Unlocked phones are something you aren't going to get from carriers straight away, but consumers have had the ability to unlock their devices and take their phones elsewhere if they made the request and carriers would essentially comply. The rules for unlocking devices have been changing over the past year and as of earlier today those rules were announced as basically being turned on. Now that carriers are essentially obligated to take your request for unlocking your device,(permitted the device meets the requirements)the question you may be asking yourself is how you would go about getting this process done. We're here to help with that as it's not too difficult a task and we want to make sure it's a smooth process for you.
For starters, if you're on Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint or AT&T your first step should be make contact with the carrier who the device is locked to. The process shouldn't be too different for other smaller regional carriers under these new rules either. Not every single carrier will have the same process for getting this task done, but each of them should have a fairly simple process for it. T-Mobile makes this process doable in one simple step, just contact customer service either through web chat or by calling the number. Head to the previous link to get started which takes you to the support page for getting in touch with customer care. AT&T makes things straight forward by having you fill out a simple web form, so if you hate being on the phones this is your lucky day.
Sprint customers have the same process as those who subscribe to T-Mobile, either call the customer service reps via 1-888- 211-4727, or start a web chat to get a rep online and go through the process that way. Both are simple and shouldn't take too long to complete. Verizon Wireless is the only carrier which requires you to call customer service to complete the unlock process, so unfortunately there's no option here for staying off the phones and still getting the SIM unlock for your device. To complete the process you'll need to call 1-800-711-8300.
As for when exactly customers are entitled to receive an unlock of devices if they wish to have one, the new rules set forth as part of the consumer code for wireless service basically states that you either have to have completed your service contract or have paid off your device if it was set up on your carriers payment plan before the carrier is required to comply with your unlock request. Prepaid devices are a little bit different as the rules state you're eligible to have the request completed once it has been a full year since you purchased the phone. If you were wondering about tablets and whether or not they're included in the new SIM unlock guidelines, the answer is yes and it follows the same set of requirements, the contract either has to be over or you have to have paid for the device in full if it was purchased on a non-contract payment plan. Unlocking devices is generally free if you belong to the carrier you're requesting an unlock from, but if you're not a customer of that carrier then you could be charged a fee subject to the carrier's discretion. Now that you know how to get things done, if you fall into these guidelines and are wanting an unlock, you have the knowledge on how to do so.