A tectonic shift has been made in the US Smartphone world after the president signed a bill that made it legal to unlock smartphones and free the shackles that bound you to a specific carrier. The bill essentially revives a rule that the Library of Congress issued in 2010 but did not renew in 2012 exempting phone unlocking from the provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998.
Though there maybe a plethora of reasons for unlocking your phone taking deep consideration is necessary before acting on such a decision. Here are a few instances in which unlocking your smartphone may be useful.
- You want a pre-paid plan, not a traditional carrier plan.
- Your contract is up (or void) and you want to hop to a different carrier.
- You need to travel internationally.
- You want to sell your phone on eBay and get a little more cash for it.
The list above isn’t an exhaustive one as the possibilities are vast. However here are some ways to unlock your smartphone as well as things you might want to consider.
1. Ensure your phone isn’t already unlocked – Some phones come factory unlocked. If you bought your phone void of contract then you are most likely in possession of an unlocked phone. Not sure? You can call your mobile provider to find out.
2. Purchase an unlocked phone – You can save yourself all the trouble from the get go by purchasing an unlocked smartphone. Google’s Play device store features a variety of unlocked phones. Apple fanatics would also be glad to know this option is also available. The iPhone 5S is available for purchase starting at US$649.
3. Contemplate Switching Carriers – This may not seem like such a big deal but in truth it can be. T-Mobile and AT&T both operate on GSM Networks which use SIM Cards whilst Sprint and Verizon are typically CDMA carriers which are not SIM compatible.
4. Ask your carrier – There is generally no safer way to unlock a smartphone than to simply ask your mobile carrier. In most cases this can be as simple as calling them to request the code which you will receive once your request is approved.
5. External Source – For every “clean-cut” way to do something there is always a “street-style” alternative and this is no different with smart phones. Visiting your local phone repair shop or browsing the web for phone unlocking websites can yield similar results.