Anyone that’s ever tried to unlock a smartphone that they bought from a carrier can probably attest that the process can be a real pain, and sometimes they’re not even able to get the unlock code that they need. Thankfully, that’s changing today.
Starting today, February 11, the major U.S. carriers must provide an unlock to you so long as you’ve paid off your device or are no longer under contract. AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, and T-Mobile are also required to post their unlocking policies on their websites, alert customers when they’re able to get their phone unlocked, and they must unlock devices for deployed military personnel.
Once a customer requests an unlock, the carrier must respond within two business days. A response can include providing the unlock code, sending the unlock request to the device OEM, or explain to the customer why their device isn’t eligible to be unlocked if that’s the case.
This new unlocking policy is the result of an agreement between the major U.S. carriers and the FCC from late 2013. While not everyone is going to need to unlock a smartphone in their lives, these changes should make it a bit easier for folks that need an unlock to get one or at least understand when they’ll be able to get one.
Have you ever gotten your phone unlocked through a carrier?