Options are constantly growing for each new smartphone. That’s why selecting the one best formatted for your lifestyle can be a little bit daunting. This is especially true when the connected areas such as coverage and carrier come into question. You may have already heard of an “unlocked phone”, but is it something that may better suit your needs? What even is an unlocked device?
In short, an unlocked phone is a phone that isn’t tethered to one specific carrier and can work with several others. The “lock” is really a specific code that’s put onto the phone by a certain carrier to bind it with its network.
There are more than a few reasons one might invest in an unlocked device:
You ultimately end up saving money with an unlocked phone.
The upfront price of an unlocked phone may be more than a carrier-bound option. However, you should take into consideration the other factors. Carriers tend to finance the phone, which seems like the cheaper option in the beginning. This surely ends up costing more in the end. The same goes with contracts and other fees that come with a network.
An unlocked device lets you jump carriers quickly (sort of).
Probably the most obvious benefit of having an unlocked phone, no commitment! If you’re unsatisfied with one carrier, the unlocked phone will allow you to freely hop to another network. This does, however, depend on the carrier in question (see below) and what your current contract is. Nonetheless, this device is perfect for those who aren’t set or are unsure of the carrier they need.
They’re great for traveling.
True, many networks have specialized plans for the international traveler. Some do find it easier to simply have an unlocked phone for foreign sim cards when they travel. For example, many European countries offer an international sim card that can be put into your phone and operate across several areas. This way, one can pause their current plan back in the homeland and utilize a temporary one in a new country.
Unlocked phones are a key option for those who need the latest and greatest.
Are you the kind of person who needs the new iPhone, like, yesterday? Scoring an unlocked one means you buy the phone outright and have the ability to resell it when the next generation comes out, as opposed to being stuck on a carrier’s payment plan and contract.
You’ll most likely get more when trading in an unlocked phone.
Because of the higher compatibility with an unlocked phone, it’s suggested that you get $50-75 more than with a carrier phone (PC Mag).
Looking to upgrade to an unlocked phone or trade one in? We’ve got a large inventory in several models, storage sizes and carriers waiting online, as well as competitive offers for your used unlocked handset. Browse our inventory of unlocked phones, or visit our trade-in site to get an offer on your current unlocked phone.