The best free software option for unlocking a mobile phone is to request the phone’s servicing carrier to unlock the phone. Agreements among providers and federal laws, which became effective in February 2015, require all providers to unlock prepaid and post-paid mobile phones for accounts in good standing.
A customer who received a discount on a phone in exchange for a contract under which the discount is recaptured through monthly payments may still be liable for the amount owed on the phone, but companies must otherwise agree to customer requests to unlock their phones. The provider may give the consumer a code to unlock the phone, perform the unlocking remotely, or perform the procedure in a store. Once unlocked, the phone works on compatible networks, but most GSM and CDMA phones remain incompatible with opposing networks. Alternative options involve third-party software, which risks damage to the phone’s operating system that may render it inoperable.