireless Association adopted six standards on unlocking into the CTIA’s Consumer Code for Wireless Service. The new standards, which are fully in effect among all nationwide mobile service providers as of Feb. 11, 2015, give consumers greater freedom and flexibility while increasing incentives for service providers to innovate.

While the ability to unlock your phone is now available, keep in mind that this does not necessarily mean that your phone will be compatible with any other network. The unlocking function only disables software on your device that is blocking the ability for you to move to other compatible carriers. CTIA goes into a little more detail regarding this:

“Unlocking” a device refers only to disabling software that would prevent a consumer from attempting to activate a device designed for one carrier’s network on another carrier’s network, even if that network is technologically compatible. In other words, “unlocking” a device will not necessarily make a device interoperable with other networks-a device designed for one network is not made technologically compatible with another network merely by “unlocking” it.

Before you decide to make a change, be sure that the carrier that you are looking to switch to runs on the same frequency your phone uses.  For example, Verizon, Sprint, and U.S. Cellular all use the CDMA frequency while AT&T and T-Mobile use GSM. 

To unlock your phone you will need to contact your carrier. Each carrier has different hoops for you to jump through, and some are more difficult to get through than others; but rest assured, the ability to unlock your phone truly is available. With that said, Sprint is one of the more difficult carriers. Currently, only phones that have been launched after February 15th, 2015 will have the ability to be fully unlocked. So unless you are going out of the country or are planning to purchase a phone after February 15th, good luck unlocking your phone on Sprint’s network. From what we can see, other major carriers make this process much easier. 

Do you like having the option to unlock your phone and move to another carrier? Does unlocking your phone matter to you? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.