Mobile phone carriers are very sneaky and they always look after themselves. To protect their interests, they usually network lock all of the phones they sell. If you were wondering how to tell if your Galaxy S8, or any other Android phone for that matter, is unlocked, you’re in the right place.
Read on to find out about several methods you can use to test if your smartphone is unlocked. The benefit of having an unlocked phone is very simple. If a phone is unlocked, you can freely change networks and carriers, without any repercussions. You can’t, however, do that if your phone is locked.
The Difference Between Locked and Unlocked Phones
Samsung phones are often locked by their carriers. They are, in fact, factory-made for their carriers. This means that they’re custom made, they show the logo of their specific carrier, and can’t operate on other networks.
If you, for example, buy an AT&T Samsung Galaxy S8, it will have AT&T’s firmware, network configuration, logo, etc. Most likely, this phone won’t be able to work on other networks. That’s what a network lock does to a phone.
All carriers are different and have their own rules and regulations about network locking. We can’t tell you specific advice for every carrier, but we can give you some general advice to help you determine if your Galaxy S8 or any other Android phone or iPhone is locked or unlocked.
Prior to buying a phone, always ask the carrier if it’s going to be unlocked or not. If they’re network locking all their phones by default, consider getting your desired phone from a different carrier.
How to Tell If My Galaxy S8 Is Unlocked
To find out if your Galaxy S8 is unlocked or not isn’t as difficult as it sounds. And there’s more than one method you can use. First, you should try inserting a SIM card from a different carrier. This is super easy and cheap.
When you insert the SIM card correctly into your S8, if nothing happens, your phone is unlocked. However, if you receive one of the warning messages such as Emergency Calls Only, Network Locked, Enter Network Lock Control Key, or SIM Network Unlock PIN, then your phone really is locked.
You can try calling someone. If you can’t do that, then, once again, you know for sure that your phone is indeed locked.
There’s also a number you can dial to see if your phone is locked or not. It works on some Samsung phones, but not all of them. Just dial #7465625# and see what happens. You should see three items, Network Lock, Subset Lock, and SP Lock.
These items will have off or on values next to them, so you’ll know if your phone is locked or not. If you have an SP lock, you can unlock it with a code from your service provider. The subset lock can be unlocked with a code from the carrier you used in the first place.
The Reasons Why Your S8 Might Be Locked
There are many reasons why your phone might be locked. Usually, the network lock is lifted as soon as you pay up the full amount for your phone, according to your contract with the carrier. This is very logical, but people often sell their phones before they pay the full amount.
This is when you get a network locked phone without even knowing it. If you’re buying used phones, always make sure that they’ve been paid for in full. Stolen phones are also often network blocked. If you buy your S8 from a shady dealer, you might’ve just bought some “hot” merchandise.
The owner of the phone can report their phone stolen, and then the carrier locks their number. It’s better to get your S8 from a certified reseller or a carrier, instead of buying a used one.
You can always use the ESN, short of the electronic serial number, or the IMEI, short for international mobile equipment identity to check if the phone is locked or not. Google search these numbers, or even better, contact the original carrier.
If your carrier is AT&T, use the following link to test if your S8 is unlocked.
Locked and Loaded
Hopefully, your phone isn’t locked. Always get your Samsung phones from a certified carrier or reseller if you want to be safe. Naturally, if you’re still in debt to the carrier, they can lock your phone to make sure that you’ll pay the full amount.
Is your Samsung Galaxy S8 locked? Let us know in the comments section below, and feel free to add your questions or thoughts on the matter.