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The Easiest Way to Unlock Tesco Mobiles

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We can all agree that change and making choices are certainties of life, and sometimes the best choice you can make is to change your mobile provider. But what do you do when your phone is locked to your provider’s network? Maybe you have a Tesco Mobile phone, or you’re hoping to get one - but can it be unlocked? The short answer is yes: most Tesco phones can be unlocked. Follow our step by step guide below and we’ll teach you how it’s done.


Need your Tesco Mobile phone unlocked?

Unlock your Tesco Mobile phone

If you want to keep your mobile handset but switch to another provider you’ll most likely need to unlock your phone. Phone locking policies differ amongst UK mobile network providers. Mobile providers like EE and Vodafone sell handsets that are locked to their network.O2 locks all of its Pay As You Go handsets and some of its pay monthly handsets too. Three’s mobile handsets are sold completely unlocked.

It’s worth noting that some providers may charge a fee to unlock your phone if you are still within a minimum contract period. If your minimum contract period has passed, more often than not, your phone can be unlocked free of charge.

Let’s take a look at the steps you’ll need to take to unlock your phone if you’re with the Tesco Mobile network.

Switching providersUnlocking your phone will allow you to switch to another provider but make sure you notify Tesco Mobile that you are leaving first. If you’re a pay monthly customer you can cancel your contract by calling 4455 from your Tesco Mobile phone. If you’re curious as to whether or not you will be charged an exit fee text ‘INFO’ to 85075 free from your Tesco Mobile phone. Pay As You Go customers don’t need to do anything, just get your new SIM card elsewhere.

Your Tesco Mobile phone: How do you know if its locked?

If you didn’t purchase your phone from a mobile provider, chances are it’s not locked. If you did purchase or pay off your device with a network provider that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily locked. To find out if your phone is actually locked in the first place, you’ll need to complete the following steps:

  1. Put the SIM card of your new carrier inside your Tesco handset. If you don’t yet have a new SIM, you can check by using a friend’s non-Tesco Mobile sim card.
  2. If the SIM works your phone is not locked to Tesco Mobile’s network.
  3. If the SIM doesn’t work your phone is locked to Tesco Mobile’s network and you’ll need to follow the steps listed below.

The steps listed above can be followed to test whether or not a phone is locked, regardless of the provider you are with.

What is a PUK code?PUK stands for Personal Unblocking Key and is a passcode or pin number that allows you to unlock a mobile device. You’ll receive this number once you complete the unlocking process described below.

Tesco phones: Can they always be unlocked?

Tesco Mobile can unlock almost all the devices that are locked to its network. We would be remiss if we didn’t mention, however, that the following devices may not be eligible to be unlocked by Tesco Mobile:

  • Phones that are locked to other networks - it probably goes without saying but Tesco Mobile can’t unlock your phone for you if you are actually locked in with another network. If you’re looking to unlock a phone from another network, it’s worth checking out their unlocking process as it’s going to be different.
  • Phones that weren’t supplied by Tesco Mobile - did you bring your own handset to your contract with Tesco Mobile? If so, you’ll need to get your handset unlocked by your previous provider.
  • Phones that have just been launched - if you’ve got a shiny new phone that’s fresh to the market you may need to wait up to 12 months until it can be unlocked. If you’re getting the latest model of a phone and you’re hoping to avoid getting locked to a single network then we recommend buying your phone from the manufacturer directly rather than a mobile carrier.
  • Phones that have been barred - if a mobile phone is barred it’s usually because the phone has been reported as either lost or stolen. The device will no longer work on any network until a verified owner has requested the block be removed. If you’re looking to see if a phone is blocked you’ll need try a SIM from the device's original network, if it receives a signal then it is not blocked.

Phones reported lost or stolen cannot be unlockedIf you are unlucky enough to lose your phone or worse, have it stolen, you’re not alone. If you suffer this misfortune and report it, your phone cannot be unlocked. It least that means that a potential thief won’t have the luxury of unlocking your phone!

What if I am no longer with my provider?

You may have left your provider before you got the chance to unlock your phone. Don’t fret, Tesco Mobile is one of the providers that offer an unlocking service even after you’ve left them.

The online request to unlock discussed above will need to be made by the former account holder who purchased the handset. If the provider in question is not Tesco Mobile then it’s worth checking out the websites of other providers or chatting to their customer service teams as the process you’ll need to follow is likely to be different.

Tesco Mobiles: How can you unlock them?

Complete an unlock request online

Once you have confirmed that your Tesco Mobile phone is in fact locked to the provider network, you’ll need to take the measures listed below to get it unlocked.

If you have a pay monthly device from Tesco Mobile you’ll be glad to know that they will unlock your phone completely free of charge. So how do you get your phone unlocked?

  1. First, you’ll need to complete an online unlock request.
  2. To do this you’ll need to enter your IMEI number which can be found in your SIM tray, under your battery or you can get it by dialling *#06# on the device you wish to unlock.
  3. Once you’ve done this you will receive a text message from Tesco Mobile within 7 days with the code and the link you’ll need to unlock your device.
  4. Click on the link provided in the text message you have received and follow the prompts to unlock your device.

If you don’t know whether or not your device is a Pay As You Go, SIM only or pay monthly one, it doesn’t matter, Tesco Mobile will send you the right link that is relevant to your arrangement with them. Keep in mind though, that if you’re a SIM only customer you may not have a device that came from Tesco Mobile that you’ll need to unlock.

How long does it take to unlock a phone?It’s worth noting that the amount of time it takes for your device to be unlocked may vary. Some providers take 3 days to unlock an iphone for example, but longer to unlock older phones where they need to contact the manufacturer for an unlocking code - so it’s best not to expect the unlocking to happen overnight!

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