Unlocking your mobile phone for free

Our lovely mobile networks have for the last 2-3 year been locking mobile phones provided by them. The “network lock” renders the mobile phone unusable when a SIM card from a different network provider is inserted. Using multiple SIM cards is especially handy when abroad because using a SIM from a local network is so much cheaper that roaming.
When you sign up for a mobile service contract (as opposed to Pay As You Go, PAYG), the network often gives you the chance to purchase a heavily subsidies phone.
I can understand that the operator wants to recuperate the cost of the phone but to keep recuperating that costs indefinitely I think is uncalled for.
There are “unofficial” methods to unlock your SonyEricsson phone but they cost, will most likely void any warranty and may in rare cases damage your phone. Nokia phone owners are more fortunate as Nokia phones can be unlocked without the need for any hardware and there are even sites that provide Nokia unlocking codes for free.
Instead I wanted to pursue a free and more civilised approach and thus decided to contact my Vodafone customer support and start arguing.
During the last 3 days I have been given several answers from Vodafone customer service:

  1. It cannot be done
  2. We do it because all other networks do it
  3. We have to contact the manufacturer (SonyEricsson), it will take weeks and cost you £30
  4. Just pop into a Vodafone shop and they will do it for you for £15
  5. Of course sir, your contract has expired and as such you have the full rights to your mobile phone. Here is the unlocking code

It was the customer support responsible for “Using your phone abroad” that was finally able to help. I recommend you to navigate (via the multiple choices phone system maze) to them if you are at the end of your contract and would like to reclaim your mobile phone.
Regarding the other UK operators such as T-mobile, Orange and O2 (BT) and I can only hope that they are reasonable enough.
The whole mobile phone locking reeks of anti-competitive practises that might possibly be contested with EU laws but nobody has chosen to take a mobile operator to court for those £15-£30.
Huzah, another consumer victory!
Update 18/08/05
Comments have been closed, please use the unlocking your mobile phone for free forum to post any questions or requests.

10 thoughts on “Unlocking your mobile phone for free”

  1. T-Mobile USA unlocked my phone for me whilst I was still under contract for free. T-Mobile UK on the other hand, charged me £30 back in 2002 even though I was going to use the phone on T-Mobile USA network. It’s just a scam to make more money, just like ATM/Cashpoint “fees.”

    TELCEL IN MEXICO (Network: 33402000)
    IMEI: [masked]

    David says:
    Eh, I do not unlock phones. SonyEricsson phone can not be unlocked remotely anyway (a cable is needed) as only the operator has the necessary codes.
    First contact your operator and try to make them release the unlock code, they should have it.
    If the operator is not helpful, try these guys as they are cheap and good: davinci team

  3. how do you unlock a Motorola v220 to any network

    David says:
    See the above comment.

  4. how do you unlock a Sagem MyX3-2 bought from vodafone.

    David says:
    Once again, it is best if you ask Vodafone for the unlock code as this is the “authorised” way. It will not void your warranty.
    Be persistent and call multiple times until you reach a customer support staff that does customer support

  5. how do you unlock a sony ericsson k700i (locked to T-Mobile)!”!”!!!!!!!!!
    P.S: Plaes help me

  6. i cant find the unlock code for a sendo s330 plz e-mail me at dan_hgh at yahoo dot com if u have the code

  7. please send me the unlock code for sony ericsson t226 modle phone. i really need it very badiy.

    David says:
    See above…

  8. please send me the unlocking code for a Sagem MX-7 on Orange i’ve looked all over the net and Orange refused to give me the code, they said they did not have access to it. i have called them around about 20 times and still they are not budging. plaease sen me the code…please

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