The Sony Xperia Z5 was one of the best-looking phones in 2015. With the Z5, Sony keeps what we love about Xperia phones, while introducing dozens of changes and improvements following the mess of the Xperia Z3+. Owning a new Xperia Z5 was pretty exciting back in 2015. Being locked to a carrier who charged you every month and gave poor customer support was not.
Last year, I grabbed a Sony Xperia Z5 phone and immediately regretted signing up with Verizon. Their service was pretty lousy and their customer support was even worse. Two months later, I contacted Verizon and asked them to unlock my phone. However, they asked me to pay the full price of the phone. That’s when I started looking for other options.
In this post, I will share with you the story of how I unlocked my Sony Xperia Verizon-locked smartphone. Before proceeding with my story, let’s briefly go over a couple of things you should understand about unlocking a carrier-locked phone.
First, what’s a locked phone?
Most carriers in the US are now selling phones that are locked to their networks. What they do is to make sure that you stick with their service for the duration of your contract. This means that you cannot use your phone on a competitor’s network.
If you ever go abroad, the carrier will charge crazy international roaming fees. Companies like AT&T, Verizon and Sprint are now charging a lot of money if you use their data when you are abroad. When your contract period ends, you get the freedom to escape all the problems the carrier is creating and choose to unlock your device.
So, why would I want to unlock my phone?
Unlocking a phone that is bound to a carrier has become much easier. Once unlocked, you can connect your phone to any carrier’s network. If you head overseas, you can remove your current Sim, get a local carrier’s SIM card and use their services instead of paying roaming fees.
Back to my story
During my stay in Korea, I paid a lot of money for mobile data. I emailed Verizon twice and asked for support, they took a day to respond to my email. These high rates and substandard service were not acceptable. That’s when I started researching how to unlock my phone.
I made a quick search and I found some unlock methods including root, carrier unlock and IMEI unlock. However, while rooting voids your warranty, carrier unlocking is time-consuming and expensive, IMEI unlock works perfectly for all phone models.
I lost my Sony Xperia Z3 to rooting in 2014. I handed my phone to a suspicious looking guy who promised to get my phone unlocked. However, what I got back was my lovely Z3 phone with warranty being completely avoided. I contacted him to get my money back, but he’d flown away.
So, why is IMEI unlock?
IMEI unlock is the only effective method for unlocking a phone. This is much simpler than downloading software or paying a suspicious looking guy to play with your phone.
Basically, IMEI unlock is the process by which you enter an Unlock code to your phone to break the restrictions imposed by the carrier. This enables you to switch between carriers and use their services. As the name suggests, IMEI unlock requires your IMEI number for creating the Unlock code.
This is the only unlock method you should use because it’s safe and permanent. There’s no software to download and no-one roots your device.
So, what’s an IMEI number and how can you find it?
IMEI stands for International Mobile Station Equipment Identity. It’s a unique code used to identify your phone on any network. Every mobile device has an IMEI number to differentiate it from the rest of the pack. The IMEI number is stored on your carrier’s database, and it allows them to check if your phone is locked to a particular network.
You can easily find the IMEI number of your phone by entering *#06# on the keypad. This works for both older devices and newer ones. Besides, you can head to Settings > About phone to get the IMEI code.
Find a reputable online unlock service
There are tons of IMEI unlock providers out there, but not all of them are created equal. While some deliver bad customer support, some are just plain scams. Finding a trusted IMEI provider can be difficult. The IMEI unlock provider I tried is expressunlock.com. What I love most about expressunlock is their customer service, which is unbeatable.
How I unlocked my Sony Xperia Z5 Verizon-locked smartphone
The process was pretty simple. First, I visited HERE on my Mac and read their instructions before buying an Unlock code. After that, I provided my IMEI number and completed my payment. Two hours later, I received an email including the Unlock code for my phone.
I emailed expressunlock.com two times to ask for their instructions for completing the unlock. Their response was never more than a few hours away. To enter the unlock code to my phone, I needed to turn off the phone, inserted a SIM from another network and entered the code after restarting my phone. Once I’d done that, my phone worked like a charm.
Earlier this year, I made my first visit to Australia and my Optus SIM Card worked perfectly. My contract will end next month and I now know that my phone will work with any SIM card.