For anyone signed up to Telstra (or considering signing up to Australia’s largest telco), one of the biggest questions you might have is whether your phone is, or will be, locked to the Telstra network. Phone locking (also known as SIM locking) means that your device is restricted to being used only with the carrier that you purchased it from. This prevents you from buying a phone through one telco, then switching to another telco for cheaper service.
How do I know if my Telstra phone is locked?
The good news is, if you’ve purchased a phone through a postpaid plan, your handset is most likely unlocked – unless it’s an older device. What this means is that if you’ve been on a Telstra postpaid plan in conjunction with a device (such as the latest iPhone or Samsung phone), then you’re free to switch SIM cards once your contract is up. This is especially useful if you plan on passing your phone on to your child after your contract is over and your device is paid off. If you think your postpaid device may be locked, you can get in touch with Telstra.
If you’ve purchased a phone outright from Telstra, to use in conjunction with a prepaid Telstra plan, the phone will be locked to the Telstra network. In order to unlock the device, you’ll be charged a fee. The total fee depends on whether the device has been activated, and how long the device has been active for — less than six months, or from six months to two years. If you’ve had the device for more than two years, Telstra waives this unlocking fee.
The following table shows all published Telstra postpaid plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of cost, from the lowest to highest. Use our comparison tool to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.
How do I unlock my Telstra phone?
Firstly, you’ll need to find your International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number. This number is globally unique to every mobile device, and identifies the network that the device is connected to.
The simplest way to find out what your number is, no matter which device you have, is to dial *#06# on your handset. The first 15 numbers that appear are your IMEI numbers. Once you have this information, you can give Telstra a call to start the unlocking process.
My phone is unlocked — what do I do now?
Now that your device is no longer locked to Telstra, you’re able to switch the SIM card to one from another carrier. If you’re travelling internationally, and plan on buying a SIM card from an overseas carrier to avoid expensive global roaming charges, simply put the new SIM card in your device. You’ll then be able to use your phone via the overseas telco’s network.
If you plan on giving your unlocked device to a friend or family member, or perhaps you’re happy with your phone and want a cheaper plan, you’re now free to shop around for plans from other telcos. Once you’ve signed up to a plan from another provider, they’ll give you a new SIM card to use with your unlocked device.
Here is a selection of postpaid plans from Canstar Blue’s database for $30 or less, listed in order of standard cost, lowest to highest, then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Use our comparison tool to see a wider range of plans from other providers. This table includes products with links to referral partners.