There is good news for MetroPCS customers that want to switch networks while keeping the device. It’s possible to unlock a MetroPCS phone and transfer it to a new network. However, individuals planning on changing from MetroPCS must be sure to have their device unlocked before they swap carriers.
How soon can a MetroPCS phone be unlocked?
To be eligible for unlocking a MetroPCS device must have been in service for at least ninety (90) days consecutively from the date it was activated. However, it is possible to unlock a device even if the account was suspended at some point so long as the account is currently active and was not disconnected during the original 90-day time frame. Essentially, a 90-day timer starts all over after a deactivation once the account is reactivated. No matter what, MetroPCS customers must have at least 90 continuous days of service before MetroPCS will unlock their phone.
Additionally, MetroPCS will not unlock a phone if it has been reported lost or stolen, or if it has been linked to fraudulent activity. As long as a person meets the criteria outlined above, MetroPCS will provide an unlock code within two business days of the request. If the carrier denies an unlock request they will provide a basis for that denial.
What is the process for unlocking a MetroPCS device?
Once the unlock code has been received, A user can unlock the device through the MetroPCS app. The device can also be unlocked by contacting MetroPCS customer service directly. Once the device is unlocked, it can be used with a new mobile provider. A wide variety of phones can be unlocked by the MetroPCS app including the Alcatel Fierce XL, the Coolpad Catalyst, the Kyocera Hydro Wave, the LG G Stylo, the Samsung Galaxy, and many more.
The process of unlocking the phone using the app is simple as long as the user has an active data connection. The first step is to open the MetroPCS app and navigate to Device Unlock. After that, a user needs only to select Permanent Unlock and to restart the device. Any phone that can’t be unlocked through the app can still be unlocked by customer service. To speed the process up, it is recommended customers have the phone number, the name on the account, and the account PIN close at hand at the time of the call. The PIN is not the same thing as the online account password. Frequently, the PIN is the last four digits of a customer’s social security number.
Are there any fees for unlocking a MetroPCS phone?
No. A phone can be unlocked at no cost to the customer.
Is there a simple way to determine if a MetroPCS phone has been unlocked?
For customers who can’t tell if an unlock attempt was successful, the easiest way to confirm is to contact MetroPCS directly. MetroPCS customer service will be able to quickly confirm if a device has been unlocked.
Another method is for the user to insert a SIM card from a different carrier. This method is effective as long as the new SIM card is the correct size for the phone. A device will display the name of its network at the upper left hand or upper right hand corner of the screen. If the screen doesn’t show any network name at all the phone isn’t recognizing the SIM card. This is a sign that the phone is still locked. If the screen displays the network associated with the SIM card the unlocking was successful.
Will an unlocked MetroPCS device work on any network?
Unlocked phones are only compatible with specific networks. One example is that GSM-only devices only work on another carrier’s network if it is GSM compatible. That device will not work on another carrier’s CDMA network.
MetroPCS phones run on T-Mobile’s GSM-based network. This means a MetroPCS device is compatible with any other GSM network, including T-Mobile and AT&T. There is no guarantee every feature will work on a new network, however.
CDMA vs. GSM
The most prominent difference between CDMA and GSM networks is that GSM networks are based on a SIM card that can be removed from the device, while CDMA phones identify network subscribers through serial numbers electronically embedded in each device. It requires a specialist to reprogram a CDMA phone before changing networks.
SIM cards are convenient given that users can easily switch service providers by just swapping the SIM to a new device. This means users with a T-Mobile or AT&T compatible device should be able to use them on either network without issue.
The development of LTE networks in the United States has made the process of switching to a new carrier much more manageable. Any LTE-based network operates on GSM technology. This means more modern LTE-enabled devices purchased from MetroPCS that run on either Sprint or Verizon networks will likely work on any GSM network. The design of the phone can still impact compatibility, however. Some older phones rely on SIM cards but only use them for LTE services. This means some phones may not have access to features like 2G or 3G for text messaging or calls. A user seeking a less expensive plan that is happy with their current coverage can also take the device to a mobile virtual network operator that relies on GSM or CDMA technology.
Active military personnel in the process of being deployed do not have to meet the 90-day requirement discussed above. Any active military member or their immediate family can get their devices unlocked once they display their deployment paperwork at a MetroPCS store. Once the unlocking request is granted MetroPCS will e-mail the unlock code for the phone.
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