Are Vodafone phones unlocked?

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While network phone locking (also called SIM locking) used to be more common prior to 2013, you’ll find most mobile phones are now unlocked by default. But if you’re considering signing up to a phone plan through Vodafone (or if you’re already signed up to the telco), you might be wondering if Australia’s third largest mobile network offers unlocked devices.

If you purchased a phone through Vodafone Australia prior to 1 August 2013, then your phone is most likely locked to the Vodafone network. Phones purchased on certain Vodafone plans after 1 August 2013, especially postpaid plans, are most likely unlocked. However, if you’ve picked up a phone outright from Vodafone to use with a prepaid service, this phone will probably be locked to the Vodafone network.

What does it mean if my phone is locked?

A locked phone, or SIM lock is when a mobile device is only able to be used on the network that the phone was purchased from. Generally in Australia, phones purchased outright for prepaid phone plans are locked to their original phone network. This is usually done to ensure that the phone is being used on the network it was bought from, preventing customers from purchasing a cheap phone from one telco and then switching to another telco for the service.

How do I unlock my Vodafone phone?

If you need to unlock your Vodafone prepaid phone, the telco charges an unlocking fee, which varies depending on whether you’ve had the phone for less than six months. You’ll need to check the Vodafone website to see what the unlocking fee will be for your device.

Devices purchased on a plan can be unlocked free of charge, and Vodafone allows customers to do this themselves via its online unlocking tool. To unlock your phone, you’ll need to find your IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) device serial number, which you can see by dialling *#06# on your handset. The first 15 numbers that appear are your IMEI.

Simply enter your number and follow the prompts. Once your phone is officially unlocked, you’re free to switch SIM cards and shop around for SIM-only phone plans.

SIM-only Vodafone plans

The following table shows all published Vodafone SIM-only postpaid plans from Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of advertised standard cost, lowest to highest. Use our comparison tool to see a wider range of plans from other providers. These are products with links to referral partners.

Why do I need my phone to be unlocked?

If you’re travelling overseas, you’ll most likely need your phone to be unlocked. Global roaming is usually quite expensive, so most travellers find it easiest to purchase a SIM card from the country they’re visiting. This is usually the most affordable way to use your phone on your travels, but keep in mind that your temporary international SIM will use a different phone number.

Alternatively, if you have a current plan with Vodafone, you could be eligible for Vodafone’s international roaming. For $5 per day, this add-on lets you use your phone plan the same as you would in Australia (minus roaming charges) in any of 80 selected countries.

Unlocking also means you can switch mobile phone plans. If you own a phone on a plan, have finished paying off the handset, and have no need for an upgraded device, you might decide to shop around for a cheaper phone plan, rather than continuing with your current plan.

If you’d like a new SIM-only postpaid phone plan to pair with your unlocked phone, the following table shows a selection of postpaid plans from Canstar Blue’s database with a minimum of 10GB data, listed in order of advertised 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. These are products with links to referral partners.

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