If you’re looking to shift from Verizon Wireless to another network, unlocking your phone is the perfect solution. But what does it take to unlock a Verizon phone?
Verizon provides a simple unlocking process that makes it easier to carry your phone to an alternative network. In addition, if you’re patient enough, the phone may open automatically after a short time of waiting.
Before then, you have to unlock the phone yourself. This article discusses how to unlock a Verizon phone and the necessary procedures and policies.
How to Unlock a Verizon Phone Yourself
If you intend to unlock a Verizon phone before the end of two months, you can do it yourself in simple, straightforward procedures. Those who bought their phones before July 2019 do not need to unlock them since the devices came unlocked. Do You Need to Unlock a Verizon Phone?!
That’s a question you must ask yourself before attempting to unlock a Verizon phone. You want to move to another carrier or go abroad with your phone. But, first, you must understand that your Verizon phone might already be unlocked.
Verizon keeps its phones locked for 60 days, unlocking them automatically. The 60 days start soon after buying the phone. If you’re on a prepaid phone, the 60 days begin soon after activation.
In that case, you cannot accelerate the 60 days through any action. Also, you cannot escape the limitation since Verizon uses it to eliminate fraud. However, if you’re going on active military duty, you can get your phone deactivated soon.
Here are ways to unlock a Verizon phone
- Insertion of an Alternative SIM Card: Once you’ve identified a new network carrier, all you need to do is to insert the new SIM card. That action unlocks the phone automatically.
- Customer Support: If automatic unlocking doesn’t work, call Verizon customer support at 1-800-922-0204. Customer support should unlock the phone for you. You might have to follow their instructions.
- Automatic Unlocking: After staying with your Verizon phone for more than 60 days, the network carrier automatically unlocks it.
- Military Unlock: If you’re a military member, you can unlock your phone any time before the 60-day waiting period expires. All you have to do is present documents showing proof of deployment. Then, you’re free to use your phone on a new carrier in a foreign country.
If you bought your phone after 2017, but before July 2019, it should be unlocked and able to work on any network. However, before switching, you need to check if your phone is compatible with the new network. Otherwise, you might be disappointed.
Every carrier has a procedure for checking for the compatibility of a phone on the network. Be sure to check the carrier’s website for details.
How to Unlock a Verizon Phone – Older Devices
If your Verizon phone isn’t activated, it’s likely on a prepaid plan or a non-iPhone 3G device. In that case, you have to unlock your phone yourself. Here’s how to unlock a Verizon phone:
- Step 1: Insert the new SIM card into your phone and turn it on.
- Step 2: Wait for a prompt and enter either 000000 or 123456.
- Step 3: Any of the codes should get your phone unlocked. If none of them works, dial *611 for manual activation from Verizon customer support.
Once you have unlocked your phone, you’re free to use it on any network.
Why Do You Need to Unlocking a Verizon Phone
Like everyone else, you may want to unlock a Verizon phone to take advantage of a cheaper and better deal on another network. Alternative Verizon networks include MetroPCS, T-Mobile, Cricket Wireless, and AT&T.
Perhaps you want a carrier with nationwide coverage. Or, you’re traveling outside the country and intend to use your phone in another country. An unlocked phone can open doors that would otherwise have remained closed.
Here is a detailed explanation of why you would want to unlock a Verizon phone:
1. Moving to Another Network
The main reason why people unlock Verizon phones is to shift to another network carrier. With a locked phone, you can’t change to another carrier and enrol on their phone plans. If you try, the SIM card from the other network won’t work.
You might also have recently bought a new device on another network. In that case, you can unlock the old Verizon phone and offer it to someone else. That also applies when you plan to sell your phone. However, you’re under no obligation to unlock the phone.
2. Plans to Travel Abroad
With an unlocked Verizon phone, you can easily travel abroad. You can keep using your phone instead of purchasing a cheaper device. Once you have unlocked the phone, you can slot in a SIM card from a carrier in the country you’re visiting. A global travel SIM card would also work just fine.
If you can’t unlock your Verizon phone, purchase an affordable device in your host country. Alternatively, you can take advantage of a Verizon international plan.
Verizon Phone Unlocking Policy
Verizon updated its phone unlocking policy on July 19, 2019. For the first time, it required newly enrolled customers to subscribe to the company’s services for 60 days. After the 60-day mandatory period, Verizon unlocked the phone automatically.
The 60-day lock-in period applies to all phones purchased from Verizon and partner retailers. The 60 days kick in soon after service activation.
However, your phone might not be unlocked if you fail to meet certain conditions, including the following:
- Premature Service Cancellation: If you cancel your Verizon service prematurely, your phone will remain locked beyond the 60-day lock-in period.
- Moving to Another Carrier: Similarly, moving to another network carrier before 60 days would mean having to contend with a locked Verizon phone.
- Failure to Fully Pay off Verizon Services: Verizon requires its new customers to settle their service bills before the expiry of the 60 days. Failure to do that would mean having a locked phone.
- Suspicion of Fraud: If Verizon believes you’re involved in graft, it will keep your phone locked.
- Stolen or Lost Phone: If you report your phone as stolen or lost, Verizon will keep it locked.
Exceptions to the 60-Day Verizon Lock-In Policy
Verizon has exceptions to its 60-day lock-in policy for customers in various categories. If you belong to any of these groups, you can have your phone unlocked before the end of 60 days. Here are the exempted groups of people:
1. Deployed Military
Verizon customers deployed on military duty outside the network’s coverage area for at least 90 days can apply for exemption from the 60-day rule. Applicants need to visit a Verizon store or make an online application via the Verizon website.
Applicants must attach evidence of the deployment orders to get the exception. You can only get exempted if your phone is fully paid off. Verizon would have no option but to cancel your contract and unlock your phone.
Alternatively, you may want to suspend your contract instead of canceling it. Through the Service Members Civil Relief Act (SCRA), Verizon can suspend service for three years and 90 days. This is part of the company’s Military Deployment Suspension Program.
2. Subscribers to Phone-In-a-Box Prepaid Offers
Verizon’s phone-in-a-box offers come with different lock-in periods. On these offers, Verizon has special offers, including discounted prices of phones. If you’re on any of these plans, check the box carefully to determine your device’s lock-in period.
3. Owners of 3G Word Devices or Older Phones
To know how to unlock a Verizon phone, you should pay attention to the older phones. These are devices purchased before July 19, 2019, the effective date for the new policies. Any phone bought before then operates on a different lock-in policy. Its lock-in period is most likely contract-based.
Verizon Compatible Networks for Unlocked Phones
Mainstream network carriers and mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) operate on two infrastructure types. They can be either Global System for Mobile Communication (GSM) or Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA).
Even though there are plans to replace the two network types, owners of 4G or older phones have no choice but to use one or the other. Due to its operation on the CDMA network, Verizon phones can only work on CDMA networks.
CDMA networks in the U.S. include Sprint, U.S. Cellular, T-Mobile, Cricket, AT&T and so on. Someone with a 4G device can only migrate to any of these networks. However, a 5G phone can work on CDMA and GSM networks.
Here is how to know if you have a CDMA or GSM phone:
- Step 1: Open the About Phone page for Android or the About page for iOS.
- Step 2: You should be able to see either an International Mobile Equipment Identifier (IMEI), Electronic Serial Number (ESN), or Mobile Equipment Identifier (MEID). For GSM phones, you would see an IMEI. However, you’ll notice either an ESN or MEID for a CDMA phone. So if your phone has IMEI, ESN, and MEID, it’s compatible with CDMA and GSM.
How an Unlocked Phone works
How long have you been using a Verizon phone? Perhaps it has been long enough to have replaced your phone on the same network. So, you might have no idea whether or not your phone is unlocked.
Locked phones can only work on one network carrier. Therefore, you can only operate on the Verizon network with a locked Verizon phone. For a locked Verizon phone, the SIM card comes pre-installed on the phone. Therefore, you can only use Verizon services.
If you want a locked phone to work on a different network, you must use the roaming option. However, an unlocked phone allows you to use another carrier’s SIM card. You can also use phone services in another country.
The Bottom Line
Now that you know how to unlock a Verizon phone, why don’t you go ahead and do it. You can use an unlocked phone on any CDMA for 4G and below or CDMA and GSM for 5G devices. Alternatively, you can use the phone on a foreign on your travel outside the country.
Verizon unlocks its phones automatically after a 60-day lock-in period. However, that’s on condition that you are fully paid up, your phone isn’t reported lost, or Verizon suspects you to have been involved in fraud.
Military members on the deployment of 90 days or more are exempted from the 60-day lock-in period. They can, therefore, unlock their phones much earlier.
Frequently Asked Questions
After buying a Verizon phone, you must wait until after 60 days to have it unlocked automatically. But that only applies to phones bought after July 19, 2019. So if your phone is older, the unlock period could be longer.
It can be challenging to unlock a Verizon phone before the expiry of the 60-day lock-in period. Also, Verizon can block a phone from being unlocked if the owner hasn’t fully paid for it, the device is involved in fraud, or is reported stolen or lost.
Yes. You can unlock a Verizon phone and use it on other compatible networks. For example, there are several compatible CDMA networks in the U.S. on which you can use your phone. Alternatively, you can use the phone on a foreign network.
By inserting a SIM card from another network, you can know if you have an unlocked Verizon phone. If you have a cellphone signal, then the phone is unlocked. Otherwise, it is locked and requires unlocking before you can use it on another network. If the phone is locked, it displays SIM Not Supported.
Older Verizon phones before July 19, 2019, had a SIM unlock code, which is discontinued. Today, there is no need for the code. Instead, all it takes to unlock a Verizon phone is being patient for 60 days after the phone’s activation.