How To Unlock The ZTE ZMAX Z970 Smart Phone

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How To Unlock The ZTE ZMAX Z970 Smart Phone*

ZTE ZMAX Z970

The ZTE ZMAX Z970 is a GMS (Global Mobile System) Phone. Contrary to a CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) Phone, a GMS Phone can be unlocked and used on competing networks. The ZTE ZMAX Z970 phone was originally designed for the T-Mobile network, but once unlocked, it can be used on competing national or local networks such as AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, Consumer Cellular, etc.; or international networks, which saves you money on local, long distance and international calls, when you travel aboard. An unlocked GMS Phone is network-agnostic.

To use a competing SIM (Subscriber Identity Mobile) Card in the ZTE ZMAX Z970, it must be unlocked first. How do you unlock it?

Unlocking The ZTE ZMAX Z970

Unlocking the phone is easier said than done. Unless the phone is paid for in full, you must wait for at least 3 months before T-Mobile or metroPCS will issue the unlock code. With that delay in mind, here is how to proceed:

  • Call T-Mobile or metroPCS to request the code. The code won’t be issued unless you have an email address. It won’t be texted either.

You’ll be asked to provide your account information and the phone’s IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) number, which is located on the back of the phone on a sticker label at the very bottom. If the label is missing or the IMEI number erased, type *#06# on your phone’s dial pad. The following information will be displayed on your phone screen:

  • IMEI/SVN: 812345678912345/05*

* The above IMEI number is fictitious. Your cell phone’s IMEI number will be different.

You’ll receive an email from either T-Mobile or metroPCS, depending on your carrier, with the following information:

  • Sim Unlock Reference number: 345678 (made up Sim Unlock Reference number),
  • IEMI number: 812345678912345/05 ( assumed IEMI number),
  • Unlock Code number: 7890123456789012 (once again, this is a fictitious Unlock Code number, your unlock code will be different), and
  • Instructions about how to unlock the phone. The instructions, per T-Mobile, are as follows:
  1. Place the Non T-Mobile SIM Card into the device and turn on device.
  2. Press the Center select key.
  3. The phone will display a screen to enter the unlock code.
  4. Enter the unlock code that was provided.
  5. Press the Center select key

The instructions come with a warning: If you enter the wrong Device Unlock code multiple times, the device will lock permanently.

Against All Odds

Well, we did everything we were instructed to do, and were still unable to unlock the phone. We made a phone call anyway, it did not go through. We were prompted to provide our account number, which we did, and were told the account number was invalid. That was untrue. It turned out that to unlock the phone, the new SIM Card must be activated first.

To activate the new SIM Card, you can do so online, or you must call the new carrier, which will ask you for the ZTE ZMAX Z970‘s IMEI number (read the above instructions to determine the IMEI number).

The new carrier will use the disclosed IMEI number to remotely unlock the phone and to activate the SIM Card. It will take 2hrs to 24hrs for the SIM Card to be activated. To test the SIM Card activation, the new carrier will give you a phone number to call. Dial the number every 2 hours to check the status of the activation. When you successfully make and receive a phone call, then the phone unlocking and new SIM Card activation process have been successful.

It’s worth noting that the new carrier didn’t even ask for the unlock code provided by T-Mobile to unlock the phone. It was determined based on phone brand, model, and the IMEI number provided. The phone has been unlocked without following any of T-Mobile‘s or metroPCS‘ instructions, on our end.

How to Install the New SIM Card

  • Turn off the phone.
  • Remove the original SIM Card with the provided tray eject tool (view the pictures and watch the video – to come soon).
  • Insert the new SIM Card into the phone’s SIM Card Slot.
  • Turn the phone back on. The new network information will be displayed at the bottom of your phone screen, below Long press screen to unlock (see cell phone’s screen pictures: original network T-Mobile; new network CC Network). Finally,
  • Make a test call. If it goes through, the process has been successfully completed.

Success is within reach if…

Note that you may succeed in unlocking the phone by following T-Mobile‘s or metroPCS‘ instructions, if it is a simple case of swapping already activated identical SIM cards (same size, but different serial numbers and networks), but if the SIM Card from the other phone is different (in size) from the ZTE ZMAX Z970‘s, a new Micro SIM Card must be ordered from the carrier or purchased at a local cell phone store to successfully unlock the phone and activate the SIM Card. Enjoy!

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