What is an Unlocked Mobile Phone & Should You Get One?

It’s possible that while exploring all the options available to you as a consumer when it comes to mobile phones, you’ve come across something called an ‘unlocked mobile phone.’

These aren’t necessarily new, but they are slightly less known than the standard options.

So what is an unlocked phone?

What do you need to know about unlocked phones before getting one yourself? That’s what we’re going to answer right now.

What Is an Unlocked Phone?

Unlocked mobile devices are smartphones that aren’t locked into a single carrier type. As the owner of the phone, you’ve got a level of flexibility with an unlocked phone that doesn’t exist with a carrier-locked phone. You can switch between carriers by swapping the SIM whenever you’re ready to move on.

Phones provided by carriers come locked at purchase. However, after a certain period of time or financial obligations have been met, you can have that phone unlocked from the carrier upon request.

What You Need To Know When Considering an Unlocked Phone

Here are some things to consider when it comes to purchasing an unlocked phone:

Understand what you’re getting into

Know all the pros, cons, ins, and outs of an unlocked phone before making a purchase. Ensure it’s the right choice and not just a choice you are making impulsively. Talk to people who’ve already gone through this procedure, so you can get some meaningful insight from them on the process.

Carrier phones often have ‘unlock‘ clauses in their terms and conditions

If you want an unlocked phone but also aren’t looking to immediately change your provider, then be well warned that most providers offer outs for you to unlock your phone. Either this comes through automatic expiration of the carrier lock or an option to request after a certain period of time as stipulated in the agreement.

3rd Parties

There are a wide range of services available for people to get their phones unlocked. Sometimes the legitimacy of these services can vary from person to person. Always be a little apprehensive about who you trust to unlock your mobile device.

Faster Updates

A phone with no ties to the carrier means you’ve got faster update options coming directly from the manufacturer.

Less Bloatware

Carrier-locked units are notorious for their bloatware. Bloatware comes in the form of apps that carriers impose on the manufacturers of your favourite devices. They come pre-installed on devices and are incredibly tedious to remove, if that’s even possible, that is.

Service Provider Compatibility

Some providers won’t be able to provide your unlocked phone with any data, minutes, or text capabilities. However, considering you can try numerous options, this one usually has strong workarounds.

Technical Barriers

You need to make sure you purchase a brand and model that any carrier could help you in the event there’s a problem. Buying some far-out brand that doesn’t have a strong presence in multiple markets overall means you might be stuck with little to no help whatsoever.

Payment Plans

While payment plans don’t usually exist in this type of smartphone sale, that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few options. The most popular option is a PayPal payment plan which means you can pay over a certain amount of months.

Saving Money

There are so many ways you can save money, thanks to an unlocked phone. Whether purchasing it second hand or saving thanks to the lack of interest instalments, mark-ups, and unnecessary extras, you’ve got a plethora of options for saving.

Unlocked Vs. Carrier

Consumers are becoming smarter and more aware of all the options available to them. So it’s no surprise that purchasing an unlocked mobile phone is becoming far more common today than ever before. The question comes down to the person's decision whether you should be someone who sticks with a carrier or goes for an unlocked phone.

Here’s how we see it. If you’re someone who’s more aware of how tech works and can afford the once-off payment commitment that comes with an unlocked mobile phone, then go for it.

If you’re not so savvy with tech and aren’t willing to part with so much money in one swift purchase, then stick with a carrier. There are risks attached to both types of options. It’s about choosing what you’re comfortable with at the end of the day.

What Are The Pros & Cons of an Unlocked Phone?

Here are some of the pros and cons attached to an unlocked mobile phone that you need to know about:


- Unlocked phones provide a certain level of freedom. For example, if you want to try a certain

- Want to use your unlocked phone as a wi-fi only device? Go for it.

- There’s a wide range of options for what kind of device you can get: an unlocked phone. You’re not limited to carriers or your country's provided options. This means you get tremendous options in brand, model, and prices.

- You can buy used devices which can work out cheaper.

- You receive software updates directly from the manufacturer.

- Unlocked mobile phones don’t usually contain bloatware.


- You commonly have to pay for the unlocked mobile phone in full. There are some workarounds to this, but they’re not always available

- Certain unlocked mobile phones don’t support specific networks available in your home country.

- Certain models aren’t ones that general carriers are aware of, and this can mean you’re on your own if you’ve got a problem.


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