If your phone has been blacklisted by a carrier, you have to unblock the phone to be able to use it with the blacklisting carrier. It means that it has been reported as lost or stolen, or there is an unpaid balance on the device. In most cases, the phone will not be able to connect to any cellular network, even if you insert a new SIM card. Blacklisting is done by blocking the IMEI of the specific phone from one carrier or more.
Blacklisting might be from one carrier or multiple carriers, depending on the arrangement on ground in your country or region. If the phone was reported as lost or stolen and has been blocked by multiple carriers, it may be permanently blacklisted and unable to connect to any cellular network in your country. In this case, you may need to purchase a new phone.
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How to unblock my phone: What to do to remove a blacklist on your phone
If your phone is blacklisted on only one carrier, then you will be able to unblock it. Only the owner who reported the phone lost or stolen can request to remove an IMEI block, so make sure the phone was purchased and/or registered in your name. Proof of ownership may be required for the block listing to be removed. Here are the steps you can take to remove the IMEI block on a blacklisted phone.
Contact your carrier
If your phone has been blacklisted, the most important step you need to take is to contact your carrier to find out why it was blacklisted and what steps you can take to resolve the issue. If the phone was reported as lost or stolen, you may need to provide proof of ownership, such as a receipt or proof of purchase, to have the phone removed from the blacklist.
If you haven’t made an insurance claim on the device, your carrier will unblock it immediately once you satisfy their identity verification. Be sure to ask that they remove any bars that might be protecting your account. This can include a data bar.
If you made an insurance claim on the phone you want to unblock and you have been given a replacement device, then the block on the device cannot be removed unless you return the replacement device. One of the principles governing insurance is that you must not be able to profit from it. Getting a replacement device and then removing the blacklist on the stolen or lost phone is profiting. If you choose to return the replacement phone, your blacklisted phone will be unblocked. Talk to your carrier or insurance company for details.
Pay any outstanding balances
If the phone was blacklisted due to an unpaid balance, you will need to pay off the balance to have the phone removed from the blacklist. Once paid off, the blacklisted device will be unblocked and you can use it again.
What of third-party unblocking services?
There are some third-party unlocking services that claim to be able to unlock blacklisted phones. However, these services are not always reliable and may not work for all phones or carriers. Be cautious when using these services and do your research before paying for any service. Also, be mindful of the laws in your country or state: unblocking a phone this way might be illegal.
How long will it take to unblock my phone?
Under normal circumstances, once you have satisfied the conditions, a blacklisted cell phone can be unblocked and ready to be used again within 24 hours. This time frame might differ depending on your location and carrier, though.
Once the IMEI block on a device has been removed, all you have to do is put your old/replacement SIM card in the phone and it will connect to your carrier’s network for calls, SMS, and data once again.