So you’ve got a phone on Sprint’s network, and you’re looking to unlock it to use on another network in the United States, or on a local carrier in a country you’re traveling to. Typically, when you buy a phone from a carrier, it is locked onto that carrier’s network, meaning you cannot take an Sprint phone and immediately go over to Verizon or T-Mobile. But on top of that, Sprint is fairly restricted and strict as far as unlocking goes, but there are still a handful of way that you can unlock a Sprint phone for free so that you can use it on other networks out there.
If you’re not sure how, be sure to follow along below as we take you step by step through the unlocking process.
Sprint actually has quite a few prerequisites to unlock your phone on their network, and they generally aren’t lenient on them at all.
- First, the device must obviously be a smartphone or tablet from Sprint.
- Sprint says that it also has to be a phone that is domestic SIM Unlock capable for the domestic United States.
- As with other carriers, the device cannot have been reported as lost, stolen or blocked. If it is, it is generally what carriers call “blacklisted” and cannot be unlocked.
- The device can only be unlocked if your account is in good standing, which generally means on-time payments and a good history with Sprint.
- On top of that, you cannot unlock your device right after buying it. It must have been active at least 50 days on the corresponding line of service.
- Finally, must be no outstanding or pending payments, including installation fees on a device payment plan.
Sprint has many of the same requirements for unlocking a device for international travel; however, the device must be SIM Unlock capable for international travel.
Sprint Forward Prepaid devices have all of those same requirements, but instead of being active for 50 days, it has to be active for 12 months before it can be unlocked. On top of that, you have to call Sprint Prepaid Customer Service to have it unlocked — the number is 855-639-4644.
Unlock a Sprint Phone
Sprint has some pretty stringent requirements as far as unlocking a phone goes, but once you meet them, you’ll need to get on the phone with Sprint to have your phone unlocked. You can head over to Sprint’s website and get on there online chat, or you can call their customer service line to start the process.
There are some caveats, however. Sprint — like Verizon — is a CDMA carrier, but is actually a little worse than Verizon. That’s because Sprint phones that come with a SIM slot that have been launched within the past couple of years can’t be unlocked. You just won’t be able to put another carrier’s SIM card inside; however Sprint says that devices that operate on a SIM card that were manufactured after 2015 are unlock-eligible, and usually automatically unlock when the requirements are met.
Or, if you don’t want to wait for Sprint’s automated system to catch up, you can always talk to them through online chat or a phone call.
One of the more unique things that Sprint offers is temporary unlocking for international travel. This is usually a short term pass that is enabled for your phone, if you meet the requirements. You can request a temporary unlock over the phone, or you can head into your My Account page on the Sprint website. You’ll just need to select the phone that you want to unlock, and click on the link that says Unlock device to use int’l SIM.
Unfortunately, unlike all of the other carriers, Sprint isn’t even lenient for service members — you still have to meet the requirements to have your Sprint phone unlocked.
Use a third-party service
Is Sprint not allowing you to unlock your smartphone? Well, not all hope is lost yet. The good news is that you can also use a third-party service to unlock your phone. Using a third-party unlocking company can get your phone operating on another network in no time, and without all of the red tape from your carrier. It does usually cost some money, which can range from a couple bucks all the way up to an average of $60.
You’ll want to search around and research good companies for this, though. Make sure they’re reputable, otherwise you might end up handing your money to one in return for, well, nothing. Once you purchase a code, it’s usually sent directly to the provided email.
Sprint is one of the more difficult carriers on the market as far as unlocking smartphone’s on the network go. There’s no app you can use to unlock the phone, nor is there a Request Portal for a Device Unlock like you might find with AT&T. Sprint certainly doesn’t ship their phones unlocked from the get-go with Verizon either. You really do have to get on the phone with Sprint to put in an unlock request, unfortunately.