Unlocked phones are dominating the market all over the world, especially in the UK. You must be wondering why it is happening and what advantages an unlocked phone give.
What is an unlocked Phone?
A phone that is unlocked does not contain software that restricts it to a single mobile carrier. This means that users can transfer service providers or SIM cards on their smartphone without the device restricting access. A locked phone, on the other hand, is only compatible with the network of the carrier from which it was purchased. For instance, a locked AT&T phone is only compatible with the AT&T network. Meanwhile, a Verizon phone that is locked will only function on the Verizon network. Even with a distinct SIM card inserted, the phone will restrict access to other carrier plans.
If you wish to use your restricted phone with a different carrier, this software must be removed. It is not as straightforward as resetting the device to factory settings. Even hacking your phone is not always sufficient. Either this software was never deployed on unlocked phones, or it has been eliminated. When it comes to compatibility, there are unlocked phones that are compatible with either (or both) CDMA and GSM networks. Unlocked phones are distinguished by their ability to be used on multiple networks without carrier-imposed restrictions.
Due to the restrictions imposed by locked phones, many individuals favour unlocked devices. There are numerous advantages to selecting an unlocked device, including increased consumer choice and travel convenience.
Most networks lock devices and mobile phones to their network because it aids in customer retention. Since they are still bound by the 24-month agreement, it is common for contract customers to receive free phone unlocking. On the other hand, since pay as you go consumers are typically not required to remain with their network, their phones are more likely to be locked and more likely to incur a fee if unlocking is necessary. In exchange for locking your phone to their network, many network providers offer contracts and bundles that include the monthly cost of the phone. However, the issue is that being tied to one network is rarely advantageous for the user and prevents you from getting better offers, even if you are no longer bound by a contract. When your phone is unlocked, you can instantaneously switch to a different network to take advantage of better prices, coverage, and customer service, among other benefits.
Utilise Your Cell Phone Anywhere
If your phone is limited to a particular network, travelling can be difficult. This is especially true right now, as many mobile networks have reinstated EU roaming fees for UK consumers since Brexit. Therefore, when you travel, you will be unable to use your normal minutes, texts, and data and will be required to pay often costly roaming fees. To circumvent this, you may wish to purchase a local SIM card at your destination, fill it up, and insert it into your phone in order to pay local fees and avoid additional charges. If your phone is secured, you will be unable to perform this action. Obtaining an unlocked phone or having your current handset unlocked can make travel more affordable and flexible.
Even though some networks will charge you a fee to activate your phone, the expense is typically justified by the savings you will realise eventually. Often, the deals that mobile networks offer initially appear to be very appealing, purchasing a brand-new handset at full price from a network, for example, you can browse around for your phone and buy a refurbished unit. Additionally, the ability to transfer between networks at any time without a minimum contract term can result in substantial savings over time.
Get More Coverage
What happens if you relocate out of your carrier’s coverage area with a locked phone? The good news is that most networks in the United Kingdom have some coverage in every region of the country. However, some networks have much greater coverage than others. Having an unlocked phone without contract commitments allows you to check coverage from other networks, weigh your options, and switch to the one that will provide the best service, as opposed to continuing to suffer needlessly.
When purchasing a locked phone directly from a mobile network, you typically have limited options. Much of the time, the phone handsets listed by mobile networks are the most profitable because they are the ones they want to see. Most of the time, if you visit the store section of a network’s website, you will only find the most recent and most expensive handset releases, with perhaps a few options from the previous year. Conversely, if you purchase unlocked and are not interested in signing a contract with your new smartphone, you have a much larger selection of 5G smartphones to choose from.
Reduced Cost Should You Lose Your Phone
While it is always a good idea to insure your phone against loss to avoid being out of pocket if you lose it, the consequences of losing a locked phone differ from those of losing an unrestricted phone. If you lose a locked phone that is linked to a contract, you will need to find a replacement phone and continue paying for the handset that you no longer have, which is rolled into your monthly payments, unless your insurance company covers the cost. In contrast, if you have an unlocked phone and are not tied into a contract, losing or having your phone stolen does not require you to continue losing money on it; you can simply replace it.
A mobile contract with a secure phone can occasionally pose a credit risk. Many of us have little to no idea what our financial situation will be in two or even one year. Most of us would like it to be at least comparable to or better than it is now, but the future is unpredictable. There may be business failures, layoffs, a rise in the cost of living that eats deeper into your budget, and global pandemics. The reality is that just because you can reasonably afford a £60 per month phone contract now does not mean the same will be true in a year or 18 months, and your mobile network will not care if your financial situation changes. While most companies have strategies in place to assist customers with payment difficulties, it can still reflect negatively on your credit file, making it more difficult to obtain loans, credit cards, auto financing, and even mortgages in the future.
No Risk of Disconnection
Most of us use our phones to remain in touch with loved ones and even for work. In continuation of the previous point, if you find yourself in a position where you can no longer afford your phone bill, you may be disconnected from service. This indicates that your provider will terminate your phone’s service, preventing you from making calls, sending messages, or accessing the internet. Using Wi-Fi can help you bypass this at home, but it prevents you from contacting anyone else – and in some cases, it prevents others from contacting you. With an unlocked phone and no contract, you are in charge and there is no risk of being disconnected because you are not required to make payments.
Better Resale Value
Finally, when upgrading to a new phone, many of us sell our old phones. In general, an unlocked phone will fetch a higher price and sell more quickly than a restricted phone due to its larger market. Unlocked phones can be used by anyone, as opposed to only those on the network to which they are secured.