Moving to a new mobile network provider can be a fantastic way to save money. So many of us are stuck on old contracts which either don’t give us the minutes, texts and data we need or charge us way too much for it. That’s why when our contracts run out, many of us look towards companies like BT who offer fantastic SIM-only deals that let us keep our old phone.
If you’re coming from another network, however, you might have found that your new BT SIM card doesn’t work with your old phone. If that’s the case, it might be locked to only work with SIM cards from your old network.
The good news, however, is that your phone can be unlocked. The first step is to find out if your phone is locked.
How do I find out if my phone is locked?
Finding out if your phone is locked to a certain network is simple. Just place your new BT Mobile SIM card into the phone and restart the device. If you can’t see “BT” or a BT symbol somewhere on the screen, then your phone is probably locked. Android and Windows phones display this information on the slide down notification shade, whilst iPhones show it at the top automatically.
You might also see a message saying something like:
- SIM Network Unlock PIN
- SIM not Valid
- Invalid SIM card
- Enter Network MEP code
If you receive a message like this, it means your phone is locked.
How do I unlock my phone?
If you’ve reached the end of your contract, your old network are obliged to unlock your phone for free if you ask them. Before contacting them, ensure you’ve got the following:
- Your old mobile phone number
- Your account number, if you know it
- The make and model of your phone
- Your IMEI number (this can be found by dialling *#06# from your phone)
If your phone was purchased unlocked, this won’t be required and you should be able to fit your BT Mobile SIM card in and get started.
With your unlocking code from your old network, you should be able to input it into your phone and get started with BT. iPhones, however, have to be plugged into iTunes in order to unlock them.
I’ve used my unlocking code, but my BT Mobile SIM still isn’t working?
If you’ve put your unlocking code into your phone but still can’t get your BT Mobile SIM to work, make sure you’ve put in the code correctly and that you’ve completed all the steps you phone asks you to. Switch your device off and then back on and try again.
Consider finding another BT Mobile SIM that’s in another phone to see if it’s your phone that’s the issue. If the second BT Mobile SIM card doesn’t work in your phone either, it’s clear that the issue lies with your phone.
Can I unlock my phone without speaking to my old network?
You most certainly can. There are many services online which sell unlock codes and you can also unlock your phone is most high street phone shops.
Is unlocking my phone against the law?
Unlocking your phone is perfectly legal. However, if a phone is reported stolen or missing it will have been blacklisted or blocked. Un-blacklisting or unblocking a phone which wasn’t done so by yourself is a crime. That’s why it’s always recommended to go back to your previous mobile network provider to unlock the device.
Will unlocking my device harm my warranty or insurance?
As a general rule, unlocking your phone doesn’t affect your warranty or insurance. However, it’s always prudent to speak to your mobile network, phone or insurance supplier to find out whether unlocking will change anything for you.
How can I tell if my SIM card is broken?
We have an article on this very subject, covering what to do if your BT SIM isn’t working. Alternatively, read on.
If you’re concerned that your SIM card is broken or malfunctioning, find another BT Mobile SIM card and place it into your unlocked phone. If that SIM card works, then the issue could be that your BT SIM card is broken. Next, take your personal SIM card and place it in a friend or family member’s unlocked phone. If the SIM card still doesn’t work there either, the chances of having a faulty SIM card are very high.
It could also be that your SIM card has been blocked by BT for late payment or misuse. Contact BT to find out more.