Unlocking your phone used to be a massive pain in the ass but now, thanks to a host of new start-up companies, you can do it all online (and in less than 24 hours)…
Not so long ago, unlocking a network-locked phone was a pain. You had to call your network, speak to an advisor, get some codes, and even then, it might not work. Thankfully, this is no longer the case. Nowadays, you can unlock your phone in a relatively stress-free manner.
That’s where companies like DirectUnlocks come in; they provide a one-stop-shop for unlocking your phone. The process is simple and it is all done online. I sat down for a coffee with the owners last week to discuss the state of phone unlocking in the UK.
I’ve unlocked a few of my phones in the past, so I know how annoying the process can be. For this reason, I was eager to hear more about its service which promises to take the headaches out of unlocking your phone once and for all.
Benefits of Unlocking Your Phone:
- Carrier SIM hopping, for coverage in different locations.
- Shop local tariffs when on holiday or just roaming.
- Negotiate a better tariff deal with carriers.
- Swap tariffs whenever a new deal is out.
- Increased resale value for your device.
- Purchase cheaper locked devices, only to unlock them and save yourself some money.
- Recycle old phones that were previously locked.
Why Do People Unlock Their Phones?
DirectUnlocks told me that 32.5% of the unlocks they perform come from about to be sold devices, meaning people are trying to maximize their returns by unlocking the phone they’re attempting to sell. Why does this matter? Think about it: if you bought a phone online, wouldn’t you rather it could be used on ANY network, not just one?
For this reason, it always pays to run unlocked phones. If you buy outright, you won’t have this problem. However, most people get their phones on contacts and this means, nine times out of ten, that their phone will be locked to their network of choice. When the time comes to sell the phone, you DO NOT want this. You want your phone 100% unlocked, as it will increase the resale value of it on sites like Gazelle.
How Do You Perform A SIM Unlock?
Because we are talking about DirectUnlocks in this post, we’ll take a look at its unlocking process – it’s only four steps (and that’s one of its main USPs):
- Step 1 – Enter your IMEI Number (International Mobile Equipment Identity) this is located by dialing *#06# on the keypad of your device or looking in your settings, about this phone. (Sometimes it can be found on the rear of the device or the sim card holder). Fill out your brand and model and then the current carrier of the device. (If you don’t know the carrier you can use their network check service)
- Step 2 – Review the order and verify the IMEI is correct, and make your payment. (Provide any further information requested by the payment provider)
- Step 3 – Wait while their automated system accesses your network providers IMEI register and processes the network unlock. (This process can take up to 72 hours depending on the carrier, but usually is instant.)
- Step 4 – Turn off your device, insert a different SIM card and turn on your unlocked device.
And, BOOM, your device is unlocked. Simple, right?
Things To Keep In Mind…
Unlike a lot of unlocking companies, DirectUnlocks isn’t a reseller. It will do a full manufacturer unlock that will whitelist your device for life. All of its unlocks are performed over the air (OTA), so your phone stays with you while the unlock is happening, and the entire process usually takes no more than 24 hours. If you got a Samsung phone, it can be unlocked in six hours.
Once your phone is unlocked, you’re free to shop around for new, cheaper SIM-only deals. Our current #1 most-recommended SIM-only deal is Three’s Unlimited Plan – it’ll net you unlimited data, unlimited tethering, unlimited calls, and unlimited texts for just £20 a month (and 5G is included).
That’s about as good as it gets for data deals in the UK right now.
Richard Goodwin has been working as a tech journalist for over 10 years. He is the editor and owner of KnowYourMobile.