Typically when you purchase a cell phone, the company that sold you the phone (ex: MTN,GLO, or AT&T) 'locked' the phone before you bought it, so you can only use it on their network. This means that you can't use your phone if on any other network, even if you change the SIM (which is an abbreviation for Subscriber Identity Module) card. The SIM card is the little piece of plastic that identifies your phone to the cellular network. Changing your SIM card to have your phone work on another network is useful especially if you want to travel to another country and want to buy a pre-paid SIM card so you can have cell phone access without roaming charges. There are services that offer to provide unlocking capabilities for a fee, but you can usually do it yourself for free-which is the perfect price.
STEPS TO UNLOCK YOUR NOKIA PHONE
- Before trying anything else, contact your service provider and ask for an unlock code. Usually, if you've been a customer of theirs for some time, they will provide you with an unlock code for free. This is, by far, the best way to get your phone unlocked.
- Download software to generate the unlocking code. Software is available on some websites for free and some pay websites that also offer support if things go wrong. See external links below.
- Find the Serial number of the cell phone, also known as your IMEI number. This can be done by either removing the back of your cell phone and looking underneath the battery, or simply by typing in *#06# into your cell phone. It should be something like: 010082321439976/07951780736
- Using the software you have downloaded, enter in your Manufacturer (which is in this case Nokia), and sliding the card out. Put the battery back in and power the phone on.
- You will see a message "Insert SIM Card". Enter all of the characters you see in your code, including the # symbols. To get a 'p' press * 3 times, to get a '+' press the * key 2 times, to get a 'w' press the * key 4 times. Disregard any spaces in the code.
- In order to unlock your phone you generally need to enter only one code. Start with the first one. If your phone is not unlocked by typing the first code (MCC+MNC), use code "7" (Multilock)
- Once you have finished entering a code that works you should see a message that says "SIM is not restricted" or "Restriction off" message depending on your model. If not, try entering another code. Message "Cannot undo restrictions" means the phone is "hard-locked" and cannot be unlocked by code.
TIPS TO UNLOCKING NOKIA PHONE
- For some phones, such as the E51, you may unlock them simply by updating the phone's firmware using the Nokia PC Suite.
- Unlocking applies to all cellular phones. The steps provided above work for GSM phones. You CANNOT use the steps above to unlock a CDMA or TDMA phone. To "unlock" a CDMA or TDMA phones is known as reprogramming the phone. For CDMA phones, you need the Master Subsidary Lock or MSL, which you MAY be able to get from your service provider. Please note that you may not be able to get the MSL from your service provider, as it usually is against company policy to give these to customers.
- Switch off the phone. Hold the keys "3", "*" and "Call" and switch the phone on. Keep the buttons held down till you see the word "Formatting..." on the screen. Make sure that the battery is full charged before you attempt this. This should reset the phone lock code.
- Also some software is able to unlock CDMA,GSM and other phones to different networks but you must watch for the fraud ones.
- Attempting to unlock your phone is done at your own risk. Although unlocking your phone is legal, some cell phone operators might choose to void your warranty should you unlock your phone.
- Most phones only allow you to try a certain number of unlock tries, Nokia phones have a limit of 5 tries. After that, the phone becomes "hard-locked", meaning it cannot be unlocked without using special equipment.
- Most of the newer phones will not work with the codes generated by the free unlock programs.
Unlock codes are unique to the phone itself, do not try using another person's unlock code even if it's for the same model.
CITATIONS - Unlock It free