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If it's a contract phone you will need to have paid up the contract so that you actually own the phone, then you can contact the carrier (in this case Tesco's) and ask them to unlock the phone. If it's a contract phone and you do this before you have paid for it the carrier can brick the phone.
If the carrier doesn't support an IEMI release code there are thousands of companies on the internet who will charge you to do this for you and supply an unlock code.
Beware! Some websites claiming to unlock your phone your phone for free embed malware into the software that they have you download to generate the code.
First question is the age of the phone or more specifically, how long has the phone been used on your contract? If this is an old phone you purchased under a provider plan, call the provider help line. AT&T gave me the unlock code to one phone I no longer used, and the unlock code to another phone that was eligible for an upgrade. If this is a new phone, providers are unlikely to issue the unlock code. The alternate solution is to search the Web for "unlocking phones". But, be careful. Most of the sites will charge a fee and some are just scams to get your credit card information.
The contract that was set between you and 3 was for the usage of the telephone company's services, the handset was given to you, to use for the duration of the contract, which is locked to 3.
If you have completed your contract, it only means the contract with 3 for the services is finished and that the phone still is locked to 3.
Check the 3 website, it says "If you want to unlock your handset, a fee may apply. The amount of the fee will depend upon whether you are a Pre-Paid or Post-Paid customer and what plan you are currently on".
So legally, 3 can charge you if you want to unlock your phone, even if it is out of contract, since you have agreed to the contract and T&A set out within.
It's up to you to either pay 3's agreed unlocking price for the handset or go to another mobile phone repair shop and try to get a cheaper price.
Unfortunately 3 seems to be the only service provider that is a bit extreme and unfair with their post paid handsets. I know that from previous experience, other service providers gladly unlock their handsets for free after the contract is finished or even during the course of the contract (usually free after 6 months through the contract).
Hope I have been of any help/assistance to you,
Many cellular providers around the world lock their phones
so that they cannot be used on the networks of other providers.
Unlocking codes remove the lock and make the phones usable on any other
network that utilizes the same type of technology.
Phones that are locked to specific carriers use devices called
Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) cards that are provided by the
carrier at the date of activation. Only phones on a Global System for
Mobile communications (GSM) network use SIM cards. GSM is a standard
that was started by the European Conference of Postal and
Telecommunications Administrations in 1982, adopted by over a dozen
European countries in 1987, and then finalized in 1989. GSM is now the
most used typed of cellular network in the world.
A locking code prevents a phone from working unless it is using a SIM
card from a specific company. The lock forces customers to purchase
only phones and SIM cards from their cellular carrier or from specific
manufacturers. Phone locking codes can also work as a security measure
by preventing thieves from using a stolen phone if they are trying to
use a SIM card from a different cellular carrier.
There are no laws covering locking codes for mobile phones
in the United States, Spain, and the UK, so each GSM company in those
countries has vastly different policies regarding them. Both Singapore
and Belgium have outlawed phone locking codes and France has laws in
place that compel cellular carriers to provide the unlocking code to
their customers once they have only six months remaining in their
You can acquire an unlocking code for your GSM phone in several
different ways. The most common method available is to contact your
cellular provider's local office and ask for a code that you enter
directly into the phone's settings menu. You can also call your
cellular provider's customer service
office and have them send an over-the-air update that automatically
unlocks the phone. A few companies also offer services that allow you
to mail in a phone so that their technicians can enter the unlocking
code and then mail it back to you.
Cellular providers in the United States are not required to give you an
unlocking code, so many only offer them under specific circumstances,
such as if you move out of their coverage area or your service contract
ends. You can also obtain unlocking codes for certain types of phones
from other sources such as websites or third party phone companies.
These codes are not generic to a single model line. The Cell carrier sets the codes and provides them only if you've completed contract or if you tell them you work overseas and that your company has provided a SIM card for your trip (I did it and have two moto slrvr's that I wanted unlocked - they are now using the above reasoning). They should let you unlock it anyway.... you're paying for it.