How to unlock your mobile phone

Unlocking your phone takes minutes and lets you pick the best SIM only deal on the market. Here’s how to unlock your handset.

Why bother unlocking your handset?

It’ll allow you to choose a SIM only deal from any provider, not just the one who sold you your phone in the first place.

This could make your phone bill much cheaper or mean you can get more data, calls or texts for the same price you pay now.

What will you need?

To unlock your phone you will need to know your handset’s:

  • Make e.g. Samsung or Apple
  • Model e.g. Galaxy S9 or iPhone X
  • Unique 15 digit IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) number

You can check your IMEI number by entering *#06# into your phone app.

A pop up will then appear and display your IMEI number ready for you to use.

How to unlock your phone

First, check if your phone needs unlocking. Some suppliers offer handsets that are already unlocked.

You can do this by popping a SIM card from a different network into your phone, if it works your phone is already unlocked and you’re good to go.

If you find your phone does need unlocking you’ve got 2 options:

  1. Ask your phone provider
  2. Use an online unlocking service

1. Asking your phone provider

If your contract has ended you can ask your provider to unlock your phone.

Mobile networks have different ways of doing this, and you will normally have to wait between 3 to 21 days.

Most networks require your to call or email them with your request, but some do allow you to request this online, including:

You’ll usually then be given a unique unlock code with instructions on how to enter it into your phone to unlock your device.

2. Using an unlocking service

This can be quicker than contacting your existing network but also much more expensive.

While phone networks have to unlock your phone free of charge if you are out of contract, these services may ask you to pay a fee.

Some Irish unlocking services you could try include:

The exact cost of getting your phone unlocked using these services will vary depending on your handset, so always check you know the full cost before you proceed.

What next?

Now your handset is unlocked you’re free to shop around for the best SIM only deal, below are some of the leading offers:

NetworkPlan OverviewPrice
Lycamobile
Ireland Plus
30 days Contract
Unlimited Minutes
Unlimited Texts
25GB Data
€15 per month
+ 3G
+ EU Roaming

This bundle includes an EU/EEA Countries data roaming allowance of 6GB

+ 3G only

Choose Plan

Click on the 'Choose Plan' button. You will be directed to your deal on the network site. Follow the steps to sign up for your new plan.

eir mobile
eir mobile connect 30 Day
30 days Contract
Unlimited Minutes
Unlimited Texts
Unlimited Data
Save €90
€14.99 per month
for 6 months, €29.99 thereafter.
+ 4G
+ Save €90

+ EU Roaming

30GB of your data to use in the EU

+ eir Wi-Fi calling

Plan is Wi-Fi calling enabled

Choose Plan

Click on the 'Choose Plan' button. You will be directed to your deal on the network site. Follow the steps to sign up for your new plan.

Virgin Mobile
Unlimited
30 days Contract
Unlimited Minutes
Unlimited Texts
Unlimited Data
Save €25
FREE per month
for 1 months, €25 thereafter.
+ 4G
+ Save €25

+ EU Roaming

9.1GB of your data to use in the EU

+ Uses Three's Network

Choose Plan

Click on the 'Choose Plan' button. You will be directed to your deal on the network site. Follow the steps to sign up for your new plan.

Tesco Mobile
Unlimited 30 Day 20GB
30 days Contract
Unlimited Minutes
Unlimited Texts
20GB Data
300 International Minutes
€25 per month
+ 4G
+ 300 International Minutes

Available to mobiles & landlines in the following countries: Poland, UK, Lithuania, Romania, USA, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, China And India.

+ Double Clubcard points

Tesco Mobile gives you double Clubcard points when your pay your phone bill.

+ EU Roaming

EU Roaming is included. Use your minutes and texts while roaming plus 9GB of roaming data

+ Uses Three's Network

Choose Plan

Click on the 'Choose Plan' button. You will be directed to your deal on the network site. Follow the steps to sign up for your new plan.

Three
Unlimited Flex Max SIM Only
30 days Contract
Unlimited Minutes
Unlimited Texts
Unlimited Data
€30 per month
+ 4G
+ All You Can Eat data*

* Direct debit required. Fair usage policy of 10,000 flexi-units per billing cycle for calls and texts. All you can eat data for use in ROI only. Registration required for 3plus.

+ Unlimited Flexi Units

Flexi Unit = 1 minute call or 2 text messages

+ EU Roaming Data

11GB of EU roaming data

Choose Plan

Click on the 'Choose Plan' button. You will be directed to your deal on the network site. Follow the steps to sign up for your new plan.

Get a SIM only deal with the calls, texts and data you need for less.

It only takes a few minutes to find a cheaper deal and start saving.

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