AT&T SIM unlocking Nokia Lumia 1020; gets blazing fast LTE on T-Mobile too

Here’s a little secret that many of you will be interested in: AT&T has evidently relaxed their policy on SIM unlocking phones, allowing users to take their device on to other carriers. Of course one would think that would be normal, but here in the U.S., SIM unlocking is a hit or miss endeavor.

In our forums, quite a few owners of the Nokia Lumia 1020 have had success in purchasing the device, mostly from Microsoft Stores, and getting AT&T to give them unlock codes. Indeed, we can verify this as we too were just granted an unlock pass from AT&T, making our Lumia 1020 a full-fledged international phone.

Perhaps the bigger story though is that this device contains the same LTE bands that T-Mobile uses. While that was known already from Nokia’s specs, we’re not sure many of you know it (or believe it). That means not only can you use this phone on T-Mobile’s more cost efficient network, but you can get some fairly crazy speeds as well.

AT&T Nokia Lumia 1020 SIM unlocked

Case in point, using Microsoft’s Network Speed Test app, we managed 19 Mbps down and a reasonable 2.69 Mbps up with less than full bars. That’s pretty darn impressive and combined with our unlimited text and phone plan, it is making us consider keeping this setup. In addition, we can say reception is even slightly better than our T-Mobile Lumia 925, though alas, we cannot download the Wi-Fi calling app (this feature is tied to the firmware).

Getting back to unlocking, most users have had success with calling up AT&T directly and telling them that they are traveling abroad. For our case, the unlock code was not in the system but AT&T emailed it to us within 48 hours. We should also note that not everyone has had success, with a few people being told that their device is not eligible. However, repeated attempts with different customer service reps can yield different results.

To discuss techniques and results from calling AT&T, head to our forum, listed below, to follow the discussion. While this is seemingly an easy task, AT&T could catch wind of this if it’s not their policy and quickly clamp down. That means you’re still at risk should you buy the device for $700 expecting to get it SIM unlocked.

  • Nokia Lumia 1020 from MSFT store & ATT unlocking - WPCentral Forums
Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.

  • Hmmm. I may just get a 1020 then. :)
  • Did you end up getting one? if so, does MMS work well on T-mobile?
  • People who want to get unlock code for AT&T Lumia 1020 can buy it from here.
  • Need to find out if AWS HSPA+ is locked out though... It commonly is on many AT&T phones.
  • According to a comment below, it does NOT support AWS HSPA+.  So it's a no go for me still unfortunately.
  • Wasn't locked out on the Nokia Lumia 920.  I get faster HSPA+ speeds on TMO's network than I did with AT&T, and LTE is more than twice as fast (Tampa, FL).  If you live in a region where TMO's has converted over to 1900mhz, then you will get HSPA+ instead of Edge if LTE isn't available.  Same specs as the 1020 so I would think it would be the same.
  • AWS 3G is locked out on the AT&T 920. You may be in an area where T-Mobile has deployed 3G on 1900MHz which the 920 supports. Technically the AT&T 920 supports AWS 3G but its locked in the NVRAM and while some people on XDA have claimed to unlock it flashing different firmwares most have reported failure to do so. It's also possible that your 920 was flashed incorrectly at the factory and left the AWS 3G enabled.
  • Hey quick question. I have an unlocked Lumia 920 that i switched ovet to T-Mobile. Im having an issue with using the interent and sending pictures. Did you have the same issue? 
  • I know, right? I'm getting fed up with att waiting for GDR2. Lumia 920 flagship device 6 months ago, now pushed aside....:'(
  • Actually its almost a year old. But blame at&t for not rolling out the update
  • T-Mobile isn't any better. They EOL'd 810 after a couple of months and are barely promoting the 925.
  • What are you expecting with GDR2? I have a 920 & 925. Besides the clock there's nothing exciting about it. I'd still use the 920 if I could get T-Mobiles WiFi calling app on it. I think your getting a little to excited over nothing.
  • Um, Smart Cam, double tap to wake.......
  • Don't forget "Block Calls and SMS".
  • You can basically do that with Magik Mail. Blocking is a Nokia feature. I don't think HTC / Samsung will have this.
  • Thanks for the tip!
  • I don't see magik mail in windowsphone store where do you get it?
  • It's Magikmail all one word. When you get it go online and you can set separate voicemails for different numbers.
  • Samsung had it day one. Now almost a year ago. Nokia just pushed it to there handsets. So blocking is new for Lumia.
  • Actually I have put GDR2 on my 920 and I think its an excellent update, and far from minor. Other storage fix + Colour profile + always on clock and double tap to awake + Camera improvements and Smart Cam + Data sense + Call and sms block. Nokia pro camera app is also coming. Any two of these things alone would be minor but the whole package is quite compelling. I sure am not regretting flashing my device for it.
  • Sounds good. I would flash mine but my laptop has headed south :'(
  • FYI you can get pro cam on your 920 today too.  Just do a search on the web.  Need to set up fiddler to do it but it's pretty easy.
  • What I want most from GDR2 is the "Other" storage fix.
  • On my 925 with GDR2 I have 1.9GB of other storage. Storage check says I have used 11 of my 15 GB. I can clear most of my temp files not other storage. My phone has NO GAMES. Its all apps, music and pics. 16GB isn't enough for me so my games go on my workhorse (920). So I wouldn't get excited about clearing your other storage because that's not gonna happen.
  • What's the at&T speeds my Nokia Lumia 920 can get 46+mbs download speeds
  • Would it work for non LTE T-Mo coverage. I.e.HSPA+?
  • Now can anyone find a way to remove the att logo? And also a way to unlock all the radios to make it pentaband? Then it would be perfect. :)
  • In the UK this is the company I used to unlock my 920  [] , very reliable and took no time at all.
  • That would be a sim unlock, not the same thing.
  • My sim was not locked it was the phone. Now i can use any sim. Surely it meant my phone was locked and not the sim.
  • You've missed @theemas's point again
  • Sorry, stupid autocorrect. It should have been @theefman
  • Norville2, sim lock = phone tied to a specific carrier therefore sim unlocking means unlocking your phone to accept any sim.
    In order to remove the AT&T or carrier flash screen you will have to flash a unbranded rom = de branding / un branding.
    Other than changing the housing / case there is no way you will get the carrier logo off the case lol.
  • now to remove that AT&T logo..
  • I don't mind it too much as its just the little globe on the 1020. would have looked a lot better though if they shrunk it slightly so it looks more like the ff camera.
    i like symmetry..
  • If I had known this before I bought this 925 two weeks ago and my 14 day return just ended lol.
  • if u live in California you have 30 days to return the phone ( this only apply for California ) all others states 14 days 
  • What about HSPA+ bands? LTE is useless to me as there is no availability on any carrier near me. I tried my 920 on T-Mobile and that didn't work at all.
  • All bands are working, though it is of note that I am in a refarmed area for 4G. I did have to do one wierd thing with my APN's though. My Internet APN is set to but my MMS APN wouldn't send without being on
    I've tested G, 4G and LTE as working. I don't have any areas around me that force my phone into 3G unfortunately....
  • Who wants to ship a white or yellow to Brazil it Now!!!!!!
  • I really don't understand this one carrier shit, should I wait for GDR2 or get the 1020? I'm starting to hate both companies I missed the Symbian days );
  • I can't wait! 
  • Nice!!!
  • Ermahgerd!
  • Wow. Americans say America is a free country, yet you cannot even change your sim without going through so much trouble.
  • That's because the majority of phones in America is subsidized. Over seas you buy your phone out right. There's no way a company is gonna give you a $500-$600 phone for $100 or less and let you unlock it. Most will once you pay it off.
  • I bought my 920 outright and AT&T still refused to unlock it when I went to Russia for a few months. It's crazy.
  • Yes, but they still have the same restrictions even if they paid full price.  So what's the excuse in those cases?
  • That's not true. A majority overseas are still sold on contract. Even phones on contract are either sold unlocked or they will unlock it for you. It's called legal liability. If you run off to another carrier you still have to pay for your contract or pay it out with punitive break-costs. Otherwise they will either take legal action or send the debt collectors after you and destroy your credit rating. My phone was sold on contract, unlocked day 1, and I use a different carrier SIM for reasons not worth explaining. I didn't even need to make up a story to unlock it. The only reason ATT do it is to keep you under control - you're less likely to run off to another carrier if it's too expensive to do so.
  • What European Nation are you from? What's your carrier?
  • Telstra in Australia. Virgin Mobile in the UK when I lived there. Most phones come out on contract, but they're generally available outright (possibly tied to a carrier). In all cases they are usually easily unlocked. The contract ties you to a carrier, it doesn't matter what SIM is inside
  • Troll.
  • Shut up, Josh.
  • You have old information. "America is a free country" has been updated to "America is a 'fee' country".
  • We put two 920s on T-Mobile. LTE was pretty good, but it was all or nothing. No LTE, back to EDGE. Plus calls got dropped all the time since there's no VoLTE yet. Speeds were wicked tho, around 25mbps down and 10-15mbps up. Got fed up and just switched to 925s. Got white and black SIM unlocked ATT 920s, if anyone is interested.
  • I had a red 920 on Tmo in Chicago experience is pretty good. More and more LTE everyday. Only issue I have is my phone freezing when receiving calls sometimes. However I still want the 925 :-)
  • I have an unlocked 920 on T-Mobile and so far so good but little issues here and there similar to what you said. Is the 925 a better experience?
  • I think so. We live in a partially refarmed area so the 920 was decent enough, but at our house it was pretty bad. We did some travelling outside the cities it was almost all EDGE, which was enough to push us to switch. WiFi calling is a nice touch as well.
  • @jdandison About your 920s, what price are u asking, and what condition are each of the phones in? Thanks
  • For those wondering, the Lumia 1020 does not support T-Mobile's AWS HSPA+ network.  According to Nokia's Developer website, the US variant of the 1020 does not support AWS (1700/2100 MHz) frequencies for HSPA+ but only for LTE.  So, this phone on T-Mobile would only work on their EDGE, refarmed 1900 MHz HSPA+, and AWS LTE networks.
  • I thought AT&T has a 6 month limit. Once your contract is over 6 months old, you can get your phone unlocked. I just had my 920 unlocked yesterday (for travel).
  • I get speeds faster than that on T-mobile with my 'Build' Lumia 920. Best I've had is 33 down and 12 up. I'm sure the 1020 is capable of the same.
  • Blazing fast? Must be kidding. With my LTE I'm reaching above 60k mbps here in Singapore.
  • Unbelievable. ATT sucks. I just had two friends go into the Downtown Burbank ATT to buy the Nokia 1020 and the sales people them scared them into not buying saying that the 1020 drops data and generally "falls apart" when you try and use the heavier apps. They also stated that that it was more prone to viruses and that Windows phones were not that good overall and considered to have an unstable OS and freeze. !BS! I was a proud owner of the HD7 since day one and I now own a 925 (best phone I've ever had)--neither had any of those issues. I've put my 925 next to some of my friends iPhones and it literally pales in comparison.
    Despite the fact that the 1020 is being promoted by banners at the front of the store with an awesome kiosk, etc.--you get this type of BS. These are the type of issues Nokia and MS need to work out. It seems as if it doesn't matter if a phone is better than the rest... Apparently only iTards and iCopy idiots are working at these places. :( 
  • I saw something similiar at an AT&T store in Orange County, CA. The push that AT&T did with their in-store sales reps for the 920 definitely is not the same with the 1020. I watched a rep talk a person away from the 1020 when she asked about it, actually took it out of her hand!!!, and said the Samsung G4 was better and proceeded to pitch her on it.
    If you're listening Nokia, Microsoft and AT&T it was the AT&T warranty store on Harvard in Irvine, CA and the date was July 26th (yes release date!!!) at approximately 5:30pm.
  • Such BS. I just got back from a party in a very rural area in the Northeast of the U.S. Everyone had iPhones and Samsung Galaxy S3s and S4s mostly on AT&T. My Lumia 1020 was the only phone that was getting both voice and data service (also on AT&T). Everyone was very impressed and the phone certainly made an impression. The radio in the Lumia 1020 rocks!
  • Now I can import one from US instead of waiting until the end of the year.
  • Loving TMo's LTE where I am, and it's not quite officially rolled out here. I hit 35+Mbps on my 925.
  • I know this is not the right place, but, is it safe to use HTC charger on Nokia phones? I want to use the HTC charger when I'm at work. It's probably safe, but I need confirmation and validation from you guys.
  • Not only would you not have any problems, you can even use a IPhone adapter (obviously not the cable) to charge your phone.
  • Cool! Thanks!
  • How would I know if I'm in a "refarmed" 4G area or not?
  • Freak I just bought an unlocked Lumia 920 for T-Mobile. Oh...I'm straight.
  • Now if only it would work on Verizon.... Then you could get a great phone on a non-crappy network (in the north east anyhow.)
  • In fact, Lumia 1020 does support LTE of Verizon. First of all, supported LTE network band of Lumia 1020 includes 2,4,5,17. And the one of Lumia 928, which is for Verizon, includes 4 and 13. That means if you unlock your Lumia 1020 you could just work on LTE of Verizon with only one network band.
  • the Nokia Lumia 1020 has CDMA frequencies? That's the core of VZW's network, at least for voice. So, the ability to pick up one of the LTE bands is great and all, but if you are unable to access the CDMA side of VZW's network then I would think the phone would serve no purpose.
  • Nah, no CDMA frequencies for Lumia 1020.
  • Ouch! My 521 is in trouble! Good news!
  • You can actually unlock your device online at ATT's website - just fill out the form and send the request and they will email you the unlock code back if they determine you are eligible. No need to hassle with the sometimes terrible or misinformed customer service reps.
  • I think this trick would not works until you just end your phone contract and pay the phone in a full price or AT&T would not give you the unlock code
  • Is it possible to remove the AT&T apps from the phone?
  • Yup, at least i removed them from my 920
  • Very nice. The savings on this in America compared to what it should cost in Denmark are huge. If I cant unlock it directly from ATT do you or anyone else know if unlocking services like unlockitnow are legit/work?
  • I got my 1020 with the off-contract price, and immediately took it to AirVoice, an AT&T MVNO.  I slipped their SIM card in, and I was up and running immediately.  40 bucks for unlimited voice/txt, 1gb data.  At that price, I'll save more than the at&t contract subsidy in less than 12 months (vs paying at&t contract rates.)
    No need to go T-mobile...
  • (Whoops, didn't mean to hit submit)
  • ( clearing out comment that I didn't intend to submit twice, sorry...)  (Is there  a way to delete comments?)
  • I have never found microsoft's new speed test app to be very accurate, it sticks at the maximum speed it sees as I have experienced as t-mobile doesn't have a very steady upload speed on hspa+.  Please, use next time Daniel, I find it more trusting.
  • Can someone please confirm if code should be 20 or 21 digits long? I am trying with my international SIM but I get mixed errors and it doesn't seem to unlock with the code provided by ATT
  • Call att and confirm the code before you permanently lock it. 
  • The code I wrote, (or the one dictated by the CSR) had an extra 0. The code is just 20 digits long. Now happy with my Lumia 1020 @Movistar AR.
  • I want to unlock Nokia Lumia 1020 AT&T. Can someone refer me toward a good unlock code source? I found , is it okay to buy code from them?
  • Just call them and tell them that you want the code. You might need to call them twice, but they will release the code (if you paid the phone in full price and no contract).
  • yeah i also buy code from them. Perform the application of the code, make payment and soon came to my email. Enter the code and it worked immediately. It really is very easy
  • can this phone be used for metro?????
  • Am I the only one who things those speeds are a bit rubbish... We get those in the UK through Three and we dont even have 4G... and that ping is awful!
  • I got an unlocked 820 from AT&T and íts blazing fast on TMO LTE as well.
  • I have a question: Will an unlocked Nokia Lumia 1020 work with MMS on T-mobile? I have  an unlocked Nokia Lumia 920 right now, and its been hard to get MMS to work on T-mobile. I called and got the right setting, but it still doesn't work. Does anyone have experience using the 1020 on T-mobile? if so, does your MMS work just fine? 
  • i m not a tech guy so no idea about how to do at&t nokia lumia 1020 unlocking ? does anybody know any legitmate source or guide me how to unlock 1020 with unlock code ? what about . is it legitimate ?