Many, if not most, mobile phone buyers plan to buy their next phones from their local cellular carrier along with a phone plan. For many, this is a convenient option due in part to the ability to make calls and send messages right away. Unfortunately, these phones can then only be used on that particular carrier’s network. Worse, these phones also come with contracts, which are rarely written in the favour of the buyer. Therefore, there are many benefits associated with buying an unlocked phone as opposed to a locked phone bought from a major carrier.
What They Are
You need to understand exactly what it means to have an unlocked phone before you buy one. You must also know what a locked phone is and the difference between the two. Once you understand this difference, you can begin your search for a brand-new mobile phone.
A locked phone is purchased from a particular carrier and has been programmed to only work with that carrier’s SIM cards. These usually come with a subscriber contract that ties you down for one, though often two, years. Most major carriers choose to lock their phones so they can subsidise their cost to entice customers to purchase them. To earn back the lost revenue, they lock this subscriber into a contract with a monthly fee that is often inflated.
Unlocked mobile phones are not tied to a particular network provider. They can be used with any cellular carrier that uses GSM, or Global System for Mobile Communications. GSM is a standard used by most providers across the globe, and an unlocked phone can recognise a SIM card from any GSM network. It will then use that network to make calls, send messages, and use other forms of data. You are also never required to sign a contract, making this the more reasonable and practical option for most.
Increased Network Compatibility
Unlocked phones are not programmed to work with just one network, allowing users to switch GSM networks at will whenever necessary. This is a huge boon for those who frequently travel for work or fun, as it gives them access to the best networks in their current area whenever they need them. Once they leave a certain network’s coverage zone, they can simply switch over to the new network.
Unlocked phones appear more expensive at first glance due to the fact that you must pay the phone’s retail price up front. The savings begin monthly, as you do not have to pay a substantial monthly bill to keep your services running. You can change network providers at any time without having to wait for the contract to expire or pay for termination fees. As these are often in the hundreds, this is a significant amount of savings. If you have a smaller budget, simply use prepaid SIM cards with lower call and messaging rates.
There are more benefits associated with unlocked phones, such as no roaming charges and more than one network option. If you find yourself in a different part of Australia every few months or flying overseas for business trips, it is important that you consider an unlocked phone. This will save you hundreds each year in data and roaming charges, and the monthly fee is never inflated the way it is with a contract. This is a way to free yourself of a single network and work or travel with more freedom.