Unlocked smartphones are those not tied to any cellular company contract. They are also called network-neutral phones because a sim card from any phone network can work with such a phone. Locked smartphones, on the other hand, can only work with sim cards from the company that provided you with the cell phone.
In most western countries telephone companies offer phones at a very low purchase price as long as you sign a contract to pay off the rest of the cost as well as use their voice and internet service for a period of 1 to 2 years. While the advantage is that you can get quality smartphones at a low cost, the 2-year contract is quite restrictive and you’ll have to pay penalty costs if you want to cancel the contract to switch to a different cell phone provider or even to get a different phone.
How To Unlock Your Smartphone
It used to be against the law to unlock a phone provided on contract by a cellular provider. However, network providers are now required to unlock your phone for free as long as you have paid off the contract. If you are still on contract most providers will unlock your phone for free if you are traveling outside the country, as long as your monthly payments are up to date.
Does It Make Sense To Have An Unlocked Smartphone?
Purchasing an unlocked phone usually costs higher than purchasing a contract phone, at least on the shorter term. However, there are a few advantages to owning an unlocked smartphone.
First of all, you can switch data plan providers whenever you want, taking advantage of the best network deals in the market. Nowadays you can even get an unlocked phone that works with both GSM and CDMA sim cards making switching across cellular networks very easy.
Secondly, having an unlocked smartphone allows you to install any phone and application updates that become available. Locked smartphones don’t allow users to make any changes to their phones’ software. To make matters worse, network providers usually don’t provide software updates. Additionally, they fill users’ phone memories with applications that they may not need or value. Having an unlocked smartphone gives you full control over your phone’s applications and upgrades.
Cheap Unlocked Smartphones
If you are in the US and can’t afford to pay $600 for a new iPhone you can choose to buy one on loan from Apple. They have a plan that allows you to pay for your phone over a period of 24 months with an option to upgrade to a newer handset after 12 payments.
Another great option is to buy Motorola handsets as their unlocked versions are relatively cheap. The Moto G4 Plus retails for about $400, Motorola Droid Turbo 2 for less than $100, and Moto X Pure for around $150. These handsets all have smartphone functionalities and work with any cellular network.
Finally, Samsung also has a great unlocked phone at a great price. The Samsung Galaxy S6 has all the features you need in a smartphone while working with any network. The phone currently retails for less than $200.