How to find out if your phone is blocked
18 Jul 2013
A blocked phone is one that immediately brings up red flags for us as they are usually blocked by the networks because the original owner of the phone has reported it as either lost or stolen. However, there are many instances when we’ve seen customers who are genuinely trying to unlock their phone without knowing that the phone is blocked or not. I myself have even been in that situation after buying a phone from eBay.
The typical scenario we see is when someone has recently purchased a phone and immediately wanting to unlock it. They simply have no interest in using the phones original network and then order an unlock code. The problem here is that without testing the phone on the original network (or using one of the methods below) the owner then has no idea if the phone is actually blocked and therefore no idea that they even need an unlock code. This is because a blocked phone can still be unlocked - just not working on any network due to the block. This article will help you avoid this situation and hopefully save you money and time as well.
What can you do?
There are 2 methods to finding out if your phone is blocked or not. The first is simple if you know which network the phone was originally locked to and the second if you don’t (however, it does cost).
Method 1 - Testing SIM cards
To this this you’ll need nearly all SIM cards from the networks in the country you know the phone is from. Obviously if you know the network this becomes a lot easier - but if you don’t, you’ll need to pick the SIM cards up (most networks supply these for free by the way - just Google "free SIM [network name]" and you’ll find it).
Once you have either the SIM card or a bunch of them, simply start inserting them into the phone and turning the phone on. If the SIM cards are new it might take a few minutes for them to "wake up" but if you still aren’t able to receive a signal (the best check is to try and receive a call) then you know that either isn’t the network the phone is locked to or if that is definitely the locked to network - that the phone is blocked.
If you’re UK based and unsure if each network has signal in your area, you can use the Ofcom service to find out. If you’re based abroad you’ll need to look for a reception service checker near you.
Method 2 - CheckMend
CheckMend is a service that runs a paid check on your IMEI to find out if it has been reported for any reason and a bunch of other details that you might like to know about your phone.
The reports cost £1.99 each (which you can use before you have ever purchased the phone - just ask the seller for the IMEI) and take around 30 seconds to be emailed through in PDF form. Once you’ve opened the PDF, you’ll see if the phone has ever been blocked or is currently and the reason why. You’ll also know if it has ever been recycled, had an insurance claim or has the manufacturer warranty currently in tact.
Although attempting to avoid paying for any service is by far and away the most popular thing to do (who wouldn’t!) there are times when running a paid check are worth it. It can certainly save you a ton of cash in the long term, but I’d recommend only using it on phones that you have a reason to suspect.
Overall, try to always check the phone with an original network SIM card first and foremost before you even think about phone unlocking. From there you can make the correct decision and save yourself in the long run.
Article by Darren Kingman