Unlocked v. Locked Cell Phones
Is your cell phone unlocked? Surprisingly, this question has a variety of answers. For those curious about what it means to have a locked or unlocked cell phone, I’m here to clear the air up a bit.
If, you’ve recently purchased a phone from a carrier network store, like AT&T. You have more than likely been given a “locked” phone. “Whoa, wait. What does that mean?” Don’t get alarmed. A locked cell phone isn’t a bad thing. Take a deep breath and stay with me.
Essentially, a “locked” phone implies, you are only able to access that specific carrier network for the duration of your contract, such as: AT&T or Verizon. Still with me? Good.
Now, your “unlocked” phones are a little less straight-forward, but just as easily acquired. Authorized retailers, such as Amazon and Best Buy carry unlocked cell phones. And don’t worry buying an “unlocked” cell phone is not weird or anything. Actually, it is a growing practice around the world.
So, you’re wondering. What is an unlocked phone good for? Buying an unlocked phone means that you are going to be paying the full retail price for the phone *ouch*, but what that gives you is two things, A) You get the phone, you really want & B) You get to choose whatever plans or carrier you’d like.
The option of going with something that does not require an annual contract is a viable option. In fact, it’s getting rather popular these days, and the prepaid plans are available across the board. Even for those sweet, sweet smartphones. Now, I’m not going to lie there’s an activation fee for them, but over time you’ll start to see that investment pay off.
Also, these phones are great for international travel, because you just “pop” out your SIM card and insert an international SIM, so you don’t have to worry about any roaming charges while you’re out backpacking through Europe.
Does it matter?
Locked or unlocked? In the end, the difference between the two is going to come down to the user and exactly what that person needs from their phone. It’s up to each person to isolate their own needs and make the best choice for their lifestyle.