Entertainment, Smart Spending

Is Buying an Unlocked Phone Worth It?

An unlocked cell phone is a phone that’s not restricted to a single service provider. These phones offer greater flexibility, as you are able to use them on any network.

Unlocked phones are sold without a service contract. Since cell phones purchased through a carrier with a service contract are subsidized, they’re typically cheaper. Unlocked phones are not subsidized, thus more expensive.

When shopping for a new cell phone, most people bypass unlocked phones and go with a service contract to save money on their actual phone purchase. This often means that they’re stuck with a particular provider for at least one or two years. For many, this is a small price to pay for an affordable cell phone.

But while an unlocked phone doesn’t appeal to some people, there are good reasons to go with this option.

1. Do you travel internationally?

If you travel internationally regularly for work, pleasure or family reasons, an unlocked phone can be your best friend. Some cell phone carriers do not offer service in other countries, and for the ones that do, using your cell phone may result in expensive international roaming charges. But with an unlocked cell phone, you can avoid extra charges. Simply remove your current SIM card from the phone and insert an international pay-as-you-go SIM card. With an international card, you’re free to use your cell phone as much as you like minus roaming charges.

2. How do you feel about service contracts?

Some people don’t mind cell phone contracts. But if contracts leave a bad taste in your mouth, an unlocked phone might be the way to go. Sure, you’ll pay more for the phone. However, there’s a certain freedom that comes with no service contract. You can change cell phones at any time, and if you have a falling out with your service carrier, you can switch carriers without worrying about termination fees or broken contracts.

3. Do you plan on selling the phone?

An unlocked phone can also work if you change cell phones frequently. There are several things that you can do with your old cell phone. Some people donate their phones to an organization or trade in their phones. Another option is selling the phone and putting the proceeds toward a new phone. Cell phones depreciate from year-to-year. However, unlocked cell phones hold their value longer. This results in a higher resale value, and more profit in your pocket. Plus, with a locked phone, you can’t sell the phone until your contract expires.

4. Do you own a business?

If you own a business, you may prefer keeping your business and personal phone calls separate, as well as your business and personal contacts. This is possible with an unlocked phone. A dual SIM adapter lets your cell phone accommodate two SIM cards, which essentially turns your phone into two phones. Obviously, you can’t accept or make two phone calls at once. But keeping calls and information separate can help you maintain a balance between work life and personal life.