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. He is also the 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 watches. He has been reviewing laptops since 2015 and is particularly fond of 2-in-1 convertibles, ARM processors, new form factors, and thin-and-light PCs. 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.