For most people, buying and using a smartphone means being locked into a contract with a carrier and being limited on how – and with which carrier – that phone can be used. However, many are now choosing to go with unlocked 4G LTE smartphones for a variety of reasons. Doing so offers:
- Network flexibility
- Fast updates
By purchasing an unlocked smartphone, buyers have the option of choosing which carrier they would like to use at any point in time. Rather than being locked into a contract and having to deal with that carrier’s service offerings, having an unlocked phone allows you to change carriers as you need to or see fit. This can be especially advantageous for people who travel a lot.
Even within the continental United States, coverage varies from state to state. Some of the major carriers have little to no service in some states, so it can work to your advantage to be able to change when you need to. This advantage is amplified for those who travel internationally. Further, some people find it cost-effective to keep track of which carriers are offering deals and changing the mobile and data services based on savings.
With unlocked 4G LTE smartphones, buyers are likely to get updates earlier than people who have their phones through a carrier. For locked phones, manufacturers have to go through strict carrier partner testing before an update can be offered. As a result, some phones go for long periods of time without having needed updates available. With an unlocked smartphone, manufacturers can offer bug fixes and other updates as they become available.
Many carriers have gotten away with locking customers into their rates by tempting them with seemingly lower prices on smartphones. Rather than paying upwards of $600 upfront for a smartphone, customers believe they are getting a deal by paying $200 to $300 for their new phones. The truth is that most carriers charge the discounted rate on the cell phone but then recoup their costs by adding a charge for the phones onto their customers’ monthly bills.
Essentially, customers are not saving any money for their locked phones. By purchasing an unlocked phone, customers have the option of paying for it upfront or paying with monthly financing. And, if they are not in the market for the newest phone, older unlocked smartphones can be purchased for reasonable prices.