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What is a Locked Cell Phone?

What is a Locked Cell Phone?

Those who have a smartphone that they want to use on another wireless provider the process is not that hard. This guide will help you understand what phones you can use on other wireless providers, who do unlock your smartphone and why do carriers lock them.

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Why Are Smartphones Locked?

Your wireless company is trying to be tough to deal with when locking your smartphone. The main reason why your phone is locked to a specific wireless carrier is because they have subsidized the cost of the smartphone when your first purchased it. What this means is that the price of a normal high-end smartphone costs anywhere from $500-$800 without a contract. When you sign a new contract you can these phones at a discount because the wireless company is paying the difference for you to get the smartphone at a lower price.

The binding contract with your wireless carrier allows for them to recoup the subsidized costs over the length of your contract. If the contract is broken early for any reason, they charge you an ETF (early termination fee) to ensure they get their money back.


What Is Unlocking? 

Unlocking your smartphone is allows you to use your smartphone on different carriers.  So if you have a phone that takes a SIM card, or you can use a SIM card from another carrion in your country. Some phones are called ‘International’ phones and can support a number of broadbands, so if you unlock your phone, you can take it overseas and use it there.


Why Unlock Your Smartphone?

The main reason to unlock your smartphone is if you want to use it with a different service provider or when wanting to use your smartphone overseas. Also an unlocked smartphone has an increased resell offer.


Why Not Unlock Your iPhone?

If you’re good with your phone carrier and will not use your smartphone internationally, there is absolutely no reason for you to unlock your smartphone.


Unlock GSM Vs CDMA Smartphone

There are two major cell phone technologies that are used by the on the world’s mobile phone service providers: Global System for Mobile communication (GSM) and Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA). If you have a CDMA phone, then your phone is not unlockable. The reason for this is because CDMA phones don’t have SIM cards, which make it impossible to use on another network. However, if your phone operates on a GSM network, then there is a good change you can get an smartphone unlock service or a smartphone unlock code and use your smartphone on a different network. If you live in North America purchased a smartphone from here you can easily figure out if your smartphone is GSM or CDMA. Verizon and Sprint use CDMA, AT&T and T-Mobile use GSM.

The reason is that AT&T and T-Mobile use a standard known as GSM. This technology is used throughout much of the world and relies on SIM cards, which can be swapped in and out of unlocked devices to provision service.

Meanwhile, Verizon and Sprint use a standard known as CDMA. Devices using this technology don’t have a SIM card. This means the carriers have to provision the service for you. So for the most part, even though Verizon and Sprint devices use the same technology and often use the same spectrum, they can’t be used on each other’s networks. It’s important to note that on some networks smartphones don’t work on other services because of the different models such as GSM & CDMA. This is just because of the technological differences of models that don’t allow specific models to work on different network systems. But it’s a good idea to do a smartphone unlock service review to make sure if your smartphone is able to be unlocked.


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David Williams

Oct 2, 2014

I am a true junkie for everything tech. My current arsenal includes an Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV Stick, iPhone Xs, Samsung Galaxy S9, Samsung Chromebook, iMac, and Dell XPS 13.

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