An unlocked phone means the contract is free

SIM lock: remove the unloved lock in the mobile phone

SIM lock: remove unloved phone lock
Graphics: Image licensed by Ingram Image, photo / montage: If a cell phone can only be used with a certain cellular network or even only a very specific SIM card, this is due to the so-called SIM lock: The device is more or less precisely defined properties of the SIM card, the "Subscriber Identity Module", bound. There are different variants such as Netlock and the full SIM lock.

The full SIM lock brings with it most of the restrictions - because only the cell phone and a very specific SIM card understand each other. If this no longer works, the customer must have an identical replacement card issued by the network operator.

The "Netlock" is more common today than the full SIM lock. The mobile phone is not tied to a specific SIM card, but only to a specific network. Thus, the user can use it himself with a SIM card from the network operator, but also SIM cards from other providers in his network.

As a rule, the duration of the SIM lock is limited to the minimum contract term of the tariff that was sold in a bundle with the mobile phone. This is usually a maximum of 24 months.

Get rid of the SIM lock prematurely

SIM lock: remove unloved phone lock
Graphics: Image licensed by Ingram Image, photo / montage: If you want to release a device from the SIM lock before the minimum contract period expires, you can usually buy it free from your mobile phone provider for an unlocking fee. This fee is usually around 100 euros. Buying a cell phone with a SIM lock and unlocking it early is often more expensive than purchasing a cell phone without a SIM lock on the open market.

Unlock your phone after the deadline

Request unlock code
If the time limit set by the provider for the SIM lock to expire has passed, the customer can unlock his mobile phone himself. To do this, he needs a code that he receives from his cell phone provider. There is more detailed information on the websites of the providers. In any case, the customer needs the 15-digit IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity). This can be displayed using the key combination * # 06 # and, on devices with a detachable rear housing, can also be found on the type plate under the cover or under the battery.

In addition to this official way, there are other ways to unlock a cell phone - but these are in a legal gray area. You can read everything about these unofficial variants in another guide to alternative unlocking methods for the SIM lock.

Telekom has gone one step further

As part of its original exclusive contract with Apple for the sale of the celebrated iPhone in Germany, which had been in place many years ago, Telekom went one step further at the end of 2007: After two years, it was possible to request the unlock code for the SIM lock free of charge initially not intended for the iPhone. Only after a legal dispute in the interim injunction procedure with its competitor Vodafone did Telekom manage to conclude that the SIM lock would be removed at the customer's request, at least after the minimum contract period had expired.

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