HTC One SIM-unlock in the U.S. – here’s what you need to know

May 2, 2013
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While the HTC One can be purchased unlocked directly from HTC (Developer Edition also comes with an unlocked bootloader) but also from other third-party retailers, the subsidized handset models sold by carriers come locked.

However, that doesn’t mean the handset can’t be unlocked and used with different SIM cards if needed, even though you purchase it bundled with a two-year contract from one of the mobile operators that carry it.

Paid vs free Unlocks

While there are paid solutions for unlocking a handset that’s still under contract, there’s a way to have it unlocked free of charge, by getting in touch with your carrier.

The HTC One is available from tree U.S. mobile operators including AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint, with each carrier having sort-of a unique offer. AT&T is the exclusive carrier of the 64GB HTC One model, T-Mobile sells it contract-free for just $99 upfront followed by 24 installments each worth $20/month and Sprint will offer you its unlimited data plans whether you’re a new customer or an existing one. Both Sprint and AT&T could offer you $100 or more off the handset’s price in certain conditions: new customers get it with Sprint, while AT&T gives you at least $100 off via its new handset trade-in program.

The carriers may not want you to unlock your handset, but there are several instances in which you may need to do it, especially if you travel a lot to different markets but also if you want to sell the handset. Having the HTC One SIM-unlocked straight from the mobile operator is a better idea than scouting the web for unlocking services, especially considering that unlocking handsets is not exactly legal anymore, at least not when such unlocks are not performed directly with the carrier.

We’ll never encourage you to unlock any devices, and it’s up to you to take that decision, but if you want to do it, we’d definitely advise you to do it through your operator rather than any other untrusted service, even though that’s not a hassle-free procedure in some cases.

What about that CDMA model?

Before you ask about Sprint’s HTC One (a handset that runs on a CDMA network), we’ll already answer the question: yes, Sprint does come with GSM/EDGE and HSPA support, which means it would work on AT&T and T-Mobile networks but also in international GSM markets. The handset comes with quad-band GSM/EDGE capabilities (850/900/1800/1900MHz) and dual-band HSPA 14.4Mbps (1900/2100MHz) so it would offer 3G support on AT&T and T-Mobile, but not LTE.

Therefore, yes, the Sprint HTC One can be unlocked as well in order to use it with other GSM networks – in fact it needs to be unlocked, as it’s not unlocked out-of-the-box. What you won’t be able to do with an unlocked Sprint HTC One model is to use it with Verizon, that other big CDMA U.S. carrier, but one that doesn’t stock the HTC One.

As for LTE connectivity in international markets, you’d have to make sure the carrier you plan to use the HTC One with supports the same LTE band as the U.S. HTC One model you purchase, be it a Sprint, AT&T, or T-Mobile device.

So how about those pesky LTE bands?

In case you absolutely want to use LTE on an unlocked HTC One in the U.S., you should know that Sprint’s model only works on the 1900MHz LTE band (Band 25), while AT&T’s and T-Mobile’s models will work on the 700MHz (Band 17) and 1700MHz (Band 4).

That should also help you when it comes to traveling overseas, where other mobile operators will operate their own LTE bands, which means that an unlocked HTC One may or may not work on 4G and will have to be used on 3G for data with local SIMs (when Wi-Fi is not in reach).

Will carriers comply?

That said, you should know that each carrier has its own practices for unlocking a handset, HTC One included. HTC Source helps us with unlock policies for the three U.S. carriers that have the handset in stock:

  • AT&T: account has been active and is in good standing for at least sixty days; phone is paid off or service commitment has been fulfilled.
  • T-Mobile: phone has been paid off.
  • Sprint: account has been active and is in good standing for at least 90 days.

Depending on the carrier you chose to buy the HTC One from, you’ll have an easier, or harder time unlocking it, and in some of the cases mentioned above, you may have to shell additional dollars for the handset, to pay it in full before obtaining the unlock.

Performing the actual unlock

Once any of the criteria mentioned above is met, what you have to do is call your operator and ask for a SIM unlock. Make sure you have your IMEI number handy (information available in the About Phone Settings section), as it will be required for the unlock to be performed. Once the request has been made with customer support, you’ll have to wait 1 to 3 days for the unlocked code to be emailed to you.

At that point, turn off the handset, remove your microSIM and replace it with one from a different provider (make sure it’s also a microSIM card or else it won’t fit) and turn the device back on. Once the phone reboots, you’ll be prompted to enter the SIM unlock code you have received by email, after which the handset will be unlocked and usable on any GSM network in the world.

If you’re yet to buy the handset, make sure you check out our detailed HTC One coverage including a full review, a drop test against the iPhone 5 and a comparison to its most important rival, the Galaxy S4 (see the three videos included above for the short versions).

Do you plan to unlock your HTC One?

Comments

  • http://twitter.com/nicacapo Nicanor La Menza

    You guys know whether this Htc One Unlock bought through HTC Website will work in Spain/Europe or not?
    Thanks in advance.

    • Jack

      it does work worldwide just buy the unlocked one

      • Jkutd

        Do they ship International??

  • Andy

    So has there been any confirmation that someone has activated their unlocked HTC One on Sprint?

    • Spoken Word™

      An unlocked One won’t work on Sprint because it doesn’t have the CDMA radios from what I gather. An unlocked Sprint One will work on GSM carriers but only with 3G connectivity.

  • Guest

    would it unlocked HTC One work on T-Mobile 4G (or T-mobile future 4G LTE) ?

  • http://www.yepi2.info/ yepi2

    I still prefer HTC One more Iphone5. thank you

  • http://yepi-games.kizifriv1.com/ Yepi Friv

    very nice for video htc vs iphone.

  • http://www.frivk.com/ Friv 4 School

    I am enjoying reading your article. It grabbed my interest and I could read it over over again. I really like this content. Thank you.

  • http://www.jugarfriv.org/ friv

    I like While the HTC One. I use it

  • Tony

    You guys know whether this Htc One Unlock bought through HTC Website will work on Sprint or is it Just Att&T and TMobil?

  • tottyrice

    does anyone know it an att htc one version will work on tmobile?

  • Jason Masters

    I got my unlock code but have no idea how to enter it all it says is SIM lock enabled with no field this is confusing!!!

    • samudralavasu

      Hello Jason, Good Morning.
      Was your issue resolved. I also got my unlock code but no clue how to enter the same and infact it is not asking for one when placed another sim. Could you please help me and reply to my email – samudralavasu@yahoo.com.
      Thanks for you time and appreciate your help.

  • André Brami

    How do I unlock my Sprint HTC One? I called their customer service and they told me they couldn’t do it.

    • Jason Masters

      No one has any clue all these supposed android experts dont know jack shit all they know is rooting and bootloaders and they cant tell the difference between a freaking bootloader unlock or a simlock unlock absolute morons.

  • unlockmytalk

    We unlock HTC One for Tmobile and AT&t for $10 at unlockmytalk.com

  • cian

    Can you unlock a Vodaphone from Ireland please?

  • Jesse

    I unlocked my at&t htc one recently now using t mobile flawlessly, how ever i got the code from this provider. http://smartphoneunlockers.com/products/unlock-htc-one/

  • apryl

    so can you use a tmobile unlocked device on sprint?

    • apryl

      *unlocked htc one

  • raj

    hey,
    i am planning to buy a htc one dual sim from verizon
    the dual sim phone is cdma + gsm
    so the verizon carrier would be using the cdma
    my question is can i use my local gsm sim in it while the phone is locked to verizon
    p.s : im planning to buyit from us n use it in india ( cheaper,you know ? ;) )

    • serna602

      Verizon doesn’t have the HTC one …..

  • soup

    how do you get the sprint htc one unlocked

  • Basir shah

    I got the unlock code for my HTC ONE Mini from safeunlockcode .com , i am now using this cell in vacations.

  • Ann
  • Aalok Naik

    I unlocked the HTC one Verizon officially but now I put in T mobile sim card and the 4G LTE or 3G wont connect, its just EDGE. Thats so frustrating. Does anyone know what to do.

  • pinha

    Shit I buy code from smartphoneunlockers and is bull shit them just have my money and I dont recive my code
    I

  • Moo Kim

    i did some research and used a site gsmunlockhub.com to get the code for my at&t htc one, now i am using t-mobile flawlessly.