EconomyFinancialI want to change my phone company: how do...

I want to change my phone company: how do I unlock my cell phone?

Whoever tried to use a chip from another company in their smartphone -for example, replacing the one from AT&T that was integrated into the equipment at the time of purchase with another from Telcel- was surely faced with the fact that the phone was blocked and did not work with the new chip. A similar situation occurs when a customer travels to another country and buys a chip from another local company to use while abroad. Although this is usually cheaper and more efficient than contracting a roaming plan, blocked devices do not allow it.

Equipment blocking is a practice carried out by telecommunications operators to maintain their market share; however, those that in Mexico were declared as ‘preponderant’ must no longer sell blocked equipment.

A Preponderant Economic Agent is the company or group of companies that have directly or indirectly, with a national participation greater than 50% in telecommunications services, this percentage can be measured by the number of users, subscribers, audience, by the traffic in their networks or by the capacity used by them.

The Plenary of the Federal Institute of Telecommunications (IFT) determined in March 2014 that América Móvil, owner of Telcel, was a Preponderant Economic Agent in the telecommunications sector and gradually, to reduce its market share, which then was around 66 %.

One of the measures imposed on Telcel forces the company to unlock the equipment of its users.

What is device unlocking?

Unlocking equipment consists of allowing a terminal equipment (cell phone or smartphone) to be connected to any network of mobile service providers.

What is the use of unlocking my phone?

As a user, unlocking your terminal equipment (cell phone or smartphone) will allow you to use it to receive telecommunications services from the operator of your choice, as long as the technical and operating characteristics are compatible.

What are the requirements to request the unlocking of a device?

Users have the right to unlock their cell phone at no cost, however the procedure varies depending on whether the scheme is prepaid or postpaid.

a) If you are a postpaid user and you acquired your equipment through a rate plan, it is necessary that the mandatory period of the same has ended or that you cover the cost of the equipment in its entirety.

b) if you are a prepaid user, and you acquired the equipment with Telcel, it must be unlocked; or if the equipment was already owned by you, you can request unlocking without further requirement. Telcel is the only company in the country that is obliged to sell unlocked equipment because it is the only one that has been declared preponderant. The rest of the companies, not being preponderant, can still sell blocked equipment.

Where can I apply for unlocking?

You can go to any customer service center with your cell phone or smartphone and request its unlocking in order to receive the services of the company of your choice.

Telcel : the company indicates on its customer service page that the owners of equipment sold after June 4, 2021, who have contracted a postpaid scheme, will be able to request unlocking once the adhesion contract ends. If the equipment was purchased under a prepaid scheme (or recharges) it must already be released.

AT&T: it is necessary to go to any customer service center of the company to request the unlocking of the phone. In order for the company to unlock and unlock the equipment, it must be free of any debt and if the phone is in a postpaid or financed contract, it must wait for the minimum term established in the contract to end or for the contract to expire. to pay for the AT&T device.

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