Want to switch to another network provider and enjoy better rates and services but found your phone is locked to Vodafone? You’ll have to unlock it first.
However, it can be a daunting task to unlock a Vodafone phone, especially if you have never done it before.
Don’t worry, this step-by-step guide will help with this.
To make things short:
You’ll need a network unlock code (NUC) to unlock your phone, which you can get from Vodafone for free if you meet their requirements or from third-party unlocking services with a few bucks.
In this article, we’ll discuss how you can get the Vodafone unlock code for free and offer you some paid solutions as alternatives.
Let’s get started.
1. Understanding Vodafone Network Unlock Code
1.1 What is Vodafone Network Unlock Code?
Vodafone Network Unlock Code (NUC), sometimes called a Network Control Key (NCK) or Network Access Code (NAC), or Network Unlock PIN (NUP), is a code that allows you to unlock your locked phone from Vodafone so that you can use a SIM card from another network.
1.2 How Does Vodafone Network Unlock Code Work?
You can get unlock code from Vodafone online for free if your phone meets their criteria, the process usually takes a few business days. After receiving the NUC, enter it into your phone to get it unlocked.
It’s important to note that if you enter incorrect NUC too many times (usually 3 times), your device will be network blocked. In this case, you’ll need to get a master unlock code from Vodafone to have it unblocked.
1.3 How to Use the Vodafone NUC?
The steps to use the NUC vary depending on the phone brand.
After receiving the email to confirm your iPhone has been unlocked,
- insert a non-Vodafone SIM card into your iPhone
- Follow the instructions shown on your iPhone to set it up
- Power off your Samsung phone
- Insert a non-Vodafone SIM card
- Power on your phone, it will require the NUC
- Enter the NUC you received from Vodafone to unlock.
The steps for Samsung phones can be applicable to most Android phones. If it can’t work, check the official guide here.
2. Check the Blacklist Status of Your Phone
Before requesting an unlock code, you need to make sure your phone is not blacklisted.
A blacklisted phone is a device that has been reported as stolen or lost by its owner, or has been blocked by the carrier due to unpaid bills or outstanding balances. Once a phone is blacklisted, it won’t work on any mobile network in the country where it’s blacklisted.
Moreover, Vodafone can’t unlock a blacklisted phone unless it can be removed from the blacklist. Therefore, you must check the blacklist status of your phone before requesting an unlock code to avoid wasting time.
The only way to check is via an online IMEI checker. Simply submit the IMEI number of your device, and the IMEI checker will create a report for you like this:
If the blacklist status is “Clean”, go ahead to request a network unlock code from Vodafone. If it’s blacklisted, you need to contact Vodafone to remove it from the blacklist prior to unlocking.
3. How Vodafone UK Users Get the NUC
Follow this guide if your phone is locked to the Vodafone UK network, and you want to unlock it free with IMEI number.
3.1 Your Phone May be Already Unlocked
According to Vodafone UK, all phones purchased directly from Vodafone after 1st January 2022, are already unlocked. Aside from that, all Google, Land Rover, and Oppo phones are sold unlocked from Vodafone.
You can insert a SIM card from a different network, if it works, your phone is unlocked. If not, you’ll have to send an unlock request online.
Vodafone won’t generate a NUC if you don’t meet their unlock requirements below:
- You must be the owner of the phone
- The phone must be bought from Vodafone UK (phones bought from other providers can’t be unlocked)
- The phone must not be reported lost or stolen
- Any outstanding bills or fees related to the phone must be paid
3.3 Request Network Unlock Code Online
Vodafone UK offers a simple and free way to get the NUC. If you’re eligible for unlocking, simply send an unlock request by following these steps:
Step 1. Visit the Vodafone UK unlock code request page.
Step 2. Enter your email address (to receive the unlock code), mobile number, phone brand, model, and IMEI number.
You need to make sure all the required information is correct, especially the IMEI number, or Vodafone can’t unlock it.
You can get the IMEI number by entering *#06# on the call screen.
Step 3. Then click on the “Request network unlock code” button.
Step 4. Vodafone will ask you to confirm your email address.
Step 5. After the confirmation, wait for Vodafone to send you an email with the NUC and instructions on how to use it to unlock your device.
The process usually takes about two or three days. But if Vodafone requires some additional information or needs to contact the device manufacturer, it will take up to 10 working days.
For any questions related to the NUC request process, you can make a call to Vodafone customer support at 191 (from a Vodafone mobile) or 03333 040 191 (from any other phone).
3.4 Keep Your Phone Number
If you want to keep your phone number to switch from Vodafone UK to another network, you’ll need a PAC code to give to your new network.
To keep your phone number, make sure you’ve reached the end date of your plan. You’ll need to pay a fee before leaving Vodafone.
Just text INFO to 85075, Vodafone will send you a message about the end of date amount you need to pay.
To get the PAC code, your 4-digit account PIN is required:
- Text PAC and your account PIN – i.e. PAC 1234
- To: 65075
If you don’t remember your account PIN, just call Vodafone UK on 911.
You need to send the PAC code to your new provider within 30 days or the PAC code will expire. You can always ask Vodafone for a new code after 30 days.
4. How Vodafone Ireland Users Get the NUC/NAC
The Network Unlock Code (NUC) is usually called Network Access Code (NAC) in Ireland. And it’s very straightforward to get it.
Before starting, it’s important to note that there is a chance that your phone may not need to be unlocked.
4.1 You May Not Need to Unlock
According to Vodafone Ireland, Google Pixel 5 and all Oppo, Redmi, TCL, and Xiaomi phones purchased directly from Vodafone Ireland are already unlocked.
If you’re unsure, just simply insert a non-Vodafone Ireland SIM card into your phone to see if it works normally.
Apart from this, if you want to switch from Vodafone Ireland to Clear Mobile, there is no need to unlock because they are compatible with each other.
4.2 Unlock Criteria
Before requesting a NAC, you need to check if you are eligible. Vodafone Ireland offers free NAC to those who meet the following criteria:
- The phone must be purchased directly from Vodafone Ireland
- You must have not sent more than 1 unlock request in the past 3 months and 3 in the past 12 months
- The phone must not be blacklisted
- Must meet the below criteria according to your account type
For Bill Pay Customers
- Your account must have no outstanding balance
- The phone must be active on Vodafone Ireland for at least 1 year or you’ve spent €200 on your account
For Pay as You Go Customers
- Your phone must be purchased directly from Vodafone Ireland
- You must have topped up credit by a minimum of €120 between each unlock request
If you meet these criteria, you can proceed to obtain the NAC to unlock your phone from Vodafone Ireland. There are two ways to do that.
Method 1. Request from “My Vodafone”
To request the NAC, follow these steps:
Step 1. Login to My Vodafone with your mobile number/email and password. You need to register if you don’t have one.
Step 2. Navigate to “My device & SIM”, then click on “Unlock your phone.”
Step 3. Follow the instructions it shows to request a phone network access code.
Method 2. Filling Out the Unlock Request Form
You can also request the NAC through their online form, here are the steps:
Step 1. Visit Vodafone Ireland NAC request page. And click on the “Continue” button.
Step 2. Select your account type and click “Continue.”
Step 3. Offer the details they require and submit. The required information is different for bill pay and pay as you go customers.
If you’re a bill pay user, offer these details:
- Vodafone mobile number
- Full name
- Date of birth
- Email address
- Last bill payment method
- Last bill amount
- Last payment date
- Plan name
- Phone brand
- Phone model
- IMEI number of your phone (dial *#06# on your phone and it will display on screen)
If you’re a bill pay user, offer these:
- Vodafone mobile number
- Full name
- Date of birth
- Email address
- Last top up amount
- Last top up method
- 2 frequently dialed or texted numbers
- SIM card number (ICCID)
- For iPhone: go to Settings > General > About > ICCID
- For Android: go to Settings > About Phone > Status > SIM Card Status > ICCID
- Connection Date / Disconnection Date (If account is ceased)
- Phone brand
- Phone model
- IMEI number of your phone (dial *#06# to get)
Step 4. Click on “Submit.”
How Long to Get the NAC?
Once the unlock request is submitted, Vodafone will provide the unlock code via email.
- For iPhones, the unlock process will be completed within 7 working days.
- For the rest, it may take up to 20 working days since the NAC may need to be obtained from the manufacturer, and the response times may differ.
5. How Vodafone Australia Users Get the NUC
If you are a Vodafone Australia customer and want to unlock your device, you can get the network unlock code by following these steps:
Step 1. Check If Your Phone is Unlocked
According to Vodafone Australia, if you bought a device on a plan after 1st August 2013, your device is unlocked. If you bought it on a prepaid service, then it’s locked. If your prepaid iPhone is bought after November 2020, then it may be locked.
You can insert an active Non-Vodafone Australia SIM card into your phone to see if it works, if yes, it’s unlocked. Or it’s locked.
Step 2. Check If You’re Eligible for Unlock
Vodafone Australia provides network unlock codes for phones that are:
- purchased directly from Vodafone Australia, 3 Mobile or Crazy John’s
- out of contract or have been paid off in full
- not been marked as lost or stolen
Step 3. Send Unlock Request
Visit the Vodafone Australia unlock page, enter your device’s IMEI number (you can find it by dialing *#06#) and follow the on-screen instructions to proceed.
After submitting the unlock request, wait for Vodafone Australia to process the request. Usually, it takes about 5 working days. Once it’s completed, Vodafone will send you an email or text with the network unlock code and instructions to unlock your phone.
Note that if you bought your phone outright on a prepaid service, there will be a fee to unlock.
- For phones that have been active on the Vodafone Australia network for less than 6 months, the unlocking fee is $50
- If over 6 months, the unlocking fee will be $25
For any issues, you can call Vodafone customer service at 1300 650 410.
What to Do If Unlock Fails?
If Vodafone Australia failed to unlock your phone, try this 3-step troubleshooting method:
- Make sure your phone is purchased from Vodafone Australia 3 Mobile or Crazy John’s, if not, you need to contact the provider you bought it from
- Ensure the IMEI number you submitted is correct
- Ensure your SIM card is active. If not, give Vodafone Australia a call at 1300 650 410
And if you’re outside Australia, and have issues on unlocking, you can contact Vodafone Australia customer support at +61 426 320 000.
6. One-stop Solution to Get Vodafone Network Unlock Code
Vodafone has specific eligibility criteria that must be met before they can offer you a network unlock code. What if you’re not eligible for unlocking?
If you’re one of those who are not eligible for a free Vodafone network unlock code, you can use a third-party unlocking service. These services can provide unlock code for a fee and the whole process can be completed remotely.
There are many unlocking services online, some of them may be scams or provide invalid NUC. Before using a service, make sure to check if it’s reputable by looking for certifications.
Some popular unlocking services for Vodafone NUC include DirectUnlocks and SIMUnlockPro.
How It Work
Let’s take DirectUnlocks as an example.
DirectUnlocks has been reputable in the unlocking industry since 2015, and gained a lot of positive reviews from customers. To get a Vodafone NUC, you just need to offer your IMEI, and the team of experts will do the rest for you.
Here’s how DirectUnlocks help you:
- Can always unlock your phone from Vodafone even if it doesn’t meet the Vodafone criteria
- Support most of phones, including Samsung, iPhone, LG, and more
- The unlocking process will take no more than 24 hours
Besides, DirectUnlocks can unlock phones from all Vodafone networks, including:
- Vodafone Albania
- Vodafone Australia
- Vodafone Czech Republic
- Vodafone Egypt
- Vodafone Faroe Islands
- Vodafone Fiji
- Vodafone French Polynesia
- Vodafone Germany
- Vodafone Ghana
- Vodafone Greece
- Vodafone Hungary
- Vodafone Iceland
- Vodafone India
- Vodafone Ireland
- Vodafone Italy
- Vodafone Malta
- Vodafone Netherlands
- Vodafone New Zealand
- Vodafone Portugal
- Vodafone Qatar
- Vodafone Romania
- Vodafone Spain
- Vodafone Turkey
- Vodafone Uganda
- Vodafone Ukraine
- Vodafone UK
Here is how you can get Vodafone unlock code from DirectUnlocks:
Step 1. Visit DirectUnlocks Vodafone unlock page.
Step 2. Select the Vodafone network from the drop list.
Step 3. Enter your phone’s IMEI number. To obtain it, dial *#06# or go to Settings > About.
Step 4. Click on “Unlock Your Vodafone Phone.”
Step 5. Make the payment and wait for the unlock code.
The delivery time varies according to your phone OS:
- For iPhone, the unlock process will be complete within 24 hours
- For Android phones, you’ll get the unlock code within 6 hours
7. Keep Away from Unlock Software
As you can see, many companies claim that their software can help you unlock, however, never use them. This kind of software will root your Android phones / jailbreak your iPhones which may “brick” your device.
Moreover, they may cause frequent crashes, freezes, and other issues.
While unlocking software may provide some benefits, it also has several risks and drawbacks. Consider these before using it.
To Wrap Up
Vodafone offers a free network unlock code (NUC) for those who’re eligible for unlocking. The process is straightforward. The first thing is to check if your phone is eligible for unlocking by contacting Vodafone or checking their website. If it’s eligible, you can request an unlock code and get it in up to 20 working days.
If you’re in a hurry and want to get the NUC as soon as possible, some third-party unlocking services will help. However, you need to do a deep research before making a payment because some of them may be scams. To save you time, we’ve listed two of the trustworthy unlocking services for you.
Finally, it’s highly recommended to never use unlocking software because it may “brick” your phone.