Quick Tips: Unlock your Huawei USB Modem

Unlock your Huawei USB modemUSB (Universal Serial Bus) modems provided by networks in Ghana are locked to specific SIM (Subscriber Identity Module). This means, for instance, if you buy a modem from Telecom company A, the modems accept SIMs only from company A’s network.

There are however a number of ways to get around this and get your modem working with all SIMs, no matter what network they belong to. I am going to take you through what I think is the simplest method.

Before I go ahead, you’re probably asking yourself, “is this legal?” In my most humble opinion (and don’t forget I am not a lawyer), these telecom companies have no business locking these modems in the first place. With the introduction of Mobile Number Portability, I think modems should be portable as well.

As already mentioned, I am not a lawyer and my opinions and/or advice may not necessary reflect the prescriptions of the law. I have not come across any law that prevents me from teaching you how this is done.

I have also not come across any law that says you cannot unlock your own modem. However, whether or not you will go ahead and do it is your own responsibility, and I cannot be responsible simply because I taught you how to. (You can actually go ahead and read on if you agree to the above stated terms. If you disagree and still feels like holding me responsible for doing what I taught you, in case of any legalities, please feel free to log off this page.)

Let’s begin:

  1. Every modem has an IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity). This number is unique for any specific mobile device. On modems, they are usually on their backs and usually a fifteen-digit number written thus: ‘IMEI: 123456789012345′. This is the number we are interested in. If you do not find this, it may be hidden under SIMs on the SIM beds (where you place the SIM in the modem). Remove your SIM and you may find it there.
  2. After grabbing your modem’s IMEI, type the following into your browser: http://bb5.at/huawei?imei=<your modem’s IMEI>. Do not press ‘enter/return’ yet. UPDATE: The bb5.at server has been down for sometime now. Click here to unlock online ». Jump to STEP 5
  3. Replace ‘<your modem’s IMEI>’ with the IMEI of you modem. For instance, if the IMEI of our test modem is 123456789012345, the address in the browser’s address bar should be: http://bb5.at/huawei?imei=123456789012345. After this we hit ‘enter/return’ on our keyboard and voila!
  4. You get a screen that gives you your unlock key (number), plus a key to flash the device (flash may actually reset your modem to factory default. I have not tried this yet). What we are interested in is the unlock key, usually 8 digits long.
  5. Grab the unlock key (copy and paste somewhere). Insert the modem into a PC (Personal Computer) and install the modem’s software if it is not already installed.
  6. After installation, remove the SIM from your modem and replace with a SIM from another network. For instance, insert SIM from network A into modem from network B (It is not supposed to work as the modem is still locked. You still have to go ahead and do it anyway).
  7. Plug the modem, now with the ‘illegal’ SIM, back into your PC. Run the modem’s software, and it will open with a dialogue box requesting for the unlock key. Paste the unlock key into the field provided in the dialogue box and hit OK. (Remember you have up to 10 tries. If the key fails, check to see that you typed your IMEI correctly and repeat the process.)

SPECIAL CASE FOR VODAFON MODEMS

Software of modems from Airtel and MTN are similar; Vodafon is different (I have never seen or used a TiGO modem so the entire process may not work for TiGO modems). Early Vodafon modems were not locked; only the modem’s software is locked. Note the distinction between the modem as a hardware, and the software for connection to the internet. This is the software I am talking about. It has been programmed to accept only Vodafon SIMs.

Softwares for Airtel and MTN are, however, universal. So for people who use the early versions of the Vodafon modem, simply insert any SIM from any network at all, and connect with an Airtel or MTN software (not the Vodafon software) and it should work (no need to unlock the modem as it is not locked).

I have seen that latest versions of the Vodafon modem is locked. If you have this type, you will know after you try the step above and you are asked for an unlock key. Just go through the process of unlocking it and REMEMBER: Even after unlocking a locked Vodafon modem, you still need to connect with an MTN or Airtel software before it works with SIMs from other networks.

Happy surfing :-)

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201 thoughts on “Quick Tips: Unlock your Huawei USB Modem

  1. @Adusei how is de launcher u talkin abt like en if posible redirect me so i download cos need it badly en tanx for ur reply

  2. plz @Adusei or any of de members here,i av de latest vodafone K4201 modem and afta unlocking it cannot connect and try to change de firmware with Mobile Partner firmwares which i av used changing original firmwares of different network moderms but tryin on dis particular modem turns Error or unsucesful so if any of u here can suggest or help me gain sucess wil b de happiest guy at dis moment.Thanks en waitin for ur comments

  3. N ATTA.. great work you have done here… i have this webbox, sim locked to vodafone. can i you help me unlock it pls….

  4. i try to unlock this zte modem but am facing this problem. after the i insert the modem in the pc the dialog box for the unlock code came up and i insert the 8 digit but the ok is not highligthed for me to click it what is the cause boss.
    IMEI :860014010351534 for huawei is 34772036- unlock
    for ZTE is 896724137798 -NCK

  5. hi thanks for the posting very helpful… i have my unlock code but can not use it. i keep getting the error “only the specified sim can be used on the device” .. need your help.. thanks

  6. please i have gotten my unlock code now but when i entered my unlock code into the pop up window it doesn’t open and the attempts keep on reducing, now it has reduce from 7 to 3 now, please help i may lock my modem.

  7. please address this problem if you can , it will help others.the new tigo modems don’t demand unlock codes,they give error messages such as (only specified sim/usim card is allow) that is if you change the original tigo sim.pls what do you suggest.

    • You may try launching the tigo modem with an airtel or mtn modem software (preferably the old versions), which would likely ask for an unlock code if the SIM is an ‘illegal’. Note that some new modems are simply unsupported by most unlocking methods.

  8. It says invalid URL..this means the website is out of order or date…you need to update or do something about it admin…thanks

  9. BOSS THANKS A LOT, however i still cant locate my imei
    plse try this for me
    model: k3772
    IMEI: 851020004450629

  10. boss, pls help me to decode this modem
    expresso
    model: AC2746
    PID: M1C/V3-A
    ESN: DD2A2ADA
    S/N: 9A2201432ADA
    PLS THERE IS NO IMEI

    • @Collins: There should be an IMEI or IMSI. If you can’t find the IMEI written on the device, You can use the menu items on the device’s software when you launch it, to find it. I use Zain, and I can find device info by going to ‘Tools’ -> ‘Diagnostics’ -> ‘Device’, from my modem software’s menu, with the modem inserted. It might be different from the one you use, but it is still there somewhere.

  11. nice initiative adusei but I am using an expresso modem and I can only find the s/n I have searched everywhere on the modem but I cannot find the imei number…I don’t really know if u could be of help. its zte AC276

      • wow! surprised! thx for asking me again…but I couldn’t, the software I am using for the modem doesn’t have the option to get the imei number I don’t know if you could suggest an appropriate software which can help me find the imei number for the expresso modem (zte) and decode it too. I don’t know if I am wasting your time because seems your blog was mainly for Huawei modems …sorry and thanks in advance bro!

      • joe, thanks for ur reply, just that i cant find my Imei too for my kasapa usb modem. i appreciate your concern, thank you

  12. Thanks for your marvelous posting! I really enjoyed reading it, you
    might be a great author. I will be sure to bookmark your blog and will eventually come back at some point.
    I want to encourage you to definitely continue your great writing,
    have a nice afternoon!

    • Thank you boss.
      But I still have a problem. I’m not asked for the unlock code. All the program says is “wrong sim card”.
      Is there somewhere I can go to enter this unlock code? My modems are both vodafone.
      I tried what you said about the special case for vodafon modems but it didnt work.

      • I have noticed latest versions of the Vodafon Lite modem software may be the cause of some of these problems. Uninstall all modem software from your PC, restart PC and reinstall only one of either MTN, glo, or Airtel software (older version recommended). Insert modem to see if process works. Gimme fedback.

  13. plz i would like u to help me with my vodafone modem.IMEI-861020009400728.wil be glad to hear from u bro

  14. tankx very much for ur guide lines hope next tym u will teach as how to bowser free n if u no dat one too pls come n teach us becoz thess pple are chopin our moies 4 free bonto

  15. pls,i tried several times and now left with five tries but i could not do it so pls help me.the imei number i use is perfectly correct and the code too. i use vodafone huawei k3772 with imei of 861020005278888. i just decoded a friends mtn modem for him using the same methods.

  16. pls help me. i tried the steps u outlined and i’ve gotten the unlocking code but when i enterd the new sim card,they tell me registration failed.

  17. N Atta, this is a marvellous initiative, think I should also resort to helping others solve their problems over the net but for now I’d just stick to asking your help
    CAN YOU PLEASE HELP WITH THIS IMEI=865633013039104
    please help me unlock my modem, thanks in advance.

  18. Thanks so much for your effort. I would be glad if you will be of assistance to me. My modem’s IMEI is 860015015988857

  19. when i followed your link to download the master unlocker it said it has been deleted so please here is my imei kindly decode it for me i will be grate full
    861976003294682

  20. Found modem : E1731
    Model : Huawei E1731
    IMEI : 863791010347136
    Serial NR. : D6G4CA9250828658
    Firmware : 21.157.31.00.284
    Compile date / time : Mar 17 2012 12:15:53
    Dashboard version : UTPS21.005.22.03.284_MAC21.005.22.04.284_LNX21.005.22.03.284
    Chipset : Qualcomm
    Voice feature : enabled
    SIM Lock status : Locked (CardLock) please unlock process and steps help me

  21. Found modem : E1731
    Model : Huawei E1731
    IMEI : 863791010347136
    Serial NR. : D6G4CA9250828658
    Firmware : 21.157.31.00.284
    Compile date / time : Mar 17 2012 12:15:53
    Dashboard version : UTPS21.005.22.03.284_MAC21.005.22.04.284_LNX21.005.22.03.284
    Chipset : Qualcomm
    Voice feature : enabled
    SIM Lock status : Locked (CardLock) please help me

  22. Found modem : E1731
    Model : Huawei E1731
    IMEI : 863791010347136
    Serial NR. : D6G4CA9250828658
    Firmware : 21.157.31.00.284
    Compile date / time : Mar 17 2012 12:15:53
    Dashboard version : UTPS21.005.22.03.284_MAC21.005.22.04.284_LNX21.005.22.03.284
    Chipset : Qualcomm
    Voice feature : enabled
    SIM Lock status : Locked (CardLock)

  23. Thank you, I am using Airtel Modem but when I inserted the other sim the dialogue box requesting for the unlock key did no appear

    • @Sam: Please insert SIM from a different network. You should also make sure you are opening with the modem’s own software, not some third party software. Otherwise, your modem is UNLOCKED already. Try connecting to the internet and see if that works. Please gimme feedback asap. Your welcome!

  24. sir,
    Could you please tell if TATA Photon plus EC 156 can also be unlocked with the above steps ???

    • @Rajesh: I do not know much about TATA Photon plus EC modems, but a little research I have done indicates that their modems are huawei models. If so, then the above steps should work perfectly. Please try it, and give me feedback asap. Thx.

  25. Pingback: How do I port forward a Belkin wireless router?

  26. I still have a problem, when I insert the new sim card, still need to make some change in the setting of the monitors software.
    Good idea Atta, thanks alot

  27. all i just pray is to for you to arrive at a point of hacking into banking systems then i will choose you to be my friend for some months

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