A Brief Guide to Unlocked Cell Phones

iPhoneGetting an unlocked phone gives consumers more freedom and flexibility. Consumers are free to choose the brand and model of cellphone they prefer, rather than be limited by the offerings of their desired service provider.

Consumers with their own unlocked phones can sign on to a cell phone service provider that accepts users who bring their own phones. This is in contrast to the traditional set-up of being bound to a cell phone contract that provided for the use of a locked cell phone.


So what’s the difference between an unlocked and a locked phone?

A locked mobile phone is tied to a specific network or phone provider. It has a lock in the form of a software code limiting the usage of the phone outside a particular cellular network. This code will not allow the phone to be used under a different provider, unless another code is entered to unlock the device. This usually comes with a contract that binds the user or the account owner for a year or two. The user is tied to a contract to make sure that the provider will be able to get or earn back the lost revenue for providing the phone for free or at a much lower cost.

On the other hand, an unlocked cellphone is not tied to a particular network or provider and is not bound by a contract. Having an unlocked phone will give you more freedom. It can be used under any carrier. The unlocked phone will easily recognize the SIM card that you will put in, and use the services of the provider where the SIM came from. You can use your unlocked phone to make calls and texts right away. Your phone will work under any provider or network.

Unlocked phones are available for the latest iOS (iPhones) and Android (Samsung Galaxy, LG etc) phone models. An example of a popular unlocked Android phone is the BLU R1 HD.

Savings From Paying Upfront

The unlocked phone is suited for anyone who wants more flexibility and save money. If you can afford to pay the full cost of a cellphone, it is often less expensive to pay for the unlocked phone upfront, as compared to paying for it through a monthly payment contract program.

Choose the Brand & Model You Like

This will also benefit phone users who desire the flexibility to choose a certain phone model and use it with a preferred network. Some users have already own the phone they received through a previous company, and they want to have it unlocked to work with another cell phone company. Essentially, consumers are free to switch providers while keeping the mobile phone they already have. Often, people switch because of plan features or when they can save more with another company, usually through a prepaid plan.

Amazon offers a great selection of unlocked phones, and in addition, they have launched a new Amazon Exclusive Phones program.

For Travels Overseas

Unlocked phones will also benefit you if you are a frequent traveler. If you travel to other countries, all you need to do is insert a SIM card from that country and you can easily change your phone’s network. You need not worry anymore about getting roaming charges.

Why was the iPhone treated by carriers differently before?

In the past, carriers like AT&T treated the iPhone differently because they did not want their customers to just get the phone, and then use the services of another provider.

Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act

It was in August 2014 when President Barack Obama signed the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act into a law and made it legal to unlock all phones. Provisions of this act allow the unlocking of the device to be initiated by the owner or upon the direction of the owner to connect to a wireless telecommunications network as long as it is authorized by the operator of such network.

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