If you’re looking to switch networks you’re going to need to unlock your handset. With the advent of digital technology you can now get your mobile phone unlocked remotely. This is great news for both unlocking businesses and customers. Here are our round-up of the 5 best mobile phone unlocking services online that are available in the UK.
How to choose the best phone unlocking online service.
When choosing the best mobile phone unlocking service online you will need to consider the following criteria.
- Firstly: it’s a good idea to check the customer reviews. These could be on any number of websites. Usually, the site with the most reviews places top when you make a search query with Google. Get the name of the website or business, add the word ‘reviews’ and hit enter. If the customer reviews are good, look honest and are up to date moving to the next step.
- Secondly: have a look to see if there is a contact page with an UK business address, phone number, email or contact form. Genuine businesses usually at least provide a business address, phone number and email address. If there’s no contact page or way of getting in touch, chances are they are a scam or at the very least there is zero customer service.
- Thirdly: Are they providing enough information such as unlock times, cost and what you are getting for your money. A lot of scam unlock websites will either send you a load of rubbish in email, charge you a reasonable fee up front but then ask for double again to complete the unlock or just take your money altogether and deliver nothing.
How to unlock your mobile phone using an online service.
If you have recently purchased a mobile phone that’s locked to a network you don’t want to use you’re going to want to get it unlocked. For this to happen there are some basic steps involved that can be split into the 2 categories or unlock codes and IMEI whitelisting.
Useful reading: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SIM_lock
For the every handset such as Sony, Samsung, HTC or Huawei except the iPhone and Google Pixel devices you will need an unlock code. When unlocking the iPhone and Google Pixel handsets you will need an IMEI whitelisting service as they do not accept network unlock codes.
For all handsets you will need to get your 15 digit IMEI number. You can get this by dialling *#06# on your handset. It’s important to make sure the number is EXACTLY as shown on your mobile phone or your unlock will fail. You will need to provide this number to the online phone unlocking company or they cannot unlock you. Consequently, any website that doesn’t ask for your IMEI number is likely to be a scam.
Once the online phone unlocking company has this number they can proceed to the next stage by adding it to the database. However, it’s important to note that isn’t always the case. Most handsets take from 1-5 days for the unlock code to arrive with some arriving in minutes. Problems can arise though, so don’t get despondent if your unlock code doesn’t arrive as expected.
Once your network unlock code arrives you will need instructions on how to enter it. This can be different for most handset manufacturers, however it should be the same for different phones made by the same company. For the iPhone you will need to connect to iTunes to finalise the unlocking procedure.
Our top picks of the 5 best phone unlocking online services.
When making our choices for these UK mobile phone unlocking online services we have taken a number of parameters into consideration. We have looked at customer reviews, prices, quality of website, information transparency, customer service and much more.
1. NetPal (that’s us!)
Clearly we’re going to choose ourself as the top of the tree. We’ve been going for a few years now and have successfully unlocked thousands of customers. Not only that, Netpal offers some of the cheapest, if not THE cheapest unlock codes and iPhone IMEI unlocking services in the UK.
For example, you could get a Vodafone Samsung unlock code for less than a tenner, or get your iPhone 4S unlocked from O2 for around £14. With prices so low you can see why we’re so popular. Additionally, Netpal have hundreds of genuine reviews from happy customers.
- Reviews: www.reviews.co.uk/company-reviews/store/netpal
- Business premises: Available (Postal only)
- Discount code: PUO202010OFF
- Website: www.netpal.co.uk
- Pros: Quality website, lots of information, PayPal money back guarantee, good prices, good reviews, UK based
- Cons: Don’t answer the phone enough (we’re working on it!)
2. Unlocking Smart
This company seems to have become fairly popular quite quickly. They can’t have been around for long as they don’t have many reviews. They do however have a social media presence on facebook and twitter so there’s some level of transparency.
Looking at the customer reviews it does seem that this is a genuine company. Sadly there aren’t enough reviews to be sure. An example of one of the reviews is as follows:
Awesome! Code delivered to email in less than five minutes. From now on I will use and recommend this service highly. —Philip Thorne
It’s worth noting that Unlocking Smart offer competitive pricing that some may think is too good to be true. We don’t however know whether this is the old tactic of charging you a cheap price up front and then making pay more to complete the unlock procedure.
On face value we will give them the benefit of the doubt. Interestingly, they also seem to have physical business premises which would indicate you can drop in and have your phone unlocked offline too.
- Reviews: https://uk.trustpilot.com/review/www.unlocks.co.uk
- Business premises: www.yell.com/biz/unlocking-smart-london-8436614/
- Website: www.unlockingsmart.co.uk
- Pros: Seem genuine, have reviews, decent prices
- Cons: Fake daily order count, poor quality website, not enough information
3. Free Unlocks
For many people they just don’t to pay to get their phone unlocked online. There are thousands of searches in Google every day for free unlock codes. Consequently, it was only a matter of time that a company would start to offer free phone unlocking online.
Absolutely a regrettable transaction. I had to wait 9 days & they refused to cancel my order & refund me. Shame. —Danny Ralph
Free Unlocks have been around for a few years and still get plenty of customers willing to take their chance on getting their phone unlocked for free. Because of the nature of mobile network unlocking the free aspect of their service is limited to the lower costing unlock codes such as HTC or Alcatel.
Most notably, when we tried to unlock an iPhone online which is more expensive the system wouldn’t allow us. That might be just a technical error, but none-the-less the facility was not available. If you’re looking to try your luck on a free phone unlock this is the online company to try.
- Reviews: https://uk.trustpilot.com/review/freeunlocks.com
- Business premises: Online only
- Website: www.freeunlocks.com
- Pros: Seem genuine, have reviews, some unlocks free (if you complete surveys)
- Cons: Poor quality website, not enough information, surveys want you to sign-up, poor customer service, bad reviews
4. Simply Unlocked
Definitely a genuine online phone unlocking company, Simply Unlocked have been around for at least a couple of years. They have a strong reviews profile and a custom built website which indicates they are serious about unlocking. Although the website isn’t much to look at, it does however function very well so there should be no problems making the correct purchase.
It’s worth noting that the logo says ‘Guaranteed unlock or your money back’, however a quick read of their Terms & Conditions shows that not to be entirely true. Are they trying to scam anyone? We don’t think so, but you might get caught off guard in some scenarios.
- Reviews: www.reviews.co.uk/company-reviews/store/simply-unlocked
- Business premises: Available (Postal only)
- Website: www.simplyunlocked.co.uk
- Pros: Genuine company, good reviews, ok website, fair information, been around over 2 years
- Cons: Inflated pricing on some services
5. Mobile Unlocked
Probably the best mobile phone unlocking service we could find, Mobile Unlocked have tons of good reviews (and a fair few bad ones). They have been in the business of phone unlocking online for at least a couple of years and have a custom built website to ensure a smooth customer journey.
Sadly, although a genuine company there are quite a few negative reviews from customers who felt they had been short-changed. Additionally, some customers report they are very slow to respond to emails and have poor customer service. From what we can see though, the majority of customers are overall happy with the service.
- Reviews: www.trustpilot.com/review/www.mobileunlocked.com
- Business premises: Available (Postal only)
- Website: www.mobileunlocked.com
- Pros: Genuine company, ok reviews, decent website, fair information, been around over 2 years
- Cons: Inflated pricing on some services, some bad reviews, average customer service
Frequently asked questions.
In most countries it is perfectly legal to unlock your phone online. The method used by the company will be the exact same method used by the mobile networks. Check your country guidance if you’re not sure of the legality.
Whilst we can’t speak for everyone, we do assume that for the most part they do. If you used PayPal you can claim your money back. Alternatively, if you used a credit card you’re also covered. As we say, read the reviews, not just the one’s they want you too but search Google for more reviews before you make your purchase.
Usually it is much cheaper to unlock your phone online than it is too take it too a shop. Not only that, it’s also much less of a hassle. Watch out for scam companies that charge you a pre-unlock fee and than charge 5 times more to complete the unlock.