Legal / Regulatory & Consumer Resources

Unlock your Sprint device

Many Sprint phones or tablets ('devices') have been programmed with a master subsidy lock or 'MSL' that locks the device to certain operational parameters for use on Sprint's network and prevents the device from attempting to be activated on other carriers' networks. Sprint will provide any applicable MSL code, upon request, provided you have met the unlocking requirements provided below.

Not all Sprint devices have an MSL code or a locking function that can be unlocked by Sprint (e.g., Apple devices cannot be unlocked to accept another domestic carrier's SIM card). On certain devices, not all functionality may be unlocked (e.g., for some smartphone devices, Sprint may be able to unlock the CDMA/voice functionality of the device but unable to unlock the GSM/UMTS/LTE portion of the device). Even if unlocked, Sprint devices will not necessarily work on another carrier's network.

Whether an unlocked Sprint device can be used on another carrier's network is subject to that carrier's policies and network compatibilities. Even if a different carrier will activate a Sprint device on its network, Sprint does not make any guarantees as to a Sprint device's performance on another carrier's network or that any or all device features or functionalities will be fully or partially operational. Although a phone manufacturer may manufacture the same device model and name for different wireless carriers offering wireless service in the United States, Sprint devices are specifically designed to function on Sprint's network and Sprint's frequencies and technologies. Sprint generally will not be able to activate non-Sprint branded phones on its network, including devices purchased through Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile or Assurance Wireless.

Requesting the Master Subsidy Lock code

Sprint will provide the MSL code on a Sprint device under the following circumstances:

  • The person requesting the MSL code is an authenticated current or former Sprint customer or an individual owner who can provide the phone number or account number for the account last associated with the device.
  • The account associated with the device is in good standing, including but not limited to:
    • Service Agreement or Installment Billing Agreement is fulfilled
      • Current Sprint customers still subject to an unfulfilled Service Agreement or Installment Billing Agreement can fulfill this requirement by paying the applicable early termination fee or "ETF" or the remaining device balance, respectively.
        • Sprint reserves the right to refrain from providing the MSL code until any ETF/installment billing payments have cleared any pending status.
        • The person requesting the MSL code may be required to call back into Sprint Customer Care once any ETF/installment billing payments have cleared any pending status.
    • Payments are current.
    • No write-off balance.
    • Not associated with a phone sent to collections
  • The device has not been reported as lost or stolen

If you meet the above requirements and would like to request the MSL code for your Sprint device, contact Sprint Customer Care by dialing *2 from your Sprint mobile device or call 888-211-4727.

Unlocking for international travel

Traveling abroad? Sprint customers traveling abroad for a short period of time can have their Sprint service provisioned to allow for international roaming. See sprint.com/international for full details. 

Sprint customers remaining abroad for an extended period of time may want to try to use their Sprint device with a foreign carrier.  For certain devices engineered to include a SIM slot, Sprint may be able to unlock the device's SIM slot in order for a foreign carrier's SIM card to be inserted. Sprint will unlock, or facilitate the unlock of, the SIM slot of an applicable device for international travel under the following circumstances:

  • The person requesting the unlock is a current Sprint customer who can provide the phone number or account number for the account.
  • The person requesting the unlock can authenticate as the Account Holder or an Authorized Contact
  • If the account is an ASL account:
    • There is no unfulfilled Service Agreement associated with the line of service.
    • There is no outstanding Installment Billing Agreement balance associated with the device.
  • The account is in good standing (including but not limited to: payments are current, no write-off balance, not associated with a phone sent to collections, etc.).
  • The subscriber with which the device is associated has not previously unlocked another device within the past 12 months.
  • The applicable device has been active on the associated line of service for at least 90 days.
  • The device is currently active on a Sprint account.
  • The device is capable of international SIM unlock.

Please note that unlocking the SIM slot does not allow for use with domestic (U.S.) SIMs. When using a foreign carrier's SIM it is important to note that all information, service and support must be provided by that carrier. You remain responsible for any charges to your Sprint account, as well as any charges from the foreign provider. Upon returning to the U.S., you may need to remove the foreign carrier's SIM to be able to acquire the Sprint network.

If you elect to use a foreign carrier's SIM in a locked device for use on international GSM networks, please contact Sprint Worldwide Care to unlock the device SIM slot. Sprint Worldwide Care can be reached via chat or email from sprint.com/swwsupport or by calling 6s888-226-7212.

Unlocking for military personnel

Military personnel traveling abroad for a short period of time may wish to have their Sprint service provisioned to allow for international roaming. See sprint.com/international for full details.

Military personnel deployed overseas for extended periods of time may prefer to try to use their Sprint device with a foreign carrier. For certain devices engineered to include a SIM slot, Sprint may be able to unlock the device's SIM slot in order for a foreign carrier's SIM card to be inserted. Sprint will unlock, or facilitate the unlock of, the SIM slot of an applicable device under the following circumstances:

  • The subscriber is an active member of a branch of the United States military
  • The subscriber has been issued overseas deployment papers.
  • The person requesting the unlock is a current Sprint customer who can provide the phone number or account number for the account.
  • The person requesting the unlock can authenticate as the Account Holder or an Authorized Contact.
  • The account is in good standing (including but not limited to: payments are current, no write-off balance, not associated with a phone sent to collections, etc.).
  • The subscriber with which the device is associated has not previously unlocked another device within the past 12 months.
  • The device is capable of international SIM unlock.

Please note that unlocking the SIM slot does not allow for use with domestic (U.S.) SIMs. When using a foreign carrier's SIM it is important to note that all information, service and support must be provided by that carrier. You remain responsible for any charges to your Sprint account, as well as any charges from the foreign carrier. Upon returning to the U.S., you may need to remove the foreign carrier's SIM to be able to acquire the Sprint network.

Military personnel deployed overseas can contact Sprint Worldwide Care to unlock the device SIM slot. Sprint Worldwide Care can be reached via chat or email from sprint.com/swwsupport or by calling 888-226-7212.

Important note
Sprint may refuse any unlock request that would result in an abuse of this policy or is part of an effort to defraud Sprint or its customers. This unlocking policy is subject to change at Sprint's discretion without advance notice.

Unlocking FAQs

What does it mean for my device to be 'locked'?
The term 'locked' means that either Sprint software or the manufacturers' device designs tie the device to Sprint's network, such that the device can only be used on Sprint's network.

Why does Sprint lock its devices?
Most Sprint devices are sold at a discounted price, often in exchange for a customer entering into a term service commitment, or pursuant to an installment billing agreement, which enables a customer to pay off the price of the device over a period of time. Locking software protects Sprint by ensuring that those discounted devices remain on Sprint's network until our customers have either fulfilled their term service commitment or their installment billing agreement.

How can I unlock my device?
For devices that qualify under Sprint's Unlocking Policy, Sprint will provide any applicable MSL code, and/or unlock the device, to the extent that a device is capable of being unlocked. Generally, to qualify under Sprint's Unlocking Policy, the device must be associated with an account in good standing and not be subject to an outstanding term service agreement or installment billing agreement.

I have the MSL code for my device. Does that mean that my device is unlocked?
The MSL code may be used to override operational parameters restricting the device to operating on Sprint's network; however, the MSL code alone will not enable certain devices to operate on a different carrier's network. Enabling a device to work on another carrier's network may necessitate the carrier or party attempting to unlock the device to address the firmware hardcoded into the device at the time the device was manufactured, which in turn requires extensive technological knowledge and skill. Whether another carrier is able to or will unlock a device is subject to that carrier's policies and practices.

I've been told by another carrier that Sprint needs to unlock my SIM slot in order to use my phone on the other carrier's network.
For eligible devices, Sprint will unlock the SIM slot, to the extent that a device SIM slot is capable of being unlocked. It is important to note that not all devices are capable of being unlocked, often because of the manufacturers' device designs, and that even for those devices capable of being unlocked, not all device functionality may be capable of being unlocked. Specifically, devices manufactured with a SIM slot within the past three years (including, but not limited to, all Apple iPhone devices), cannot be unlocked to accept a different domestic carrier's SIM for use on another domestic carrier's network. Sprint has no technological process available to do this. In accordance with Sprint's voluntary commitment contained within CTIA's Consumer Code for Wireless Service ("Unlocking Commitment"), Sprint is working to ensure that all devices developed and launched on or after February 11, 2015, are capable of being unlocked domestically.

If my device is unlocked, does that mean I will be able to use it with a different carrier?
Even if unlocked, Sprint devices will not necessarily work on another carrier's network. Whether an unlocked Sprint device can be used on another carrier's network is subject to that carrier's policies and network compatibilities. Even if a different carrier will activate a Sprint device on its network, Sprint does not make any guarantees as to a Sprint device's performance on another carrier's network or that any or all device features or functionalities will be fully or partially operational. Although a phone manufacturer may manufacture the same device model and name for different wireless carriers offering wireless service in the United States, Sprint devices are specifically designed to function on Sprint's network and Sprint's frequencies and technologies.

I have been told that my device is not capable of being unlocked and/or does not have a corresponding MSL code. What can I do?
Many devices that have been manufactured for Sprint simply are not capable of being unlocked, or will not have a corresponding MSL code. For example, Sprint-branded iPhones have been manufactured in a way that prevents them from being unlocked to allow the device to activate on a different carrier's network in the United States. This is because, prior to the development of the voluntary commitment contained in CTIA's Consumer Code for Wireless Service ("Unlocking Commitment") carriers were not required to, and many carriers did not, develop their devices to be capable of being unlocked. Sprint strongly encourages owners of such devices to consider Sprint's Buyback Program, which may enable them to trade in their old devices to receive an in-store credit toward the purchase of a new device or to receive an account credit. For more information, visit sprint.com/buyback. To help resolve this problem, Sprint has committed to ensure that all of its devices produced after February 11, 2015, are capable of being unlocked.

I am a former Sprint customer or was never a Sprint customer but have purchased a Sprint device from a third party other than Sprint. Can I get the MSL code?
For individuals owners who can provide the telephone number last associated with the device, Sprint may be able to provide the applicable MSL Code if the account associated with the device is in good standing (service or installment contract fulfilled, payments are current, no write-off balance, not associated with a phone sent to collections, phone not reported lost or stolen, etc.).

I see that Sprint has a separate unlocking policy for international travel. Why is that?
For Sprint customers traveling abroad for a short period of time, often their Sprint service can be provisioned to allow for international roaming. See sprint.com/international for full details. However, Sprint customers remaining overseas for extended periods of time may prefer to try to use their Sprint device to receive service from a foreign carrier. Certain newer devices have been engineered to include a SIM slot, which may be capable of being unlocked to allow a foreign carrier's SIM card to be inserted, thus allowing the device to be used on a foreign carrier's network.  Unlocking the international SIM slot will not allow the device to be used on another domestic carrier's network.

The international unlock policy says that Account Spending Limit ('ASL') customers are not eligible to have their devices unlocked for international travel.  Why is that and is there any way to get around that requirement?
Sprint's systems were originally hardcoded to restrict ASL customers from unlocking their devices for international travel, though Sprint is working to update its systems to allow ASL customers who have completed their Service Agreement or Installment Billing Agreement to unlock their devices for international travel and will have those updates in place by February 11, 2015, per the Unlocking Commitment.  After 18 months of service and responsible payment, Sprint may remove your spending limit and you may then be eligible to have your device unlocked for international travel.

I am a member of the military and am set to be deployed overseas. Can I have my device unlocked for international travel?
Military personnel traveling abroad for a short period of time may wish to have their Sprint service provisioned to allow for international roaming. See sprint.com/international for full details. However, military personnel remaining overseas for extended periods of time may prefer to try to use their Sprint device with a foreign carrier. If you have a capable device, you may be eligible to have your device unlocked for international usage.

Sprint's unlocking policy appears to apply only to postpaid customers. I am a prepaid customer. Am I eligible to have my device unlocked?
Neither Sprint nor its prepaid affiliates (Virgin Mobile, Boost Mobile, and Assurance Wireless) currently unlock devices for prepaid customers. However, in accordance with the Unlocking Commitment, Sprint and its prepaid affiliates are working to create new policies and procedures in order to unlock prepaid devices, or to provide the information necessary to unlock the devices, after certain eligibility requirements to be established are met. Consistent with the Unlocking Commitment, Sprint and its prepaid affiliates will implement these new policies and procedures no later than February 11, 2015.