It has never been easier to unlock a Sprint cell phone or Sprint tablet. The carrier is even doing its part to make it easy to unlock a phone by actually notifying a person when their phone is ready to be unlocked. If that’s not enough, models of phones released after February 2015 will unlock on their own once the phone becomes eligible.
That being said, if a person does not want to wait or wants to try their hand at unlocking a phone or a tablet, they will first need to know if their device is eligible, the information needed to unlock the phone, the steps needed to unlock the phone for international use, and the steps needed to unlock the phone for military use.
A Few Things to Take into Consideration before Unlocking a Sprint Phone
Before a person gets too giddy about the idea of unlocking a phone, they should know that activating a Sprint device on a different network is not always as easy as one might think. Both Sprint and Verizon are CDMA carriers. So one would think that since they use the same technology, Sprint phones would be easy to activate on a Verizon service. Unfortunately, that’s not true. Not every Sprint phone was designed to be compatible with Verizon services. First, a person needs to look at their phone's IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) to check for compatibility.
Most Sprint phones should work on T-Mobile or AT&T networks. This is because these companies use a GSM network that can be used by LTE capable phones or the iPhone. Some of the phones sold by Sprint are designed to be global or universal phones. These have a space for SIM card and also have CDMA/GSM capability.
But there still catch. Just because the phone is labeled global and just because the phone functions on the GSM service does not mean that all of the phone's features are going to work. A person may not be able to make or receive phone calls or to make or receive texts without CDMA. This is the case even if the phone has the ability to access LTE.
Basically, the model of phone a person has is going to determine how successful they are going to be at unlocking it.
How to Unlock a Sprint Phone
Once it is determined that a Sprint phone not only can be unlocked but that it can be used on the network intended, a person will need to make sure of a few things about the phone itself. First and foremost, the phone can’t be stolen. If it has been reported to law enforcement as stolen or if the phone has been connected with any criminal or terrorist activity, that’s the end of the game. It cannot be unlocked.
Next, a person needs to look at the service plan they purchased when they got the phone. If a service plan was purchased that allowed an individual to subsidize the phone, they are going to have to live out the life of that plan. Before Sprint will allow a person to unlock the phone, their contract should be fully paid up and they should have no outstanding fees and no outstanding bills.
Some people get their phone through Sprint using installment plans. If a person has financed their phone using something like Sprint Easy Pay, Sprint Lease, or IPhone Forever, they will need to have paid off the phone in its entirety. There should be no payments left for the device.
In a similar vein, the account that that a person has with Sprint should be in good standing. Sprint requires that the phone has been active on a Sprint plan for at least 50 days before they will allow it to be unlocked.
Start by contacting a Sprint Customer Care representative. Talk to them about domestic unlocking or Sprint Worldwide Care if the intention is to unlock a phone internationally or if it is for a military unlock.
The first thing they are going to ask you for is the account number that is connected to the phone that will be unlocked. The account holder’s name will also be needed. The password for the account or the last four digits of the social security number of the account holder will be needed as well.
Next, a person will be asked to provide the IMEI or the MEID for the device. This is usually found under the battery cover. On some phones it can be found by dialing *#06#. The phone number of the device will be requested. Deployment papers will be asked for if the unlock is for military deployment.
Unlock a Phone for International Travel as a Civilian or Military Personnel
If a person is looking to travel internationally either as a civilian or as military personnel, it’s a little easier to get a phone unlocked for use overseas. A person simply needs to show that they are a Sprint customer who is the owner of the account or they are authorized to make adjustments. The phone needs to be active on a Sprint account, and it should have been used for at least 90 days. All of the payments must be up-to-date. A person could not have unlocked another phone or device within the last 12 months.
It is good to note that just because a phone is unlocked internationally does not mean that it is unlocked domestically. A person will need to request a second unlock if they choose to use their device with a US carrier.
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