What is Unlocked Phone?

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It has only been in the recent years that “unlocked” cell phones are getting more attention and consumers are learning exactly what they are. Well, at least here in North America. Unlocked phones are standard everywhere else in the world like Europe and Asia. So if you buy a phone there, you might wonder why they are more expensive than the ones in the US. It’s because these phones aren’t subsidized like the phones are here by carriers who require you to sign up for a 2-year contract. You don’t really think the carriers are giving you a $650 iPhone for $200 are you? They’re just simply spreading the cost of the phone over 2 years with the contract, which for some people is worth it. But you end up paying more for the phone in the long run.
Here are seven solid reasons why you should go unlocked.

1. Easily switch between networks
We’ve all been there – I hate (insert carrier), their coverage in (insert location) sucks! Well, with unlocked phones, you can easily switch networks while traveling or if you end up moving to another location where one carrier’s coverage is better than the other, you won’t have to choose between dealing with poor reception and early termination fees. Isn’t that refreshing? Not having to be locked into a contract?

2. Use the phone anywhere in the world that uses a GSM network
We mentioned above that you can easily switch between networks, but did you know that you can easily switch between networks internationally? That’s right! Hopping over to Europe or Asia for a vacation? No worries, because your unlocked phone can be used on any network in Europe or Asia that is on a GSM network (which pretty much is every network). Or, perhaps your kid decided to backpack around the world for a few months. Well, an unlocked phone is the device to have him or her travel with, especially if you want to stalk keep track of where they are to make sure they aren’t doing anything stupid are safe and sound.

It’s much easier to stay connected now and all you have to do is buy a local SIM card (from a convenience store or those street stands), pop it in and away you go – without paying ludicrous international roaming fees, which we’ll get to in the next point.

3. Save money in the long run
First off, since you can switch among any GSM networks, roaming fees and rates would be virtually non-existent since you’ll be using a local SIM. Even with an international plan through AT&T or Verizon can set you back quite a bit depending on how much calling and texting you do, not to mention data (unless you’re lucky enough to find Wi-Fi). This means, the only person who is paying for long distance is the person calling the local number, no double long distance fees!

Second, going unlocked allows you to shop around for the best plan anytime you want, so if there is a deal, then you can just switch since you won’t be under a contract. So in the long run, you can actually save money on plans, even though you may have to fork over more for the phone in the beginning.

4. Customize your phone for YOUR needs
One word – Bloatware. Now, when you buy a phone that has 16GB of storage, you will actually have that much space (or darn close to it) without all the carrier apps pre-installed onto the phone that you can’t uninstall. Choose the apps that you want without restrictions and customize the phone to suit you. If you’re tech savvy, you can do really cool things with an unlocked phone – like install custom ROMs, remove ads, attach a video game controller and more!

5. More phones to choose from
Each network or carrier has their own phones that you can only use with their network, but by going unlocked, you are opening the door to a world of more phone choices with other brands (like NUU Mobile) at a lower cost (but similar specs). In addition, with lower cost phones, you can also change phones more frequently without breaking the bank as new updates and technologies get introduced. Great for those who always want the latest and greatest technologies.

6. Receive software updates quicker
A lot times Google, let’s just say, will release a software update, but it takes the carrier awhile to push that out. Why? Well, carriers need to test their devices with every version of a new Android OS along with those extra carrier apps (aka bloatware), so that takes A LOT of time. Unlocked phones however, aren’t tied to any specific carrier, so they can get updates directly from the manufacturer. So if you’re still stuck with KitKat, you know why. To get more information on the Android update process, check out the NUU Mobile “Confused by the Android update process? You’re not alone.”, blog post.

7. Dual SIM phones
Tired of carrying two phones, one for business and one for personal? Or perhaps you travel between two regions regularly and have one SIM for each. For whatever reason you may want to have multiple numbers (and perhaps multiple contact lists), dual SIM phones help you keep that in one place, so you’re not searching for one phone over another and wondering which phone is ringing. You also don’t have to remember to switch SIM cards and risk the chance of losing such a small card. Besides, keeping track of one phone is better than two…now where did I leave the white phone…

Are there other benefits to unlocked phones? Share it with us – we’d love to hear your reasons why you went unlocked!

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