T-Mobile will unlock your Motorola phone (for free!)



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Phones come in two ways, locked or unlocked. If a phone is locked, then you can only use it with one provider, such as T-Mobile or Cingular/AT&T. If it is unlocked, you can put a sim card in from another carrier, and use the phone just as normal. Phones are locked because a carrier typically gives you the phone for cheap, and in return you need to stay with them for a certain amount of time. Reasons you might want to have an unlocked phone include: using your phone on a separate carrier, international travel and using a country’s native GSM network, and fetching a higher “unlocked” phone price at auction.

Different phone models have different ways of being unlocked. With Nokias and SonyEricsson, as far as I know, you can generate an unlock code based on the IMEI (Unique identifier) of the phone. These generators can be found for free around the net, just ask google or other trusted source.

Motorola phones are different, they require a unique number that is apparently stored on a secure database which you need to pay to gain access to. I’ve typically found these online services for about $25 per phone.

If you are with T-Mobile, you are in luck. They have one of the most generous unlocking policies for their phones. I’ve heard experiences with other providers are hit or miss. T-mobile has a clearly spelled out policy:

SIM Unlock:

T-Mobile branded phones operating on the T-Mobile network may only use T-Mobile SIM cards. To use a T-Mobile branded phone on another wireless carrier’s network with a non-T-Mobile SIM card, you must first request a “SIM Unlock” code from T-Mobile. Conversely, if you have a phone from another North American wireless carrier, you may need to request a “SIM Unlock” code from that carrier before being able to use a T-Mobile SIM card on the T-Mobile network.

SIM Unlock Requests:

T-Mobile customers must meet the following eligibility requirements before contacting Customer Service to request your SIM Unlock code.

The following restrictions apply to all account types:

* T-Mobile can provide SIM Unlock Codes only for handsets sold by T-Mobile USA, with the exception of Danger Sidekick devices. T-Mobile can obtain SIM Unlock Codes for companies acquired by t-Mobile USA (VoiceStream, Aerial, Omnipoint, SOL, Digiph, PCS One, and Powertel).
* SIM Unlock Codes will only be provided after your account has been active for 90 days. Only one unlock code may be provided per customer every 90 days.
* No SIM Unlock Codes will be provided within the 14-Day Buyer’s Remorse period. Customers who purchase phones in CA California or via Amazon.com are granted a 30-Day Buyer’s Remorse Period.
* SIM Unlock Codes are not always available from the Manufacturer. However, T-Mobile will make a dedicated effort to obtain the SIM Unlock code. Note: Other restrictions may apply depending on account type.

To get your Motorola phone unlocked, simple call T-Mobile Customer Service. Tell them you’d like to unlock your phone, and then they will ask for the make and module, and verify that you are eligible for the unlock code (you must have been an active customer for 90 days). They will then have you tell them the IMEI number on your phone, and provide an e-mail address. They may also ask the reason you are requesting the code – I felt bad telling them I was moving to Cingular, so I said I wanted to use my phone internationally. The reason you normally do this internationally, is that rather than

Within 24 hours, you should receive an e-mail that looks similar to the following:

T-Mobile Sim Unlock Request
Sim Unlock Reference: 095XXXX
IMEI: 356866XXXXXXXX
Unlock Code: 54907825

Thank you for taking the time to contact T-Mobile. Below you will see the Instructions for unlocking your Motorola device.

Before you start you must have a foreign (non-T Mobile) SIM card entered into the handset. If the display reads “Enter Special Code”, enter the unlock code and press “OK”. If the display does not ask for Special code, please enter the instructions below.

1.Press the Menu key on the keypad, and then quickly press 073887*.You should see the Enter Security Code screen.
2.Enter 000000 and select OK.
3.Scroll to Unlock SIM select it.
4.Enter the SIM unlock code and select OK.
5.Press the End key to return to the main screen.

NOTE: If the phone displays, “Please wait to enter special code” or “Contact service provider,” you will have to wait for it to change back. Please be aware that the phone must stay powered on to do this. If the battery is low, be sure to plug it in. It could take 15 minutes to an hour to change back. If the phone does not change back, the handset will need to be replaced.

Thank You,

Sim Unlock Department
T-Mobile USA, Inc.

This e-mail will change depending on your model of phone.

To sum things up, if you have been with T-mobile more than 90 days and wish to unlock your phone, give them a call! T-mobile has the best customer service around, and if they had good coverage in my area I would definitely be staying with them.

  • Tiffany E

    T-Mobile was “unable to obtain my unlock code from the manufacturer.” I have a Motorola RAZR V3 for crying out loud (most common phone). It should not be rocket sciene. But it was “too hard.” They had to give up. I’ve had horrible customer service experiences with them on the phone.

    I’m a T-Mobile business customer, and I purchased two phones from T-Mobile back in December of 2005 for myself and my husband. What should have been a simple request has turned into an epic.

    My husband has a Motorola V3 VSW RAZR, is in Italy for 3 months, and needs to get local service for his work there ASAP.

    When I signed up back in 2005, I asked about whether or not it was possible to get local service with this phone when traveling abroad (I used to have Sprint and their phones only work on Sprint). I was told that unlocking a phone with T-Mobile is no problem, and the only prerequisites were that I had been a customer in good standing for at least 90 days.

    So, my husband left for Italy (almost two weeks ago at this point), and I called T-Mobile to get the unlock code. They told me that this takes a couple of days but that I should get a preliminary email of confirmation within 24 hours.

    I didn’t receive this email so I called the next day and the person whom I spoke with told me that it had only been 23.5 hours (I wish I were kidding) and that I should call back in an hour, which I did. When I called again, I spoke to a supervisor who let me know that he would escalate my request, and that I should hear back from the unlock department within a couple of hours. He also kindly offered me a $50 service credit for the inconvenience, which I appreciated, but did not request in any way.

    I did not receive the promised email within a couple of hours, though. Instead, I got an email from the unlock department the next day, referencing an incorrect IMEI (they had the last number as a “0” instead of a “2”). I sent a couple of emails to customer service, but they responded back saying that this incorrect number would not affect anything (I still doubt this).

    So, three days after that, I received an email saying that it was not possible to unlock my husband’s phone, a RAZR V3. So, I called back to say, “Hey, guys. I bought this phone from you on the premise that I could unlock it. You’ve got to take responsibility for this, and fix this for me.” Their response was that they cannot guarantee that they can unlock a phone, that they could put in another request to Motorola, (again the 24 hour email business), and nothing more. I told them to please do that. But, I also pointed out that this is not what I was told to me when I bought the phone, that they could not guarantee an unlock. And the supervisor that I spoke with even threw it up in my face that I had received a $50 service credit so that I must be “scheming” for something else! (Carrie Rep#137645) I asked to please speak with her manager and she told me that it would not be possible, but that she could have him call me. She said his name was Trevor (rep# 137690), and he never called me.

    So Wednesday of this week, I received an email message with the unlock code for MY phone, not my husband’s phone, yet another bungled request (it referenced my IMEI number, not his). But, my husband and I both have the V3 RAZR so I’m having a hard time believing that it is possible to unlock my phone but not unlock his. So, I called again, they promised to put in a request AGAIN, and that I would receive a preliminary email within 24 hours, AGAIN.

    I did not receive this email on Thursday or today, so I called again this morning, where I was told that there was no record of my call on Wednesday, that they would put in another request to the unlock department and that is all they can do. I told the supervisor, Alison (rep#7254286) that this has gone on too long, isn’t there something else that can be done, could I please speak to someone else, maybe her manager to escalate this? She responded that her manager was just going to tell me the same thing. She refused to give me any contact information for him and told me that he would call me (still hasn’t). She did give me a fax number where I could send my request (1-817-353-6545). She also noted that they weren’t going to do anything else for me because I had accepted the $50 service credit so that is where their obligation ends. Crazy. I was not asking for anything besides T-Mobile either unlocking my husband’s phone, or if that was impossible, providing him with an unlocked handset, since that is what we were promised.

  • Tiffany E

    T-Mobile was “unable to obtain my unlock code from the manufacturer.” I have a Motorola RAZR V3 for crying out loud (most common phone). It should not be rocket sciene. But it was “too hard.” They had to give up. I’ve had horrible customer service experiences with them on the phone.

    I’m a T-Mobile business customer, and I purchased two phones from T-Mobile back in December of 2005 for myself and my husband. What should have been a simple request has turned into an epic.

    My husband has a Motorola V3 VSW RAZR, is in Italy for 3 months, and needs to get local service for his work there ASAP.

    When I signed up back in 2005, I asked about whether or not it was possible to get local service with this phone when traveling abroad (I used to have Sprint and their phones only work on Sprint). I was told that unlocking a phone with T-Mobile is no problem, and the only prerequisites were that I had been a customer in good standing for at least 90 days.

    So, my husband left for Italy (almost two weeks ago at this point), and I called T-Mobile to get the unlock code. They told me that this takes a couple of days but that I should get a preliminary email of confirmation within 24 hours.

    I didn’t receive this email so I called the next day and the person whom I spoke with told me that it had only been 23.5 hours (I wish I were kidding) and that I should call back in an hour, which I did. When I called again, I spoke to a supervisor who let me know that he would escalate my request, and that I should hear back from the unlock department within a couple of hours. He also kindly offered me a $50 service credit for the inconvenience, which I appreciated, but did not request in any way.

    I did not receive the promised email within a couple of hours, though. Instead, I got an email from the unlock department the next day, referencing an incorrect IMEI (they had the last number as a “0” instead of a “2”). I sent a couple of emails to customer service, but they responded back saying that this incorrect number would not affect anything (I still doubt this).

    So, three days after that, I received an email saying that it was not possible to unlock my husband’s phone, a RAZR V3. So, I called back to say, “Hey, guys. I bought this phone from you on the premise that I could unlock it. You’ve got to take responsibility for this, and fix this for me.” Their response was that they cannot guarantee that they can unlock a phone, that they could put in another request to Motorola, (again the 24 hour email business), and nothing more. I told them to please do that. But, I also pointed out that this is not what I was told to me when I bought the phone, that they could not guarantee an unlock. And the supervisor that I spoke with even threw it up in my face that I had received a $50 service credit so that I must be “scheming” for something else! (Carrie Rep#137645) I asked to please speak with her manager and she told me that it would not be possible, but that she could have him call me. She said his name was Trevor (rep# 137690), and he never called me.

    So Wednesday of this week, I received an email message with the unlock code for MY phone, not my husband’s phone, yet another bungled request (it referenced my IMEI number, not his). But, my husband and I both have the V3 RAZR so I’m having a hard time believing that it is possible to unlock my phone but not unlock his. So, I called again, they promised to put in a request AGAIN, and that I would receive a preliminary email within 24 hours, AGAIN.

    I did not receive this email on Thursday or today, so I called again this morning, where I was told that there was no record of my call on Wednesday, that they would put in another request to the unlock department and that is all they can do. I told the supervisor, Alison (rep#7254286) that this has gone on too long, isn’t there something else that can be done, could I please speak to someone else, maybe her manager to escalate this? She responded that her manager was just going to tell me the same thing. She refused to give me any contact information for him and told me that he would call me (still hasn’t). She did give me a fax number where I could send my request (1-817-353-6545). She also noted that they weren’t going to do anything else for me because I had accepted the $50 service credit so that is where their obligation ends. Crazy. I was not asking for anything besides T-Mobile either unlocking my husband’s phone, or if that was impossible, providing him with an unlocked handset, since that is what we were promised.

  • johnabdl

    I have three phones obtained through T-Mobile.
    My complaint is that they will only unlock one phone every 90 days!
    I owe them nothing; all my service agreements have long been fulfilled. I recently extended my plan with them for another two years.
    The phones are my property.
    Yet they have a policy allowing only one unlock every 90 days.
    So they get to restrict the use of my property.
    This is illogical and unethical, and something should be done about it.
    In California, there is a class-action lawsuit regarding this:
    http://www.wired.com/politics/law/news/2007/10/tmobile

  • johnabdl

    I have three phones obtained through T-Mobile.
    My complaint is that they will only unlock one phone every 90 days!
    I owe them nothing; all my service agreements have long been fulfilled. I recently extended my plan with them for another two years.
    The phones are my property.
    Yet they have a policy allowing only one unlock every 90 days.
    So they get to restrict the use of my property.
    This is illogical and unethical, and something should be done about it.
    In California, there is a class-action lawsuit regarding this:
    http://www.wired.com/politics/law/news/2007/10/tmobile

  • cachara

    i want my ph unlock

  • cachara

    i want my ph unlock

  • cachara

    i need a motorola phone to b unlock w470 phone

  • cachara

    i need a motorola phone to b unlock w470 phone

  • please help me unlock my (Blackberry 8100 T –
    mobile phone

  • please help me unlock my (Blackberry 8100 T –
    mobile phone

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