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How To Unlock a Sprint Phone

Unlocking phones and tablets used to be a challenge, but Sprint is making the process much easier, going so far as to send a notification once a phone can be unlocked. All Sprint phones that came out later than February of 2015 even unlock immediately as soon as they’re eligible.

Those who would rather handle unlocking their phone or tablet by themselves or simply don’t feel like waiting will need to understand how to go through the procedure and know whether their device is currently eligible to be unlocked.

What To Keep In Mind Before Unlocking a Sprint Cell Phone

It’s natural for a person to get excited at the thought of unlocking their Sprint phone and using it on a different network, but there can be potential complications. Many people make the assumption that Sprint phones will always work with Verizon, considering those two are CDMA carriers utilizing the same technology. Sometimes, that isn’t the case. There are Sprint phones that aren’t compatible with Verizon. The person can check this through their phone’s international mobile equipment identity (IMEI).

The good news is that Sprint phones are typically compatible with AT&T and T-Mobile, because the GSM network those carriers run on are usable by any LTE-capable phones and iPhones. Sprint also has global phones, which have the space for a SIM card along with capability to run on both CDMA and GSM networks.

However, another potential complication is that even a global phone that is capable of running on a GSM network may not have all its features available on that network. For example, the phone could require a CDMA service for any calls or text messages, even if it can access LTE data through the GSM network.

It all comes down to the phone model in determining how it will function when it’s unlocked.

How to unlock a Sprint cell phone:

Once the person verifies that they can unlock their Sprint phone and that it will work on the network they want, they still need to check a couple other things. They need to verify as best they can that the phone isn’t stolen and that it hasn’t been involved in any criminal activities, both of which will prevent it from being unlocked.

They must also check the service contract they signed up for with their phone. If they chose a plan that let them subsidize the phone’s cost over the lifespan of the plan, then they’ll need to ride that plan out. Sprint won’t let anyone unlock a phone unless the balance on it is paid in full and there are no outstanding charges on it.

The same rule applies if the person went with one of Sprint’s installment plans, such as Sprint Easy Pay or Sprint Lease. The balance must be paid in full, because if there are any payments remaining, the phone won’t unlock.

To unlock the phone, the person’s Sprint account needs to be in a good standing, and they must have had the phone active with Sprint for 50 days or more.

What’s the Process for Getting a Sprint Phone Unlocked?

The first step in a Sprint Phone unlock is contacting customer support. Sprint’s standard customer care can help with domestic unlocks, whereas international and military unlocks will require the person to contact Sprint worldwide care.

The customer care representative will need the account number and the name of the account holder to start. To verify their identity, the account holder will also need to provide either their password or the last four digits of their Social Security number.

The account holder then needs to give the representative the phone’s IMEI or MEID. The location for this varies, but the most common placement is right underneath the battery cover. Certain devices also display it when the user dials “*#06#”. The representative will need the phone number, and if it’s a military unlock, the person must send deployment paperwork.

Unlocking a Phone for International Travel

The unlocking process tends to be a bit simpler when the person is doing so because they’re traveling internationally, whether they’re doing so as a civilian or with the military. When contacting customer support, the person just needs to verify that they’re either the account holder or an authorized user. The phone must have been active for 90 days or more, and the account needs to be in good standing and up to date on its payments. The person can only unlock their phone this way if they haven’t unlocked any other devices within the previous year.

One thing to remember is that a phone that’s unlocked internationally isn’t unlocked domestically, which means the person still needs to unlock it domestically if they want to later use it with a different U.S. carrier.