How to unlock a phone to any network

A guide to unlocking a mobile phone

Want to unlock your mobile phone? We can help!

The UK mobile market’s booming, with providers such as EE, Vodafone and O2 all competing to offer customers a better deal than their rivals. The level of choice is unprecedented. But if your phone’s locked to one network, you can’t pick and choose. You’re stuck with what you signed up for.

The good news is we can unlock your phone so you can switch networks whenever you want to. Even better news? A cheaper phone package is just one benefit. An unlocked phone has lots more to offer.

And with Mobile Unlocked you’re only a few clicks away.

What’s a network lock and why should I remove it?

A network lock isn't something you can manipulate or manage manually from your device. It’s a behind-the-scenes software code that programs your phone to work with just one specific mobile network.

It’s also referred to as a SIM lock because if your phone’s locked to one network only SIM cards associated with that network will be acceptable. If you try to insert another provider’s SIM card you won’t get a signal.

Using your IMEI number to unlock your phone takes all of the stress out of a phone unlock. But the simple process isn’t the only reason to make the change. There are big benefits that come with having an unlocked phone.

By shifting the balance of power from your network and back to you, you get to make your own decisions.

You can also get more from your device because you can shape your phone around what you need and not what one network can offer you.

Travelling abroad becomes smoother, simpler and cheaper too. By using local SIM cards when abroad you can avoid steep roaming charges.

Then there's choice. Unlocked phones mean you can take your pick of providers. So whether it’s cost, coverage or connection, you don't have to settle for second-best.

Thinking of selling? You’ll get more money for your phone if it’s unlocked.

And, finally, save money with cheaper deals. Future-proof your device and your pocket by reducing your mobile phone payments.

What do I need to do to unlock my phone from a network?

Using Mobile Unlocked the unlocking requirements couldn’t be simpler. All we need is the International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number of your device.

Unique to your phone, there are a few ways to locate your IMEI number. You can key *#06# into the keypad of your phone. You can go to the ‘About’ option on your phone’s settings menu. Or you can look on your SIM card or underneath the battery inside your device.

As soon as we have your IMEI you can leave the rest to us. Using a 100% remote process your device will be unlocked within hours not days.

The process is the same for all UK networks, including: EE, Orange, T Mobile, Vodafone, O2, Tesco Mobile, Three, giffgaff, Virgin, Asda, Sky, Cable and Wireless, Cloud Nine, Jersey Telecom, Manx Telecom, Teleware, The Phonehouse, Carphone Warehouse, Talk Mobile and EMEA.

Young woman smiling in the park whilst look at how to unlock her phone to any network.

No admin, app or account details needed

With Mobile Unlocked the power is in our process. Fine-tuned to work using just the IMEI number of your device, there’s no time-consuming admin to slow things down.

Seamless and straightforward, we don’t need any of the details that your mobile phone provider will require from you to consider your request. So that means: No forms to fill in. No account information to submit. No eligibility requirements to meet. And no long, on-hold calls to customer services to endure.

If you try to unlock phones, removing all SIM restrictions, by contacting your mobile phone operator directly the process can be prolonged and problematic. There’s no standard unlocking procedure because every network's process is different. And each provider has its own, often complicated criteria relating to the device, its service contract and payment plan (i.e pay monthly phone). You’ll also need to provide ID information such as your device's account number, Social Security number, password and other background details.

With us all you need to do is type your IMEI into our website. And our tech will do the rest.

How to network unlock your phone: A step-by-step guide

Our network unlocking service covers all the major UK providers. From Virgin mobile phones to Tesco mobile phones we cover them all. including:

Desktop view of EE website and how to unlock an EE iPhone online.


Part of the BT Group, EE is one of the UK's biggest and fastest mobile networks. It was the first to deliver 4G in the UK. It also became the first UK network to launch smart number technology which enabled customers to use the same number across multiple devices.

Orange phone network logo.


Now disbanded, Orange was at one time a major name in mobile tech in the UK. But, following a merger with T Mobile, Orange UK's parent company EE announced that both Orange and T-Mobile tariffs were to be withdrawn for new customers. 2019 marked the end of Orange service in the United Kingdom.

Unlocked T-Mobile phone with TMobile logo.


One of the biggest names in mobile communications, T-Mobile began life as ‘one2one’. In 2010 it merged with Orange and later became part of the EE umbrella. The T-Mobile brand still operates in the US where it merged with Sprint to become the second-largest wireless network in the country.

Vodafone phone unlock logo in red.


Vodafone Group Plc owns and operates networks in 22 countries, covering Asia, Africa, Europe, and Oceania.. Part of this global brand, the first cellular network call in the UK was made using Vodafone making it the longest running network in the country.

O2 phone unlock code logo.


The largest mobile operator in the UK, O2 is owned by Virgin Media. Originally branded as BT Cellnet, the company was one of the first two original mobile networks in the UK - the other being Vodafone.

Tesco mobile logo to master code unlock a device from network.


One of the newer networks, Tesco Mobile began trading in 2003. It started out by offering customers prepaid mobile services, but now also supports monthly and SIM options. Providing 4G coverage since 2014, it operates using the O2 and Three Ireland networks.

Three Mobile logo to network unlock an iPhone.


The UK’s first 3G-only network when it launched in 2003, Three introduced 5G in 2019. It claims to cover 99% of the UK population with its customers using 3.5 times more mobile data than the industry average.

How to unlock a GiffGafff phone SIM Card.


Marketed at the lower end of the market, giffgaff launched in 2009 with prepaid, pay-as-you-go SIM cards supporting 2G and 3G services. Following suggestions from its user forums, it subsequently went on to offer customers bundles of minutes, texts, and data, which is branded as 'goodybags'.

Virgin Mobile logo to unlock iPhone to a different network.

Virgin Mobile

Virgin Mobile UK forms part of the vast Virgin Mobile handset global brand. In operation since 1999, the UK branch of the company is said to be the world’s first Mobile Virtual Network Operator. A virtual operator, Virgin Mobile doesn’t support its own network. Instead it uses the O2 network.

How to network unlock an ASDA phone for free.

Asda Mobile

Asda Mobile is available either through a SIM card (standard, micro or nano SIM) or through an Asda Mobile handset. Customers can source both from its UK supermarkets or online. A Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO), Asda Mobile uses Vodafone’s coverage.

Sky Mobile logo to unlock device.

Sky Mobile

A giant in the telecommunications and broadcasting industry, Sky’s mobile services went live across Britain in 2017. Unlike other competitors at the time, its tariffs were based around data rather than traditional calls and texts. An MVNO, it operates using O2’s radio network infrastructure.

Cable and Wirelss logo to free an andriod phone from its network carrier.

Cable and Wireless

BT’s only rivals back in the 1980s, Cable & Wireless went on to offer customers cable TV in addition to its original telephone service. The company fragmented in 2010 with part of its operations acquired by Vodafone in 2012.

Cloud 9 logo for unlocking a phone from network for free.

Cloud 9

Unique in its offering, Cloud 9 has concentrated its operation on saving users roaming charges by providing global SIM cards. Rather than serving end users, it offers a white label service to travel and telecommunications resellers. It also delivers mobile subscriptions over the air to programmable SIM cards, SoftSIMs and eSIMs.

Unlocking a Jersey Telecom mobile phone free.

Jersey Telecom (JT)

JT, formally Jersey Telecom, provides telecommunications, internet access and other services across the Channel Islands. Partnering with ZTE, it introduced 5G to the islands in 2018. It currently acts as a “digital sandbox”, testing out new telecommunications technologies in partnership with Sony.

Manx Telecom logo to get a free phone unlock code.

Manx Telecom

The main provider of broadband and telecommunications services to the Isle of Man, Manx Telecom started out as a Manx-registered subsidiary of BT. It operates throughout the island using fixed line and mobile networks, and data centres and wider through mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) and international roaming agreements.

How to unlock a Teleware phone in the UK.


Offering mobile voice and SMS recording services, Teleware operates as a MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator). Targeting a variety of commercial sectors, its SIM-based recording solutions help businesses communicate with customers, suppliers, and each other, and still stay compliant.

The Phone House network unlock code for free.

The Phone House

Once part of the Carphone Warehouse Group Plc, The Phone House brand emerged when the group expanded into Europe. Operating through physical high street stores, the company also supported a popular franchise model.

How to use my Carphone Warehouse phone on any network for free.

Carphone Warehouse

Founded in 1989, Carphone Warehouse was a high street name in the UK before it became a subsidiary of Currys Plc in 2014. After closing all of its UK stores it kept a branded presence in branches of Currys PC World and on its website.

Talk Mobile network logo for Mobile Unlocked UK.


Operating on the Vodafone network, Talkmobile launched as a postpaid mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) in 2007. After withdrawing its pay-as-you-go product in 2017, it now only sells 30-day and 12-month SIM-only plans.


Unlocked Phones: FAQ

  • What’s the difference between GSM networks and CDMA networks?

    CDMA stands for ‘Code Division Multiple Access’. GSM stands for ‘Global System for Mobiles.’ They're both 2G and 3G radio networks used by wireless networks, and are fast being superseded by 4G and 5G Long Term Evolution (LTE) devices. Which will soon make GSM and CDMA networks a thing of the past.

    There are some phones manufactured using GSM technology. Others use CDMA. The more up-to-date the model of your phone, the more likely it is to be compatible with any network, once it’s unlocked. This is regardless of whether it uses a GSM or CDMA network. Most 4G LTE and 5G-enabled devices, for example, should work on any network, once the network unlock code has been activated. Which means you can choose any provider. Older, 3G models will only function on the network (CDMA or GSM) they were originally manufactured for. This means your choice of provider will be limited to those that use the same network (CDMA or GSM).

  • Is a blocked phone the same as a locked phone?

    No. A blocked phone is not the same as a locked phone. A locked phone is tied to a particular network and can only be used on that network. A blocked or blacklisted phone is a mobile device that has been reported lost or stolen, or has unpaid bills against its contract. In this instance, the block is put in place by the operator to prevent it being used illegally or until its credit is cleared. Go here to run a phone blacklist check.

  • What are network restrictions?

    Network restrictions are limitations your phone provider has placed on your phone to stop you from using another network Also known as a network lock, it’s a software code added to the phone during the manufacturing process. Unlocked phones that don't have network locks are more versatile.

  • Are most phones sold unlocked?

    If you bought your iPhone or Android device through a network, it's likely to have a lock on it. You can buy unlocked phones directly from the manufacturer, or from Amazon or eBay, for example. But they usually incur a high one-off cost. Locked devices usually cost a lot less upfront because wireless networks subsidize the retail price of the phone. The pay-off is that you stay tied into their network.

    And your phone? Unlocked or locked?

    Whether it's a Virgin mobile phone or a Sky mobile phone the process for checking whether it's unlocked or not is usually the same:

    • You can go through the 'Settings' menu on your device - the information is usually held in the 'About' section.
    • You can insert a SIM card from a different provider and see if you get a signal.
    • Or you can use your IMEI number.

Didn't find what you were looking for?

If you would like to find out more, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the Mobile Unlocked team who will be happy to help. Contact us here or go to our support pages by clicking the link below.