Can a locked T-Mobile phone work on Mint Mobile?

Mint Mobile app on wood
Mint Mobile app on wood (Image credit: Samuel Contreras / Android Central)

Best answer: A phone that's locked to T-Mobile will not work on Mint Mobile. T-Mobile will unlock your locked phone free of charge if you meet its requirements, or alternatively, you can buy a new, already unlocked phone that won't break the bank.

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Mint Mobile does not work with locked phones

If you're thinking about joining Mint Mobile and already have a phone you'd like to use with the service, it's important that it must be unlocked in order to work.

What exactly does that mean? Let's say you have a phone that you bought from T-Mobile. That phone is locked to the carrier and, therefore, cannot be used with a competing network. At least right at first.

If you bought an unlocked phone from a store like Amazon or Best Buy, you're in the clear. If you think you might be changing carriers often, this is your best bet because there are some minimum usage terms when you buy your phone directly from T-Mobile.

T-Mobile will unlock your device free of charge

Most carriers provide unlocking services for customers that want to take their devices elsewhere, and T-Mobile is not an exception.

To unlock a T-Mobile phone, all you need to do is get in touch with the company and let a customer support agent know that you'd like to unlock your phone. You can also unlock many phones without T-Mobile's help — many newer phones building the option right into the phone's settings. Older T-Mobile phones will also have a Device Unlock app installed.

T-Mobile has a list of requirements you must meet in order to unlock your device, and you can read through all of them right here. The main takeaway for most people is that the phone needs to be paid off completely and can't have a blocked IMEI. This mostly happens if the device has been reported stolen. Finally, the device must have been active on a T-Mobile postpaid account for 40 days or for one year on a prepaid account.

Assuming you're eligible for the unlock service, T-Mobile will send an unlock code to you completely free within two business days.

You can also just buy a new phone

Should you not meet all of T-Mobile's requirements, you can also just purchase a new phone to use on Mint Mobile. Most unlocked phones will work just fine even if you're looking for something cheap.

Joe Maring

Joe Maring was a Senior Editor for Android Central between 2017 and 2021. You can reach him on Twitter at @JoeMaring1.