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’ll 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

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.

Does your phone need unlocking?

Some suppliers offer handsets that are already unlocked so make sure you’ve checked this first.

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.

How to unlock your phone

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

  1. Ask your phone provider: to unlock your phone for free if your contract has ended. You may have to wait between 3 and 21 days from requesting this.
  2. Use an online unlocking service: which can be quicker than contacting your existing network but you’ll have to pay.

Most networks require you to call or email them with your request, but some let you submit your request online, including:

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

Using an unlocking service

Some Irish unlocking services you could try include:

The fee for getting your phone unlocked through these services will vary depending on your handset, so check the full cost before going ahead.

What next?

Now your handset is unlocked, you’re free to find 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 p/m
+ 3G
+ EU Roaming

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

+ Unlimited Lyca to Lyca Text

eir mobile
Connect 30 Day
30 days Contract
Unlimited Minutes
Unlimited Texts
Unlimited Data
€14.99 p/m
for 6 months, then €29.99 p/m
Save €90
+ 4G
+ Save €90

+ EU Roaming

30GB of your data to use in the EU

+ eir Wi-Fi calling

Plan is Wi-Fi calling enabled

Virgin Mobile
Unlimited Plan
30 days Contract
Unlimited Minutes
Unlimited Texts
Unlimited Data
FREE p/m
for 1 months, then €25 p/m
Save €25
+ 4G
+ Save €25

+ EU Roaming

9.1GB of your data to use in the EU

+ Uses Three's Network

Tesco Mobile
Unlimited 30 Day
30 days Contract
Unlimited Minutes
Unlimited Texts
20GB Data
€25 p/m
+ 4G
+ 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

Tesco Mobile
Unlimited 12 Month
12 months Contract
Unlimited Minutes
Unlimited Texts
20GB Data
€25 p/m
300 International Mins
+ 5G
+ 300 International Mins

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

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.