How to Unlock a Verizon Phone (and Switch to a New Carrier)

Want to bring your Verizon phone to a new carrier? View our step-by-step guide to the unlock process

Cheap Cell Phone Plans Starting at $10/mo - Compare Now
How to Unlock a Verizon Phone
VerizonCompare Verizon Phone Deals - 50% off MSRPSee Deals

Last Updated:

With the big four carriers, you'll be able to unlock your phone with no fuss, as long as your phone meets the requirements. The main requirement is that the phone must be completely paid off.

Switch Carriers & Save $600 per year - Calculate Your Savings

Unlocking Your Verizon Phone

The really great news is that most of Verizon's smartphones - including all its 4G LTE devices - come already unlocked. That means that if you want to cancel your service and take your business to a lower-cost carrier (see the section below on Switching to a MVNO) then you just need to make sure that:

  • Your contract must be finished with no missed payments or overdue bills.
  • Your phone cannot be reported lost, stolen or associated with fraud.

However, there are some exceptions and some Verizon devices do come locked. Here are the easy steps to take if your Verizon phone needs to be unlocked:

Postpaid plan exception - and what to do

  • There are no locking issues with almost all Verizon postpaid plans. The only exception is that Verizon does lock non-iPhone 3G Global Ready phones that have been activated with a postpaid plan. The PUK code to unlock is either "000000" or "123456." The user guide for your phone should direct you to the phone's programming menu where you can input the SIM unlock code.
  • If you have any questions or cannot find your phone's user guide, call Verizon for help at this number: (800)-922-0204. You can also contact them using *611. They will unlock your phone for you if you ask them.

Prepaid plan exception - and what to do

  • Verizon does lock their Phone-in-the-Box prepaid phones for one year after activation.
  • After that, the code to unlock your phone is also either "000000" or "123456." Or you can call Verizon, as above.

Thinking of Switching Networks?

It is important to know that Verizon uses the CDMA radio system and operates on different technology to AT&T and T-Mobile, who use GSM. However, the good news is that a lot of unlocked Verizon 4G LTE handsets will work with AT&T and T-Mobile, but you will need to check with your new carrier just to be sure.

Even though Sprint uses the same CDMA technology, a Verizon phone may not be able to transfer to a Sprint service, because Sprint runs on different spectrum bands compared to Verizon. However, some Verizon 4G LTE devices, such as modern iPhones, may be able to activate on Sprint's network. So again you should check first with your new carrier.

If you are basically satisfied with Verizon's coverage but are not so keen on their prices, then there's a simple solution that could help you make major savings on your monthly bill. Check out the next section on low-cost carriers who use the Verizon network.

Compare Cell Phone Plans

Time for a cheaper cell phone plan?

Switching to a Verizon MVNO

It's time to consider switching to a smaller carrier (otherwise known as a mobile virtual network operator, or MVNO). Low-cost carriers such as Twigby, ROK Mobile, and US Mobile lease 4G LTE network coverage from Verizon Wireless and resell that coverage to you for a much lower price. These companies offer significant benefits:

Better prices: Verizon MVNOs operate at a much lower cost, especially with regard to overheads and advertising budgets. Because of this, MVNOs are able to provide you with far more affordable mobile device plans.

Customized plans: The truth is that most smartphone users don't use enough data to justify the purchase of an unlimited smartphone plan. MVNOs allow you to choose whatever you need - for instance, US Mobile lets you create your own phone plan - so that you're only paying for what you're actually using.

No contracts or credit check: All low-cost carriers offer prepaid plans. If you find yourself dissatisfied with the service or its plans, then you can switch to another carrier whenever you'd like.

BYOP: Did you know that MVNOs let you bring your own phone or tablet? That way, you'll be able to save more money rather than funnel that money into a new phone with a financing plan. Best of all, you'll be able to retain your phone number.

Selling Your Old Phone? Compare Offers to Get the Best Price

Now that your phone is unlocked, you'll probably sell it. After all, the phone is collecting dust and that money can be put towards another phone. You can easily get rid of your phone by trading it into your carrier, but you won't nearly get as much money. A simple, easy way to earn a good chunk of change for your phone is to sell your phone to a trusty online seller. If you have a phone in good condition - one that is considered scratch-, scuff- and crack-free - then you'll receive a good amount for your device from these sellers.

However, if you want the most money for your device, you'll need to review selling prices among each online seller. That could take a lot of time and energy, so we've done the hard work for you by creating a sell your phone comparison tool. With it, you'll be able to compare prices among various sellers within a single page. Say you want to sell your Apple iPhone 6s Plus, which happens to have 128GB of storage and is in good condition. With our tool - and at this time of writing - Gazelle will give you $205, BuyBackWorld will give you $220, and Decluttr $238.

If you are on the hunt for a new phone, then you should consider purchasing a used phone rather than a new one, as you'll be able to save up to 50 percent off of a phone's MSRP. Furthermore, the differences between recent models are minimal (for instance, the iPhone 8 versus the iPhone 7). With our used phone comparison tool, which allows you to compare prices from one convenient space, you'll be able to save even more money!

Find Out Now

Cut Your Phone Bill, Not your Coverage - Calculate Your Saving Now!

See Savings

3 Great Ways to Save

Compare Cheap Phone PlansSIM CardSwitch & save over $600 per year!Compare PlansCompare Cheap Phone PricesSmartphoneSave over 50% off MSRPCompare PricesSell Your Phone for CashSmartphone with dollar signGet 50% more than store trade-inCompare Prices
Switch Carriers & Save $600 per year - Calculate Your Savings