Need to unlock S7 930T before using on T-Mo prepaid?


    Apologies if this is a repeat; I couldn't find the answer in previous forum topics.


    I'm looking to buy a used/refurb Galaxy S7, to use on T-Mo prepaid (I have the $30/mo UL plan).  From what I can tell, I should stick with a 930T phone (originally locked to T-Mobile), to get the easiest path to 100% compatibility.


    I'd prefer to get one that has already been unlocked, just to avoid more issues to deal with before I can use it.  But do I need to?


    For example, can I use a locked T-Mo 930T phone with my T-Mo prepaid account?  Can I unlock it myself?  I see phones for sale saying "paid off" but not necessarily "unlocked".  And I have heard anecdotally that it's possible to unlock a used phone after you purchase it, as long as it's not blacklisted.  But I don't know what other prerequisites there might be, or how to verify them before buying.


    Can you help a puzzled user out?




      All replies

      • drnewcomb2

        You should be able to use a non-blacklisted but locked T-Mobile phone on any T-Mobile account.

        I've purchased locked T-Mobile phones from other customers and had them unlocked almost immediately but I have a postpaid account. Not sure how it works for prepaid. Generally, a postpaid account is allowed two unlocks per-line per-year.

        • gramps28

          If you buy a non branded locked phone you will need to pay a 3rd party company to unlock the phone

          to use with Tmobile. Also the phone won't support wifi calling or some other features of T-Mobile. Make sure

          the phone also has the bands that T-Mobile uses.


          If you buy a Tmobile phone that's locked , you can unlock the phone once you meet the requirements.

          I purchased a used T-Mobile phone off ebay and was able to get an unlock code once I met the requirements.


          Here's a link to check the status of the phone.


          IMEI Status Check | See if Your Phone Works on T-Mobile 4G Network


          Here's the unlock requirements.


          Unlock your mobile wireless device

            • tomb2017

              Thanks to both of you.  Yes, I was already planning to *only* shop for a used 930T model number (the T-Mobile version).  There are plenty of stories about the difficulties people have had with trying to match a non-T-Mo phone to the T-Mo network (and features such as wi-fi calling).  I intend to avoid all that by getting a 930T phone.


              I had browsed the unlock requirements but not read them thoroughly before now (I already knew about online IMEI lookup).  My understanding now is that either:


              a) I can contact T-Mobile with the IMEI before buying and verify the unlock requirements are already met (if that's actually possible?), or


              b) I can buy the phone, making an educated guess that it's unlock-eligible, then request an ebay refund if unlock cannot be done.


              Any advice on which path to take?  I've found ebay returns to work in the past; obviously don't want to have to go that route.


              Thanks again.

                • gramps28

                  The only way to get a refund from ebay is if the phone is sold as unlocked. If it's

                  sold as locked to T-Mobile you shouldn't be eligible for a refund since the seller didn't misrepresent

                  the listing of the phone.


                  Yes you can contact T-Mobile with the imei or you can use the link I posted in my previous post.

                    • tomb2017

                      Thank you, that's a fair point about the (hypothetical) listing not misrepresenting the phone, even if it turns out later than it can't be unlocked for whatever reason (plan balance not paid off, etc.).


                      I also did not realize your IMEI lookup link was specific to T-Mobile.  That's possibly better than the generic IMEI lookup for this specific question (unlock eligibility).  Using an online resource means no need to wait a very long time for a telephone call to be answered, so I tried the T-Mobile IMEI link just now.


                      I entered an IMEI that I found on an ebay listing, for a phone that says T-Mobile (model 930T), but does not say unlocked so I'm fairly certain it's currently still locked.  Here's what the lookup page returns for it:



                      Congratulations! Your device is ready for use. Select one of the SIM cards on the previous page to get started.


                      You can use this device on an existing line with a compatible plan. If you already have a T-Mobile SIM card, simply insert it into the device. You may begin using your device on the T-Mobile network immediately.



                      This looks good (I checked other phones that came up with "unpaid balance" warnings), but I don't see a way to determine what the compatible plans are for this phone (e.g. is prepaid compatibile with this phone if it's still locked?).  Nor does it say directly that this phone is eligible to be unlocked, but I assume it is?  My preference would be to unlock it regardless, and then use it with my prepaid plan.

                    • drnewcomb2

                      When I've unlocked phone, my T-Mobile SIM had to be in the phone to get the unlock code. Back when it was a manual process and you had to call Customer Service, I had a new-used phone and the CSR said, "I don't see that you've used that phone". I replied "One minute" did a quick SIM swap and rebooted the phone. She then said, "OK now I see it" and submitted the unlock request.