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How to Unlock a T-Mobile Phone

Bring your T-Mobile phone to a cheaper carrier

Unlocking a T-Mobile phone

Wireless carriers are required by law to give you an unlock code as long as you've met their unlocking requirements. T-Mobile provides a couple of ways to get the job done.

The great thing is that unlocking your T-Mobile phone allows you to take it to a different carrier. Stay tuned to find out how to unlock T-Mobile wireless phones, plus how to stay on the T-Mobile network without paying T-Mobile's high prices.

T-Mobile unlocking requirements

Before making your unlock request you should make sure your phone meets the eligibility requirements:

  • Your device must have had active service for at least 40 days.
  • It must not be blocked or reported lost or stolen.
  • If using T-Mobile's Equipment Installment Plan, all payments must be made over the contract term and the device must be paid in full.
  • You have made no more than two unlock requests, per line, in a single year.
  • If your device is a prepaid phone, it will need to have been active for at least a year, or your smartphone must have had $100 in refills.
  • Your account must be in good standing.

Unlocking your T-Mobile phone

On Android you can use the T-Mobile device unlock app. The app is not available for iPhone.

Otherwise, take the following steps to unlock your phone by contacting T-Mobile customer service:

  1. Dial 611 from a T-Mobile phone or you can dial 1-877-746-0909 from any other phone.
  2. If your phone is eligible for approval you will receive an unlock code.
  3. After you input your SIM unlock code, you'll be able to unlock your device and take it to a new carrier.

Have the following information ready when you request an unlock code:

  • The number of the account associated with your T-Mobile phone, as well as the account holder's name
  • Either the account holder's password of the last four digits of the account holder's social security number
  • The IMEI or MEID number of the device. You can find the IMEI or MEID number by checking under the battery cover or, if you have an iPhone, on the back of the phone. You can also check the "Settings" of your phone for the IMEI number. From there, finding the number depends on the phone's type and operative system. You can also find the IMEI number by dialing *#06# on your device. The 14- or 15-digit number will flash on screen after you dial the number
  • The phone number attached to the line of service
  • Your military papers, if you are in the military and are being deployed

Bring your T-Mobile phone to a cheaper carrier

If you're paying more than $40 a month for your wireless service you are likely wasting money.

Most customers on unlimited data plans only use about 3GB of data per month. Why pay for data you're not even using? You can save over $600 a year per line with your unlocked phone without sacrificing network quality.

How to switch carriers and keep your phone

Now that you're free to take your device to another mobile service provider it's time to consider MVNOs (or mobile virtual network operators). These alternative mobile service providers rent space on the major carriers' towers and resell it to you lower prices than you're paying the big guys.

T-Mobile MVNOs like US Mobile, Mint Mobile, and TPO Mobile run on the very same network as the big guy. You don't have to sacrifice the call quality and coverage you're used to.

T-Mobile MVNO benefits

  • Better prices: Save up to 50% or more on your cell phone plan.
  • Customized plans: MVNOs let you decide what kinds of services - and how much - you need, so you're only paying for what you actually use.
  • No contracts or credit checks: All low-cost carriers offer prepaid plans. If you're unhappy you can leave at any time you want. Some MVNOs don't even have activation payments!
  • BYOP: Bring your own phone to a T-Mobile MVNO and pocket the extra money you'd funnel into a costly device payment plan. And don't worry, you can keep your number too.

Cheap T-Mobile phones

If it's time for an upgrade, save half or more off the retail price of your T-Mobile phone by shopping refurbished cell phones.

  • Save hundreds: With smartphone prices out of control, buying refurbished is just plain smart.
  • Huge bang for the buck: Cell phones get only minor improvements to new models. Refurbs offer big value by giving you all the features you want at a fraction of the cost.
  • Keep your freedom: Buy your phone outright and retain your freedom to take your device to the cheapest cell phone plan you can find.
Rob Webber
Rob Webber

Rob has 15+ years experience in the US and UK running price comparison sites for cell phone plans, smartphone deals, TV, and internet. He loves thinking outside of the box to build tools that empower consumers to make more informed decisions.