Note: please refer to an updated version of this guide in our How-to Guides section, here.
If you want to use your O2 contract or PAYG phone with a SIM from another network, ie a local SIM when on holiday, you will need to release the network lock.
If you have a monthly contract it is free to get your phone unlocked.
Any phone can be unlocked (with the exception of the iPhone immediately after launch - see website for details of when these can be unlocked).
All you need to do is submit this form https://www.o2.co.uk/apps/help/help?qid=1&q1=2&route=unlocking&case=Handset%20Unlocking%20Form taking care to enter the correct details. Pay attention in particular to the security question as this is the most common cause of failure.
PAYG phones need to have been on the network for at least 12 months (iPhone is the exception here again which is anytime subject to the above restriction for new models).
There is a £15 unlocking fee on PAYG and the phone needs to be registered on the O2 network, so, if you have just purchased a phone off eBay for example, insert a PAYG SIM and top up £20. Make a few calls to register the phone and ensure you have at least £15 credit remaining then fill out the form as above https://www.o2.co.uk/apps/help/help?qid=1&q1=2&route=unlocking&case=Handset%20Unlocking%20Form
Business users can also submit the form for a free unlock.
Once the form is submitted it can take upto 28 days to receive the unlock code but it is usually much quicker - Typically within 7 days.
You will receive the code with instructions on how to complete the process with your specific handset, but in general, you insert a non O2 SIM card and enter the code when prompted.
Note: Unlocking the phone does not relieve you of any contractual obligations. You still need to complete your minimum term as agreed.
I want to unlock my Iphone 5 at the end of my current contract, if I request the unlocking before the end of my 2 year, pay monthly contract I understand that I can use a new Sim but will have to pay the rest of the o2 contract - but my question is, will the o2 sim and contract calls, texts and data still work on the phone until the contract runs out ?
It gets complicated.
The phone was originally on pay monthly. It was transferred to pay as you go with O2 so has a different number to its original number. From my presepctive the phone has been paid off and then some so I do not see why I should pay another £15 for an unlock code; quite frankly. I did top up the payg with £10 though.
I have filled out the form again online but this time through my PC and it worked, but the reliability of the web-site is poor, to say the least, and it took me several goes. I have filled out the form about 10 times now and the website only let me send it once. Not good really!
The link you sent was the one I was using, but thanks for the support.
Fingers crossed for you @Anonymous
I've tried unlocking my new Sony Xperia Z3 but can't - apparently there is a now a policy in place that new phones cannot be unlocked in the first month. However, nobody at O2 seems aware of this - customer service wasted a week taling me through the procedure and re-entering the non-working code multiple times.
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