How to Activate an Unlocked Phone

by Jay Darrington

Unlocked phones work with any network compatible with their design. If you do not like your service provider's selection and have purchased an unlocked phone -- or if you are canceling your current cell phone service and have unlocked the phone for use on other networks -- you will need to activate your phone for service on the new network.

For CDMA phones


Determine the IMEI number of your cell phone. You may find this in the battery cover of your cell phone, or by dialing "* # 0 6 # " on the phone.


Turn the phone on. Contact the new provider on another phone and inform them that you want to use the phone with your account.


Provide the network with your account number or phone number, and the IMEI number of your phone. The phone should then be connected to the network.

For GSM phones.


Find the slot for your SIM card. Typically, this slot is located in the battery compartment, but some phones have separate slots.


Insert the SIM card into the phone and close the SIM card slot or battery cover.


Turn on the phone. The cell phone should immediately connect to and recognize the cell phone network.


  • check Contact the network you are signing up with to see what network type -- CDMA or GSM -- it uses.

Items you will need

About the Author

Jay Darrington has been a professional writer since 2006, specializing in technology. He has published on several online blogs, including iTech24, iPhoneland and Tech101. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in communication technology from California State University.

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