What are Unlocked Cell Phones?
Cell phone providers often carry handsets with a variety of features to entice their subscribers to purchase them. Also, many providers use these cell phones as promotions to get you to sign an extended contract with them. You will typically get the phone itself for free when signing up for a one or two year service contract with them. These are great deals if you are sure you want to commit to that particular service provider for an extended period of time. However, the drawback to these is that the handsets are only able to be used with that particular provider. To use it elsewhere you will have to get unlocked cell phones.
Because the cell phones used at providers are only able to use their service plans, if you decide to change, you will need to get another phone entirely. Changing providers will render the cell phone completely useless. If, however, you have unlocked cell phones, you can take those phones to any provider and switch it out as necessary. The advantage of unlocked cell phones is that you can invest in the unlocked cell phones with the features and gadgets you want without having to commit to a particular provider.
In addition, if you at some time decide to change, unlocked cell phones can be portable to your next provider. You can even use unlocked cell phones with pre paid calling plans. The use of unlocked cell phones is much more advantageous for number of reasons; however cell services try to limit its use. The providers often do not carry unlocked cell phones so that they can use their proprietary phones as incentives for a long term commitment. Depending on your needs, this can be advantageous but you should be certain you want to stay with that carrier for the contract term.
You can typically get unlocked cell phones on the Internet and in retail locations that are unaffiliated with a particular provider. Generally electronics stores and even supercenters will have unlocked cell phones available for purchase. The disadvantage, though, of buying unlocked cell phones from these locations is that you will have to pay a premium price for them. You will pay full retail price for the unlocked cell phones as opposed to getting a locked one at a significant discount or even free from a service provider.
If you do not want to commit to a provider but know the features and styles of unlocked cell phones you want, this may be worth it to spend the extra money. You will be able to invest in your unlocked cell phones and use it with whatever provider you wish and you may even change plans at any time. However, if you are on a tighter budget, it may not be worth it to buy unlocked cell phones when you can get the same features for much less. In these instances, unlocked cell phones can be too expensive.
However, if you opt to not get unlocked cell phones, make sure you research the provider you choose very carefully. You want to ensure you have a plan that suits both your needs and your budget. You should also do some research using independent rating sites so that you know what you will expect in the form of coverage area, reliability and customer service. Instead of buying unlocked cell phones for one hundred to three hundred dollars plus adding your usage, you can get a free phone and simply pay for your usage. Keep in mind, though, that cancellation policies for cellular contracts often require a large sum of money so that you may be better off paying that up front with the unlocked cell phones as opposed to on the back end if you are no longer satisfied with the carrier you use.