What is an unlocked cell phone, and do you need one?
An unlocked cell phone is a phone that is not bound to a particular cell phone carrier. If you have an unlocked phone, you can typically use it with other cell phone providers that use similar networks by purchasing a wireless service plan and a SIM card from the other carrier.
By contrast, a SIM-locked phone is a phone or smartphone that has been programmed for use only with a SIM from a specific cell phone carrier. If you have a locked phone, you will need to get it unlocked if you want to use it with another cell phone company's service. Most cell phone carriers will provide an unlock code if you meet their unlocking requirements. Requirements vary by carrier.
How can you tell if your phone is unlocked?
Unless you know you purchased an unlocked cell phone or you went through the process of getting it unlocked, there is a good chance it is locked. One way you can test this is to borrow a SIM card from someone who has a different cell phone carrier than the one you bought your phone from. So, if you purchased your phone from T-Mobile, try inserting an AT&T SIM card in the phone. If you are able to make and receive calls, your phone is probably unlocked.
*Cricket can't guarantee that just because your phone works with a different carrier it is unlocked and will work on our network.
How do you unlock a SIM-locked cell phone?
To get your phone unlocked, you'll need to contact the cell phone company where your phone was purchased and ask for the SIM unlock code. Each cell phone carrier has its own guidelines for unlocking phones.