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How To Unlock an AT&T Phone

AT&T smartphone customers are not locked to that carrier just because they have an AT&T branded phone. Most of the time when an AT&T customer desires to switch to another carrier, he can do so by contacting AT&T and asking for his phone to be unlocked. The carrier can also help a person even if he is not a customer, although non-customers are required to pay a small fee.

Please continue to read to learn how to unlock an AT&T smartphone or tablet. This will show you what devices can be unlocked and what is needed to accomplish the unlocking process. Also, the needed information for unlocking a device for military and international use is provided.

AT&T Cell Phone Unlocking

Carriers that use the same technology are easy for people who wish to unlock a phone. Since AT&T and T-Mobile both use GSM technology for their networks, once a phone is unlocked they will only need to put the correct SIM card in and their phone should be working. Also, both of these carriers use the same Band 4 LTE service, meaning accessing 4G LTE should not be an issue as well.

Verizon on the other hand uses CDMA technology although access to 4G LTE from an AT&T phone is possible because they both use the same spectrum for 4G LTE. However on Verizon’s 3G services, texting, calling, or data access will likely not work.

Sprint, another CDMA carrier, uses a different band of spectrum for 4G LTE than does the other three carriers. However, acceptance of AT&T phones and tablets can happened although one should contact them first to make sure what he has is compatible.

If a person likes AT&T’s coverage but wants a cheaper plan or a prepaid plan, then unlocking a mobile device to an MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) of the carriers would be a good idea.

How to Unlock An AT&T Phone

No stolen or lost mobile device can be unlocked. If a new phone has just been purchased, and an old one needs to be unlocked, there will be a 14-day period before the company will grant you an unlock.

If one has a device with a two-year plan with a subsidy, he will need his bill to be in good standing, meaning both the plan and the device need to both be fully paid off for an unlock to occur. Also, AT&T customers who use the AT&T Next early upgrade plans need to have everything paid off as well in order to unlock their device.

Those who have just acquired a new phone who wish to unlock an old phone will have to wait 14 days before the carrier will allow for the old one to be unlocked. Finally, if a postpaid plan is in use, then the account will have to be in good standing and active for at least 60 days; if a GoPhone plan is in use, then the wait is six months before a phone can be unlocked.

Unlocking an AT&T phone through the IMEI

AT&T phones can also be unlocked by using the IMEI code which can be done through DoctorSIM.

Information needed for Requesting an Unlock

Those with an AT&T account can use their “my AT&T account” to ask for an unlock as well as making an application on AT&T’s website for an unlock. If the website is used, go to att.com/deviceunlock and go to the “Device Unlock Request Form.” Once this form is completed and submitted, a confirmation email will be sent soon afterward. However, the instructions as to how a phone is unlocked will likely not be emailed until after two business days.

Necessary Information

In order to unlock a phone the following is needed:

  • The name of who holds the account
  • The device’s account number
  • The device’s MEID or IMEI which is likely under the battery cover or on the back of the phone (as in the case of many iPhones)
  • This 14 or 15 digit number is also viewable by dialing *#06#. It will be sent once Send or Call has been pressed
  • The phone number of the phone desired to be unlocked
  • The deployment papers in the case of the phone or tablet being used for military deployment.

Military Personnel and People not with AT&T

Military members have an exception through T-Mobile so long as their account is in good standing without any unpaid bills; military members will need to verify that they are being deployed.

One might have limitations going through AT&T as to how many unlocks are allowed. However, those with AT&T devices but is not a current AT&T customer may ask for an unlock code so long as there are no reports of the phone being stolen or lost.

However, those who are not customers who own AT&T devices that are not stolen or lost can request an unlock code.