[HOW TO] How to unlock a 'Network Locked' cellphone.


Nov 8, 2012
I recently had to go through this procedure to help out a friend emigrating from the United Kingdom to South Africa.
His cellphone was locked to T-Mobile UK, basically turning it into an oversized paperweight...

While there are many other guides on this matter on the internet, this one serves to prove that this can be accomplished in South Africa as well, without having to go to any scaly 'Cellphone/TV/Bicycle Repairs Done-while-you-wait' shop.

What the problem is exactly:

We are fortunate enough to have our network carriers keep the phones they sell to us 'Network Unlocked', allowing us to stick whichever SIM card we wish into the phone.
In Europe and America, it is common practice for network carriers to 'lock' their phones to their network, so that the phone can only be used with a SIM card from the said network.
They lure people into buying these phones, by giving subsidies on their contracts and also by pricing 'unlocked' phones much higher.

So if you decide to leave the country where you signed a 'network locked phone' contract or simply want to move over to another network, you will have to get the phone 'unlocked'.
The network operators can and will do this service for you (often only after much pleading or convincing), but will charge you a hefty service fee for their efforts (eg. T-Mobile charges 24 Pounds Sterling for the service and will only do it if your contract is still valid. After the contract expiry date, they will not help you).

To unlock a phone, all you need is a 8 or 16 digit 'Unlock KEY' which is specific for each phone AND each carrier.
This key is coded into the phone at the time of manufacturing by the company making the phone NOT the network carrier (ie. Samsung, Motorola, etc), and is kept on servers at the manufacturing company's headquarters. The keys are accessed from these servers by the network carriers and by other third parties who are allowed access.

What you will need:

Local SIM card (i.e. MTN, Vodacom, Cell-C, etc)
Internet Connection
PayPal account

Process to follow:

There are many sites and companies out there who advertise that they can supply these unlocking codes, but sometimes the codes supplied are incorrect. Nonetheless, every one of these sites have step-by-step instructions of how to ascertain the codes from them and how to correctly enter the code into your cellphone.
So i will not be giving a step-by-step guide here, but have linked to the site which i have used that sent me a working key code.

Link: unlockthatphone.com

They have competitive prices (not the cheapest ive found, but close to it) and were quick to respond.
The unlock key cost me US$16.99 and i received the key 48 hours after paying for it via PayPal.
From other user reviews on a few overseas forums, they seem to be the most reliable website/company to supply these codes.

I would advise to pay with PayPal (more secure than entering you credit card details on their site).
If you dont have a PayPal account, go make one first. Ive had my account for roughly 5 years or so and never once had any issues with PayPal.
Even if you dont have a 'credit card', you can make a PayPal account if you are at FNB and with some 'debit cards' (VISA and MASTERCARD certified 'debit cards').

In conclusion:

Dont be scammed by 'corner cellphone shops' into paying hundreds of rands for something you can do yourself.

Get a PayPal account, get your keycode and enjoy your network unlocked cellphone!


Executive Member
May 30, 2009
Sorry for thread necro but figured it's the same topic, so rather revive a topic than create a new one...

Does this method still work? Have a friend with an iPhone 8 plus that is carrier locked and doesn't work on our networks...