Unlocking your Sprint phone or tablet is easier than ever, with the carrier itself even notifying customers when their device is ready to be unlocked. Even better: if you’ve bought a brand-new device launched after February 2015, it will be automatically unlocked for you once eligible.
However, if you want to take matters into your own hands, here's what you need to know to free your phone or tablet from the Sprint network: which devices are eligible, the info you'll need, and how to unlock for international and military use.
Before you unlock
Too many former Sprint users have found out the hard way that it's not always easy activating a Sprint device on a different network. Sprint is a CDMA carrier, like Verizon; however, despite using the same kind of technology, not all of Sprint's phones are compatible with Verizon service - you'll need to check the IMEI with Verizon first.
Technically, it's possible to use a Sprint phone on T-Mobile or AT&T's GSM networks, if your device is LTE-capable or an iPhone.
The problem is that although 'global' phones can be activated on GSM service, you may find that you're not able to use all your device's features (for example, without CDMA your phone may not be able to make and receive calls and texts, even if accessing LTE is possible). Generally, success depends on what sort of phone you have.
- The device itself must not be reported as lost or stolen, and can’t be associated with fraudulent activity.
- If you bought your phone on a two-year service plan with a subsidy, you’ll need to have fulfilled the requirements of your contract with no outstanding bills or fees.
- If you’ve purchased your phone in installments through one of Sprint’s financing options, including Sprint Easy Pay, Sprint Lease and iPhone Forever, you need to have paid off its total cost and have no remaining payments left for that particular device.
- Your Sprint account must be in good standing, and your device must have been active on a Sprint plan for a minimum of 50 days.
To ask for an unlock, you'll need to contact either Sprint Customer Care for domestic unlocking, or Sprint Worldwide Care for international and military unlocks.
- The account number attached to the device (and the account holder's name)
- The account holder's password, or the last four digits of their social security number
- The IMEI or MEID number of the device. You can find this either by checking under the battery cover (see below) or, in the case of some iPhones, on the back of the handset. You can also find it by dialling *#06# on your device. The number itself will be either 14 or 15 digits and appear onscreen after you dial and press Call or Send.
- The phone number attached to the device
- If you're requesting an unlock for military deployment, your deployment papers.
Sprint does allow eligible customers to unlock their device for international travel, to allow the use of foreign carriers' SIM cards. To be eligible, you’ll need to meet the following requirements:
- You are a current Sprint customer who is either an account holder, or an authorized contact.
- The device is active on a Sprint account, and the account itself must be active for at least 90 days with no overdue payments.
- You cannot have unlocked more than one other device within the past 12 months.
Customers will need to contact Sprint to apply for an international unlock, but take note: unlocking for international use won’t necessarily mean that the device is unlocked for domestic use. You’ll still have to request another unlock if you wish to change your US carrier.
If you need an unlock for overseas military service, you will need to provide proof of your deployment, and you must not have unlocked another Sprint device within the past 12 months.
Looking for a new network for your Sprint phone? Compare unlimited data plans after the jump and down below!
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Sprint is considered one of the "big four" carriers in the United States. Sprint's many retail locations are scattered throughout the country, and the company is headquartered in Overland Park, KS.
- Network Sprint operates a nationwide 3G/4G CDMA network on the 1900 MHz PCS band. Sprint's LTE band frequency will support bands 25 and 41.
- Coverage: Sprint consistently ranks #4 in national network coverage tests.
- Where to Buy: Sprint sells their plans and phones online and at their over 4,500 stores.
- Bring Your Own Phone to Sprint: To bring your phone to Sprint, it must be unlocked and have previously run on CDMA technology. Find out more about bringing your own phone here.
- Tethering: Customers who purchase Sprint's Unlimited Freedom Plan will get 10 GB/month for tethering purposes. Customers without the Unlimited Freedom Plan can purchase network data for $15/1GB.
- Prepaid: Sprint's prepaid arm is called Sprint Forward.
- Taxes & Fees: Sprint will charge state taxes and fees on top of your monthly cell phone plan cost.
Fact: Sprint's origins stretch all the way back to 1899 (!) with the founding of Brown Telephone Company in rural Kansas. Learn more about Sprint via our carrier review.