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If you own a Sprint phone, then you might have already known that it’s locked only to the carrier’s network. Therefore, if you want to use it in a different country or network, you’ll have to unlock it first.
Although the process of unlocking phones has been quite a challenge, it’s really easy to achieve with the help of the Sprint company. You can either buy an unlock code or simply request it for free from Sprint itself. However, you have to meet the eligibility requirements first.
In this article, we’re going to talk about certain unlocking scenarios as well as a few steps on how you can unlock your Sprint phone.
What Does It Mean For A Sprint Phone To Be “locked” Or unlocked”?
When it comes to Sprint phones, the term “locked” means that the device can only be used with the Sprint network and is not useful when activated with any other network. The term “unlocked”, on the other hand, means that the device is no longer exclusive only to the Sprint network and can be used on another network.
Before trying to unlock your Sprint phone, make sure to put the following things into consideration:
- Ensure that your phone is qualified for unlocking (it must be fully paid or going active with the Sprint’s network for at least 50 days).
- Communicate with Sprint to inform them about your plan to unlock the phone. Give them your account number and password in Sprint, the last 4 digits in your SSN, the device’s MEID or IMEI number, as well as your cell phone
Only after you have done the things above can you unlock your Sprint device. Also, take note that Sprint actually allows and considers unlocking devices given that you’re out on an international travel even if your phone is only half paid.
Video Guide: How To Unlock a Phone – Network & Sim Unlock – ANY gsm carrier!
Sprint Device Unlocking Scenarios
Basically, there are two scenarios for unlocking a Sprint device:
- MSL Unlocking – the phone is locked because it is mass-produced with disabling software together with an unlocking code which is known as Master Subsidy Lock (MSL). Sprint can impart the MSL code to some permitted customers. Nonetheless, it doesn’t mean that the device will be used with any other network domestically.
- SIM unlocking – the phone is locked because it is mass-produced with a restricting program that will not allow another SIM card except that of Sprint to be inserted to the SIM slot. There’s this fact that most of the smartphones that are launched after February 2015 are all SIM unlock-capable.
This means that the SIM slot cannot be unlocked and be utilized with other networks inside the USA. Even if it is successfully unlocked, the Sprint SIM unlock-capable phone can’t completely work on another network. An unlock Sprint phone that’s available for use in another network is under that network’s policies and network compatibilities.
Over on Twitter, the Sprint support account provided some clarification about the unlocking process:
@sprintcare Quick question. Pd my Sprint phone in full and I want to sell it. Can this be phone be used in Mexico with local carriers there? Thanks.
— Ahjussi (@ahjussiarie) December 15, 2018
Checklist For Unlocking A Sprint Phone
Make sure that your device has the following characteristics in order to unlock it successfully:
- It is SIM unlock-capable
- It has been or is still active on the Sprint network for at least 50 days
- The device is fully paid
- Your account is in good standing
Unlocking A Sprint Phone
Not that you know that a Sprint phone can not only be unlocked but can also be used in another network given that Sprint allows it, the second thing you should do is ensure a few things about your device.
First, and perhaps the most important thing to consider when unlocking your phone, is that it must not be stolen from someone else. If the law has been informed about the device being stolen, or used on any illegal or terrorist activity, no matter how you try, it will not be eligible for unlocking.
How To Unlock An iPhone From Sprint To Any Carrier
The next thing to do is to take a look at the service plan you purchased along with the device. If the service plan purchased permits you to pay a subsidy to the phone, you have to live out of such plan.
Remember that one of the checklists that allow a Sprint phone unlock is to have it fully paid with no other fees and bills to pay for. There should be no other bills left to be paid.
You can unlock your Sprint phone by sending a request for a SIM unlock or a request for the related MSL code when you contact the Sprint Customer Care at 888-211-4727. If you’re a Sprint Forward Customer, you can try contacting the Customer Care at 855-639-4644.
Will Sprint Send A Notification If Your Phone Is Eligible To Be Unlocked Or Is Already Unlocked?
For those who are postpaid customers who availed of a SIM unlocked-capable device, Sprint already decided to unlock active SIM unlock-capable devices without the need for the customer to file a request. This means that once you have met all the requirements written in the Unlocked Policy, Sprint will automatically unlock your device.
For those who purchased devices that are not SIM unlocked-capable, Sprint will, therefore, send a notification when the customers reached the stage to become eligible of receiving an MSL unlock code, given that there is an existing MSL code entirely for their device.
For the Sprint Forward customers, they will not receive any notification but they can request for their device’s MSL code at the Sprint Customer Care. Forward customers must also meet the requirements needed before filing a request.
We looked through several forums to understand how to unlock a Sprint phone. In general, people were looking for how to unlock a Sprint phone online, how to unlock a Sprint phone with a code, and how to unlock a Sprint phone to any carrier. They were also interested in learning how to unlock Sprint AT&T and for free.
A person said that he had problems with his Lumia 635 because it was locked to Sprint and he didn’t have any ideas how to unlock a Sprint phone (WhyTheLuckyStiff).
- He contacted Sprint support and explained the situation to them and asked them to unlock the phone.
- They said that certain conditions should be fulfilled if he wanted to use another carrier’s SIM cards.
- Since he wasn’t the original owner of the phone, he had to talk with the original owner and request the account number so that Spring could check the account and unlock the device.
Another individual said that unlocking a Sprint phone was a frustrating experience and that he didn’t expect it to be so challenging to unlock the device when he purchased the new phone of the Internet.
- He reported that Sprint provided him with an MLS code for unlocking, but he wasn’t sure what to do with it.
- They insisted that it wasn’t their job to unlock the device and that he had to contact Apple.
- Other forum members advised him to back up his phone and then erase and restore.
A phone user explains that if you want to unlock your Sprint device and use other SIM cards, you must first check if you meet the conditions for unlocking the phone. One of the most important requirements is that the phone’s balance must be paid off entirely and that it shouldn’t have any unpaid fees left like early termination ones, for example.
- He also mentioned that phones launched after 2015 might get unlock automatically if they are eligible and that you might not have to worry about unlocking codes.
A forum poster observes that not all phones are SIM unlockable and that you have to check if your phone is on the list of devices eligible for domestic or international unlocking.
- The user warned that he had a lot of problems trying to unlock his new iPhone 5.
- After speaking with the support personnel, he understood that Sprint wouldn’t unlock iPhone 5.
- The fact that you could only use iPhone 5 with only one carrier domestically sounded absurd to him, but he couldn’t find a legal way to unlock the phone.
- He warned that there are some sites on the Web that promised to do so, but he discovered that they were mostly trying to scam him.
One more person also complained that he couldn’t unlock his iPhone 5 and that he got a lot of contradicting information from Apple and Sprint. After consulting several tech forums, they explained to him that iPhone 5 might be possible to unlock for domestic use, but Sprint should request Apple to unlock the SIM card and that the unlocking should be done through the Apple servers.
Another forum member stated that he had problems with his newly purchased Nokia because he couldn’t activate the new SIM card.
- He didn’t know that the phone was locked to a specific carrier and that he had to contact Sprint support so that they could unlock it.
- When he finally got in touch with support, they explained to him that his device should be SIM unlock-capable and that the account related to the phone should be in good standing.
- Since there were problems with the previous owner’s account, he had great difficulties unlocking the phone.
Another individual stated that to unlock a Sprint phone you have to know the original owner’s full name and the account number attached to the device. He also warned that you need the previous owner’s password or the last four digits of his social security number to unlock the phone. Otherwise, Sprint support might not be able to help you unlock the device.
A phone owner stated that he wanted to change his carrier from Sprint to Verizon. However, he found it the hard way that not all devices were compatible with the Verizon service. It was a huge surprise to him that his phone wasn’t compatible and that he had to switch back to Sprint. He advised that you check the IMEI first before you go to all the trouble of unlocking the phone.
There are actually a number of former Sprint users who found it hard to use the device on other carrier’s network aside from Sprint. Just like Verizon, Sprint is a CDMA carrier, but despite having the same technology applied, not all of Sprint’s devices are compatible with the latter’s service. This proves the speculations that Sprint devices are really hard to use with other carriers.
You can use a Sprint phone on T-Mobile or the AT&T’s GSM networks, but this is only available for an LTE-available device or an iPhone. However, you may likely encounter problems like not being able to use most of your phone’s features.
In summary, successfully unlocking your Sprint device depends on what type of device you actually had.
Ryan is a computer enthusiast who has a knack for fixing difficult and technical software problems. Whether you’re having issues with Windows, Safari, Chrome or even an HP printer, Ryan helps out by figuring out easy solutions to common error codes.