What is an 'Unlocked' Cell phone?

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by mattbuddy, Jan 19, 2009.

  1. mattbuddy

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    I am trying to buy a new phone, but my phone's 2 year plan doesn't go until 6 months from now. My phone is a piece of crap and I want to get a new one ASAP. I was looking on ebay at a nice phone, but it says it's UNLOCKED. If i would buy this phone, that is compatible with my AT&T provider, will it just work once I get it and place my SIM card in it? I don't know anything about unlocked cell phones and how they work. I know I just want to get a new phone and I think this is the only way I can do that without paying 400 bucks on a new phone before my 2 years.

    Anyone Know? I sure don't...:redface:
     
  2. new_n_curious

    new_n_curious New Member

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    Unlocked means it should take any sim.
     
  3. mattbuddy

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    Ok, sweet! So if I buy this new phone, I should be just fine then as long as I keep my old sim card and just slip it in? ....I guess I don't know if they would even know? Or if my bill would change...
     
  4. lucky8

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    Ya if your phone is unlocked, you can use any service provider...most providers unlock them for free if you tell them you're going out of the country. They won't know, or particularly care if your phone is unlocked, you won't be charged extra for having one. Unlocked also means you can put 3rd party apps on your phone, a definate plus in my book
     
  5. Phil Ayesho

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    Caveat.
    There are LOTS of different kinds of cell phone services...

    You have to make sure it uses the same frequencies, and same protocols as the phone you are replacing.


    Most newer phones are mulitband... but even phones built for European markets often do not have the ability to connect over certain US networks.

    For example... the Motorola RAZOR comes in a 3 band and a four band version.
    For certain US carriers you have to have that fourth band.

    Also- if you currently have a 3G service, make sure the unlocked phone you are getting is also 3G.
     
  6. smurfpotter624

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    Also note that some providers' technology will limit the usefulness of the unlocked phone.

    For example, on Alltel, it is likely that without the Alltel software on the phone (meaning that the phone was originally with Alltel), you will only be able to make/receive phone calls and possibly send/receive text messages. Web/App functions will most likely not work.

    To be sure, check with you cell phone carrier. The answer can be found by searching their website's FAQs usually.
     
  7. vince

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    That sucks. Where I live all the phones are unlocked. You just buy the damn phone and stick any SIM in it.

    Well maybe not the iphone, I don't know about it. It's only been officially on the market for a couple of months. Two of my friends have older unlocked iphones and they work fine.
     
  8. pallat1991

    pallat1991 New Member

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    ya,I agree with you.Unlocked means you will be able to put any kind of sim card in your mobile.Most of the service providers offer free unlocking service.Recently i bought new mobile phone From USA.That seller told my mobile already unlocked.But i returned my country.I put my own sim card in my mobile.My mobile needed network restriction code.I guess my mobile not unlocked,which is locked to any one of the USA network provider.So i needed to unlock my mobile phone.I asked my friends.One of my friend suggest try to buy a online service.Then i searched lot of unlocking service providers.I bought free unlock code from one service providers.I put that code in my mobile.But i got code error message.So i don't trust any free service provider.Then i moved to paid service.I bought paid unlock code from Unlocking4u.com Here i received my unlock code through e-mail.I easily unlocked my mobile within a day.I had never problem with their services.
     
  9. bicuriousbc

    bicuriousbc Member

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    Buying 2 unlocked iPhones from apple for my adult kids.
     
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