You do not need to be a phone guru to have a working Phone.
But if there is one thing you need to learn about cell phones, you should know the whole deal with unlocked phones.
It changes almost anything you’d want to do with a smartphone outside of day-to-day use.
You are unlocking matters if you’re switching carriers, buying a used or new phone, going travelling.
The good news? It’s not complicated.
The bad news: helpful information on unlocked phones is kind of hard to come by.
A lot of tips and tricks out there only apply to the US and not Canada. Not to mention the number of acronyms and outdated information that can make your heart race.
For the sake of clarity, here is your definitive guide to unlocked phones.
What is an Unlocked cell Phone?
An open phone is working on any wireless system.
Locked phones, on the other hand, can be used on one.
For instance, if I had an unlocked phone, I could pick a plan with Rogers, Koodo, Bell, or most other carriers. However, if I had a phone locked to Telus, I wouldn’t be able to get the phone to work using a Rogers SIM card (without unlocking the phone first, that is).
Were you wondering about the technology behind this? The short answer is that a lock is a capability in the phone’s software by the manufacturer.
Wireless carriers use this lock to restrict the use of the phone to their networks.
An unlocked phone is without a carrier-specific lock built-in or one that has had this software lock uninstalled.
Difference Between Locked And Unlocked cell Phones
- Unlocked phones work on almost any wireless carrier. Instead, locked phones work with one carrier.
- Making sure you don’t switch carriers is the main idea behind unlocked phones. A locked telephone can change phone numbers, owners and specific plans, but not carriers.
- unlocked phones are easier to update and out perform locked phones in performance.
Note: thanks to a recent law in Canada effective December 2017. new phones offered by carriers are unlocked. So if you bought a phone before that date, assume you have a locked phone.
- if you have a locked phone, you can unlock it through your wireless service provider.
- The easiest way to test your phone’s lock status is by using a SIM card from a different carrier.
- The locked message appears on the display when a new SIM card from a different carrier is in use.
An open phone works on any wireless network. Locked phones, on the other hand, can only be used on one. So, for instance, if I had an unlocked phone, I could pick a plan with Rogers, Koodo, Bell, or other carriers.
Why Do Carriers Lock Their cell Phones?
Your service provider locks their mobile phones to keep you from switching to another carrier.
Phone locks ensure that the provider remains your business until you change to a new page.
When asked about this practice, the carriers argued that locks help protect their property.
When you get a phone on a contract, you’re not getting a phone for free or at a discount.
Instead, you pay off the remaining cost of the device throughout your contract.
Carriers say that locking the phone helps ensure that you fully repay them for the phone by keeping you from wandering to another provider.
These locks are increasingly crucial to carriers as new competition enters the Canadian marketplace and offers better deals to cell phone consumers. As a result, locked phones are a point of tension between service providers.
Thankfully, Canada has banned locked phones since December 2017, which means you can unlock your phone for free as of then.
Why Would I Want to unlatched My cell Phone?
The most crucial reason you’d want to unlock your phone is to increase the number of carriers you can use. It’s beneficial to you in 2 ways.
First, if you’re a jet-settler, you can switch to different available wireless service providers to avoid roaming fees when you’re travelling. Second, buy a SIM from a local service provider; this way, you’ll have a local number and pay local prices for calls and messages.
Second, unlocked phones don’t come with long-term carrier contracts. That means you can change carriers when you see an opening for more favourable rates or services. So if you hate calling customer service or can’t handle any more dropped calls, you should jump for joy.
Customers of used phones are willing to pay more for an unlocked device. For example, the resale price of an unlocked phone is up to 35% higher than for a locked one.
How do you know if the cell phone is unlocked?
Your phone is unlocked if you bought it directly from Apple and paid for it in full. (example, no 2-year carrier contract or $300 special promotions). But, of course, you could always purchase unlocked cell phones from sites similar to ours.
When you purchase a phone from a carrier, it comes out of the box locked. You can ask your side to unlock your phone free of charge. Still, it’s important to note that it doesn’t happen automatically after your contract ends. You’ll need to call and ask them to unlock it explicitly.
An unlocked phone will look similar to a locked phone. And also, there is no way to tell the difference through the settings.
For instance, the Carrier section of your phone’s settings only tells you which carrier’s SIM was last in the phone; it will never indicate “Unlocked.”
Should I Use An Unlocking Service For My Phone?
You may be considering unlocking your phone at the mall or cell phone repair shop.
Our advice? Don’t! Instead, call your carrier.
The only way to unlock your phone is through your carrier. After that, unlocking works by the page contacting Apple, Apple verifying the open, and officially recording the phone as unlocked to their network.
The majority of websites or stores that offer to unlock are “Grey Market” services. They use “suppliers” that can slip your phone’s info into a carrier’s list of phones to open.
So when the page contacts Apple, they unknowingly unlock your phone.
Carriers are unhappy with the grey market and occasionally check their list of newly unlocked phones. And flag illegitimate opened with Apple and have it relocked.
What does that mean for you? Suddenly, updating your phone’s software will lock itself and be usable with the original carrier. That’s why the grey market unlocking is so unreliable and potentially a massive waste of money.
You can purchase an unlocked phone directly from Apple or buy one from us.
If you just purchased a phone, you can unlock it after 90 days of using it with your carrier or immediately if you’ve paid for the device in full. That is good news!
The bad news is that you’ll pay out-of-pocket for the service. For example, Rogers charges $50, Bell charges $70, and Freedom charges $30. But, again, a quick view of your carrier’s website should tell you the details.