How to unlock a phone from another carrier

Are you looking to unlock a phone so that you can switch carriers? This is our step-by-step guide on how to make that happen.

People switch phone carriers for a variety of reasons. Sometimes, they want to save money and find a better deal elsewhere. Other times, they discover another carrier has better coverage options for their area. Either way, switching from another carrier to AT&T is easy—and you can even bring your phone with you, but you'll have to unlock it from your current carrier before you can use it with AT&T.

You may wonder how to unlock a phone to bring it to a new carrier. Here's the good news: Unlocking your phone is easier than it seems, and it won't cost anything. However, you'll need to make sure your current phone is paid off before you bring it to AT&T; otherwise, it'll continue to be connected to your current carrier until you pay it off or pay a termination fee. But once it's fully paid off, follow the steps in this article to bring your phone to AT&T.

Step one: Check your phone's network compatibility

Most current smartphones will work with pretty much any network within the U.S., but if you have an older model phone, you may not be able to use it with AT&T's network. 

To determine if your phone is compatible, first locate the IMEI—or International Mobile Equipment Identity—number. Note that finding your IEMI number depends on which kind of phone you have, so don't forget to read the clear instructions on how you can find it on your particular phone. 

Once you've located your IEMI number, enter it into the appropriate field on the Bring your own device online form to discover whether or not your phone is compatible with AT&T's network. If it is, congratulations! You can move on to the next step. If not, consider trading your phone in and upgrading to a new model compatible with AT&T's network.