Unlocked phones are popular because they allow the owner to change carriers at will, but your options can be limited due to their lack of carrier bloatware. If you’re considering getting an unlocked phone, here are some pros and cons that may affect your choice.
Pros of Unlocking Your Phone
You can switch carriers whenever you want, instead of having to wait until the end of your contract or pay off your phone. You can pick up cheap prepaid plans whenever you travel abroad and not worry about high roaming charges. If you like to tinker with phones (including hacking), unlocked phones allow easier access to playing around with ROMs. You also have more control over which apps are on your phone because they aren’t limited by carrier app stores. This allows for fewer security risks as Google Play Store verifies apps before listing them in their store to protect users from malware, viruses, and other issues that might be present in unverified apps. You aren’t tied down to a carrier if you don’t like their customer service or other policies. You can bring your unlocked phone to any carrier and get a new SIM card if you need to switch to another provider.
Cons of Unlocking Your Phone
Your options for carriers are limited since not all operate everywhere in the world and may be missing coverage in certain areas that you rely on at home and abroad. This means that phone selection is also limited, especially if you’re used to having lots of choices from major carriers’ numerous different types of phones at various price points. Carriers typically offer better deals than buying an unlocked phone directly from a manufacturer, such as bundle deals (freebies with trade-in) or discounts when purchasing through them directly vs. going straight to the manufacturer. If you’re not careful, using an unlocked phone on a particular carrier could cost significantly more than if you had purchased it outright, subsidised through the carrier.
It’s probably best to start out with a locked phone and save up for an unlocked model, so that if you decide to switch carriers before your contract is up, there are no hidden charges or early termination fees waiting for you. Just bear in mind that buying an unlocked device will often mean paying full price for the handset at launch (or later), instead of getting discounted rates after it goes on sale through your carrier. However, despite the drawbacks of lower subsidised prices and limited selection, unlocked phones do offer some great advantages too! What are some pros and cons you’ve noticed with unlocked phones? Leave a comment below and let us know!