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Unlocking your phone means having the ability to switch to a different wireless service provider without having to buy a new phone. If your phone is locked to a wireless service provider’s network, it must first be unlocked before switching providers. In Canada, wireless service providers must unlock phones on their network for free.
New Phone Unlocking Laws
In 2017, the laws for unlocking phones changed. The Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) created a Wireless Code to better inform consumers of their rights in the wireless service industry and to make the industry more consumer-friendly.
Phone carriers used to charge consumers to unlock their phones, but now any phone a service provider sells must be provided unlocked.
If a phone is locked or becomes locked to a service provider’s network, if the owner requests that it be unlocked, the service provider must do so for free.
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How do You Unlock Your Phone?
To unlock your phone, you’ll need three things:
- Your phone’s IMEI number – This 15-digit number is a unique identifier assigned to your phone.
- A SIM card from another wireless service provider – You’ll need a SIM card from the wireless service provider whose network you want to join.
- Account information – You will need to provide your wireless account information, such as what device you have, to your wireless service provider.
A special note for iPhones: iPhone unlocking is completed by Apple, not a wireless service provider. Apple must process the unlocking request from your wireless service provider, which may cause delays. The provider can tell you the unlocking status while you wait.
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Unlocking Your Phone With Canada’s Largest Service Providers
Each of Canada’s biggest phone carriers has a different process for unlocking your phone.
Apple devices purchased from Bell after January 1, 2014, are already unlocked. Any other device, from a provider that is not Apple, purchased after November 30, 2017, is already unlocked.
To get an unlock code from Bell, which you can use once you enter a non-Bell SIM card into your device, either go to the MyBell unlock device page or contact the customer support line. You will need your IMEI number. You will receive a confirmation email with your unlock code.
You can call Bell’s technical support line at 1-800-667-0123.
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Bell MTS devices purchased after December 1, 2017, are already unlocked. Devices purchased before this date may still be locked.
To unlock a Bell MTS phone, log into your Bell MTS MyAccount and request a mobile device unlock code. For business customers, complete the Bell MTS Mobile Device Unlock Request form. Once you have your unlock code, insert a non-Bell MTS SIM card into your device and enter your unlock code when prompted.
For customer support, call 1-204-225-5687 (if you’re in Manitoba) or 1-800-883-2054 (if you’re outside Manitoba).
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Any chatr device sold after December 1, 2017, should either already be unlocked or have an unlock code sticker on the side of the box. If not, then you need to bring your IMEI to a chatr retailer to get your device’s unlock code.
Once you have your unlock code, you can unlock your phone yourself. Insert another carrier’s SIM card into your phone and you will be prompted to provide your unlock code.
For customer support, dial *611 from your chatr phone, Tweet @chatrmobile, or contact chatr on their Facebook page.
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You need to contact Fido with your IMEI number. For Apple devices, Fido will unlock your device remotely. For non-Apple devices, you need to insert another carrier’s SIM card and then enter your unlock code.
Fido’s customer service number is 1-888-481-FIDO (3436) if you need help.
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All Koodo devices sold after December 1, 2017, are already unlocked.
If your phone is not unlocked, you can unlock it yourself online. You need to log into your Koodo Self Serve account, then choose “Mobile services” from the Self Serve dropdown menu. Beside “Unlock your phone”, select “Unlock”. Enter the required information when prompted and submit it. You’ll get a confirmation email with your unlock code.
If you have questions, you can chat with a Koodo Digital rep online using Koodo Assist.
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You can unlock your Virgin Mobile phone either online using your Virgin Mobile My Account or by contacting the customer support number at 1-888-999-2321.
You need to contact Rogers with your IMEI number. For Apple devices, Rogers will unlock your device remotely. For non-Apple devices, you need to insert another carrier’s SIM card and then enter your unlock code.
Contact Rogers Technical Support at 1-888-ROGERS1 (764-3771) for assistance.
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To unlock a phone with TELUS, call 1-866-558-2273 for assistance. They don’t allow you to unlock a phone yourself.
Your phone must be locked to the TELUS network and not be flagged as lost or stolen.
All Videotron phones should have been unlocked since December 1, 2017, but if they weren’t:
- For an Android device, enter your phone’s IMEI number on the Videotron site.
- For iPhones, call the Videotron customer service team at 1-877-512-0911.
Can my cellular service provider refuse to unlock my phone?
Do I have to unlock my phone if I just bought it?
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In Canada, you have the right to have your phone unlocked for free so you can switch to other wireless service providers. Your account with your wireless service provider must be in good standing, and your device cannot be flagged as lost or stolen. Each provider has its own rules, but unlocking your phone is a relatively painless process.
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