Having an unlocked phone is obviously the better option, so you may be wondering why people buy locked phones in the first place. Well, it is because carriers sell locked phones at a much cheaper price. They sometimes even give them for free under certain conditions: you have to sign up for a two-year plan (or longer) and use only their network services. This way, the carriers will actually get more money from you than if you had bought the unlocked version of the phone.
The value of unlocked phones becomes obvious when you realize you can purchase a pre-paid or monthly plan from a number of carriers for about the same price as 100 discounted roaming minutes with Rogers. If you purchased a smartphone at a discount with a contract extension, likely your phone is carrier-locked. It means that using a SIM card from another carrier will not work. In Canada/US, iPhone 4 and 4s models are unlocked only when purchased from or authorized retailer (not mobile phone stores). , but generally speaking, unlocked phones do not qualify for purchase subsidy, and therefore cost more.
If you are an international traveller and plan on purchasing a new phone, make sure it is not carrier-locked, but rather a complete unlocked phone in which other carrier SIM cards will function.
Many people ask the question: "What is an unlocked cell phone?" In order to answer that, we must first look at how the cell phone industry works. The preceding question will most likely apply to T-Mobile and Cingular/AT&T customers.
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A phone that is locked is programmed to work only with a specific mobile phone carrier. Without unlocking the phone, it is not possible to use it with another carrier. Unlocking a phone requires changing its internal programming. This allows the phone to work with other carriers. Some people with specialized technical knowledge buy mobile phones, unlock them and resell them online at a profit. Sometimes a mobile phone carrier will also unlock a phone for a customer who is terminating her account.
Locked & Unlocked Cell Phones - Kmart
Mobile phones are expensive devices to produce, and the most powerful phones are worth hundreds of dollars. However, consumers are rarely willing to spend several hundred dollars on a new phone. To entice potential customers, carriers subsidize part of the cost of a new phone to make it inexpensive or free to the consumer. In return, the consumer signs a contract pledging to remain a customer for a certain number of years. Over those years, the carrier recoups the expense of the subsidy. Carriers typically charge fees to customers who terminate their contracts early. Locking a phone provides an additional incentive for the customer to stay with the carrier.
Although these issues are annoying, the biggest problem with locked phones occurs when you travel. This is because you may venture outside of areas covered by your network provider. Roaming charges are expensive even for local calls when you are out of your coverage zone. One way around this is to buy a local, pre-paid SIM card. However, if you have a locked phone, you will not be able to use any SIM cards other than those from your carrier.
In this edition of her advice column, CNET's Marguerite Reardon explains the differences between locked and unlocked phones and helps a reader figure out ...What Is an Unlocked Cell Phone?. Cellphones in the U.S. work on either System for Mobile Communications or Code Division Multiple Access technology. This means your ...Don't buy an iCloud-locked iPhone, it's probably stolen Luckily for most consumers, iPhone theft has decreased significantly since Apple introduced iCloud locking the ...Unlocking your smartphone is allows you to use your smartphone on different carriers. So if you have a phone that takes a SIM card, or you can use a SIM card from another carrion in your country. Some phones are called ‘International’ phones and can support a number of broadbands, so if you unlock your phone, you can take it overseas and use it there.