Legal Policies

U.S. Cellular® Device Unlocking Policy

U.S. Cellular® as a participating carrier in the CTIA's "Consumer Code for Wireless Service" has voluntarily agreed to unlock handsets and tablets (hereinafter referred to as "devices") certain circumstances described below beginning on May 11, 2014. "Unlocking" devices describes the disabling of any software on a device that would prevent a device from being used on any compatible network. Some current devices are not eligible to be unlocked because of the age of the device or because there is not technology readily available to permit the device to be used on any other compatible network. Devices capable of being unlocked are listed below. It is important for consumers to know that an unlocked device is not an assurance that such device will;

  • operate on any other carrier's network due to technical differences between carriers networks (for example, U.S. Cellular operates a CDMA network while some carriers operate GSM networks which are incompatible)
  • or, if it does operate on another network, perform all of the functions that it performed on the U.S. Cellular network
  • be accepted by any carrier for use on their network even if the device is compatible with that network to some degree.

What devices are eligible for unlocking?

All 1X and 3G devices are capable of being unlocked. Here is the list of 4G devices that, as of February 11, 2015, are either capable of being unlocked or are already unlocked;

Samsung
Galaxy S® 3 Unlocked
Various Please visit a local U.S.Cellular location which can support you in unlocking the following models:
  • Galaxy Note® II
  • Galaxy Note® 3
  • Galaxy S® 4
  • Galaxy S® 5
  • Galaxy MEGA®
  • Galaxy S® 4 mini
  • Galaxy S® 5 mini
  • Galaxy TAB® 4
  • Galaxy TAB® S
New models launched after February 11, 2015 Unlocked
  • Galaxy Note® 5
  • Galaxy S® 6 edge+
  • Galaxy S® 6
  • Galaxy S® 6 edge
Motorola
All models Unlocked
Apple®
iPad® (All models) Unlocked
iPhone® 4G LTE models The following iPhone models are unlocked:
  • iPhone 5c
  • iPhone 5s
  • iPhone 6
  • iPhone 6 Plus
  • iPhone 6s
  • iPhone 6s Plus
iPhone® 4s Please visit a local U.S.Cellular location for further support
LG
Smartphones & Tablets Please visit a local U.S.Cellular location which can support you in unlocking the following models:
  • G3
  • G Pad™ 7
New models launched after February 11, 2015 Unlocked
  • G4
  • G Pad F8.0
  • G Flex 2
  • Logos™
Kyocera
Smartphone Please visit a local U.S.Cellular location which can support you in unlocking the following models:
  • Hydro XTRM
  • DuraForce

For devices capable of being unlocked are there any eligibility requirements that need to be satisfied before a device may be unlocked?

Yes. Postpaid customers seeking to unlock a device must satisfy all of these requirements;

  • Completed the contractual obligations for the account to which the device was assigned such as by expiration of the term of the service agreement or payment of any applicable early termination fee or payment of the device under any financing contract. Devices for which the customer paid the retail price without a contractual term commitment can be unlocked at any time.
  • Current customers must not have any past due balance and former customers must have no outstanding account balances or prior write offs.

Prepaid customers may have a pre-paid device unlocked any time after 12 months from the first activation of the device sought to be unlocked on the U.S. Cellular network

Non-Customers seeking to have a U.S. Cellular device unlocked may do so but U.S. Cellular reserves the right to refuse any unlocking request if U.S. Cellular has reason to believe that the request is fraudulent.

Military Personal may have the device assigned to their account unlocked upon presentment of deployment papers for locations outside of the U.S. Cellular operating areas such as overseas provided the account has no past due balance.

U.S. Cellular will not unlock any device that has been reported lost or stolen or for which U.S. Cellular has reason to believe is an attempt by the requestor to commit fraud. Requests to unlock devices assigned to current accounts must be made by the account owner or an authorized user.

What is the procedure for unlocking my device?

Eligible 1X and 3G devices that are not listed in the table above may be unlocked at a local U.S. Cellular location or by contacting U.S. Cellular Customer Care at 888-944-9400.

Eligible 4G LTE devices listed in the table above may only be unlocked at a local U.S. Cellular store. Your 4G LTE device may already be unlocked, so be sure to check the table above to determine if your device is unlocked before you visit a U.S. Cellular store.

How long will it take to have my eligible device unlocked?

Most devices can be unlocked on the spot but some 4G devices will need to be sent to an outside vendor to have the task performed. If the device needs to be sent to an outside vendor we will have the request processed as soon as is practical but you should plan on at least 3 or 4 days before the device can be unlocked and returned to the company owned store that processed your request.