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Home » Unlocking a Mobile for a Child – Ultimate Guide from ParentShield

Unlocking a Mobile for a Child – Ultimate Guide from ParentShield

Unlocking a Mobile for a Child will be necessary If a phone is locked to a particular network. It will only work with a SIM card issues by that network. This means that if you want to hand your second-hand phone down to a child, and use a different network to the one that provided the phone – you can’t.

Luckily most mobile phones can be unlocked easily, and this guide will talk you through the simple process and allow you to unlock the mobile phone successfully and quickly. And hopefully, without cost. Is the phone locked? and how do you tell? The best way is to insert the ParentShield SIM. If it works, then it’s unlocked.

Some mobile phone providers will charge you for unlocking a mobile phone, this is dependent on how long you’ve had the phone and whether the phone is pay as you go (PAYG) or on a monthly contract. As it’s the old adult mobile network that has locked the phone, their help system may be able to provide order guidance, but here is what we know.

A true SIM for Kids will work in any unlocked phone so it’s worth going through the motion and we advise unlocking your mobile phone while you are using it yourself, on the network that it’s locked to. That way you are able to authenticate the phone easily through your own mobile contract before passing a phone on to a child.

Occasionally Networks will say they have unlicked the phone but it isn’t successful so starting the process early – and not 48 hours before a birthday – is highly recommended, especially if you want to use a proper, and appropriate kids SIM card like ParentShield

Unlocking a Mobile for a Child – Phone From EE

With a pay monthly phone from EE you can Unlock an EE Mobile for a Child 6 months after the contract was started. The charge for unlocking the mobile is £8.99

If your EE mobile phone was bought as a PAYG deal then it will cost £8.99 to unlock.


Or simply call 150 from your EE handset or 0800 956 6000 from any other mobile phone or landline.

It will take 7 – 10 days for your phone to unlock.

Tesco Mobile Unlocking

Most pay monthly phones from Tesco will be unlocked. Unlocking a Mobile for a Child will be possible after up to 12 months from starting your contract with Tesco.

With a PAYG phone it is free to unlock after 12 months. Prior to this time period it will cost £10.

Use the website above or call 4422 from your Tesco handset or 0345 301 4455 from any other phone.

It will take 7 – 20 days to unlock the mobile.

Unlocking a Mobile for a Child from Vodafone

There is no charge for unlocking a Vodafone mobile phone but you can only unlock the handset after you’ve had it for 30 days.

Visit the above site or just call 191 from your Vodafone handset or 03333 040 191 from any other phone or landline.

It will take up to 10 days to unlock your phone.

Three Unlocking

If bought after 2013 your three handset will already be unlocked so Unlocking for a Child won’t be necessary in this case.

visit : for more information if this is the case.

If bought prior to 2013 visit the above website or call 500 from a three handset or 0333 381 008 from any other mobile or landline, to unlock free of charge.

Virgin Mobile Unlocking

Generally Virgin Mobile phones will not be network locked.

If your phone does happen to be locked just call 789 from your virgin handset, or 0345 6000 789 from any other mobile or landline.

Their advisers will help you and guide you through the process.

Unlocking a Mobile for a Child from O2

With a O2 there is no charge or time limit for unlocking.

Visit your O2 account online to unlock your phone. Or call 202 from your O2 handset or 0344 809 0202 from any other mobile phone or landline.

It only takes 3 days to unlock.

Unlocking Other Networks to use a Child SIM

giffgaff: All mobile phones bought from giffgaff will be unlocked as standard.

Just cancel your sim contract in your online account with this mobile provider, and you will be good to go.

iD mobile:
The unlocking process for an iD mobile seems dependent upon the handset owned and other factors.

Call iD to enquire about unlocking your mobile on 7777 from an iD handset or 0333 003 777 from any other mobile or landline.

Sky Mobile: Their phones should already be unlocked.

BT Mobile: Only Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus are locked to the BT Mobile Network, all other mobiles are unlocked. It costs £8.99 to unlock after 6 months.

Talk Talk: Their phones should already be unlocked.

What’s an IMEI?

An IMEI is a 15 digit number that’s unique to your device. It’s used by Mobile Networks to identify the phone so the unlock can be applied to the correct device. Many unlock processes will need this important number at some point – especially if the phone is no longer running with a SIM card provided by the Network that is needing to unlock it.

Ways to find your IMEI

  • Dial *#06# on your phone
  • Look under the battery (if it’s removable)
  • Look in your SIM tray
  • In Settings, there may be an “About Phone” section. This will likely list the IMEI as well as other useful information.

Locked Phone Messages

Phones that are locked to one particular network will typically display a message when an unsupported network SIM is inserted. It’s important to be able to tell a Network SIM lock message from a SIM PIN lock message so here Here are a few that we see quite regularly. If your SIM has worked ( As in can make regular phone calls ) in that phone before, then it’s not a phone locking issue and will be related to a SIM PIN Lock.

“Invalid SIM”

This is one of the messages that iPhones may display when the phone is locked to a carrier that’s different to the SIM that’s inserted.

“SIM not Supported”

Again – Some iPhones will display this message if the phone is Network Locked.

“SIM Network Unlock PIN”

This appears to be most common on Samsung devices. This is where you would key in the unlock PIN that the network provider ( the one who sold the phone ) gives you to unlock the phone,

“Enter Network Lock Control Code ( or Key )”

Android devices are generally network unlocked with a “Network SIM PIN” that’s entered here.

“Network Locked”

This could be a locked Samsung or other android phone but if it’s not asking for a Network SIM PIN, then it’s also possible that the phone has been network blacklisted after being reported stolen.

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