If you’re like most Americans, you probably bought your cellphone from your carrier to save money upfront at the cost of getting a locked phone. Eventually, for one reason or another, you’re going to be wondering, how the hell do I unlock this thing?
Fortunately, unlocking a Boost phone is both free and easy, although you will have to meet several requirements.
It’s always good to have the option to switch from one carrier to another, but the reasoning behind it might not seem that apparent straight away.
With new carriers cropping up all the time to take on the big two, the competition has never been fiercer. This means that every single carrier is trying to acquire more users by offering deals and discounts. At any point in time, one carrier may come up as a more convenient (cheaper) option. While smart shoppers may try to take advantage of this, they still have to fulfill their contracts first before the carrier would allow them to unlock their phone and switch networks.
The 12-Month Minimum
Boost, for instance, requires a user to have been in good standing for 12 months after purchasing their phone before they’re eligible for the unlocking service.
The countdown starts when you activate the account, which may or may not be on the same day as you bought your phone. The only way to disregard this unlocking requirement is if you are in the military and getting deployed overseas, or if you’re family to a service member. Of course, all the other requirements must also be met.
You Need to Be Authorized
You don’t need to be the owner of the Boost phone in question in order to unlock it. You don’t even have to be the original owner. You only have to be authorized. This means that you have to be able to provide the account number and the account owner’s name associated with the device in question. This is why it’s important that you ask for authorization before buying a phone off of somebody.
Needless to say, you can’t unlock a phone that’s been reported as lost/stolen or blacklisted. There are a number of reasons why your device may be flagged as ineligible for unlocking. You can read more about it here.
Unlocking a Boost Phone
Now that you know all the prerequisites, the actual unlocking procedure is fairly simple.
Boost Mobile Customer Care
All you need to do is call the Boost Mobile Customer Care (1-888-BOOST-4U). They should be able to provide you with all the necessary info that you may need for the unlocking procedure. Bear in mind that if you don’t check out the prerequisites, you might not know if you are eligible for the unlock.
Unfortunately, as is the case with most mobile carriers, Boost Mobile’s customer support may not be able to help you with your request, or it may simply take too long. Although it isn’t free, having a third party unlock your phone is easy, quick, and doesn’t drown you in formalities and complications. This service averages about $60, which means that you will have to pay up, but it’s certainly cheaper than having to buy a new phone.
Keep in mind, however, that you may want to look around and do your research before choosing a third-party phone unlocking service. Some of these “professionals” may end up blocking your phone entirely, even putting the phone on Boost’s blacklist.
The Downside of Boost Mobile
LTE’s universality means that if you have a newer phone, you won’t have to worry about selecting a new carrier. Unfortunately, things aren’t the same for 3G and 2G phones, as Boost Mobile uses CDMA frequencies for these two categories.
This essentially means that certain older phone models will be restricted to carriers that are compatible with CDMA. Worse yet, even LTE phones may experience gaps in service when using 3G and 2G, which is usually the case in weak reception areas.
Should You Switch?
That’s up to you. Put it another way, there’s no reason not to if you find a better deal or have another excuse. If you’re ineligible for a switch at the moment, either wait for the 12-month activation minimum to pass, or contact customer service.
Do you use Boost Mobile? Have you switched carriers and what for? Hit us up with thoughts, opinions, and ideas in the comments below!