If you’re shopping for a new phone to use with your Teltik service, chances are that you have stumbled upon the term “unlocked phone.” Or, have you ever asked yourself, “Is my phone unlocked?”
This term, when used relating to phone service, does not mean that your phone is protected with a password or your fingerprint. What an unlocked phone means is that the phone is not restricted to one specific carrier. As such, it can work with different carriers without any problem. This gives you the freedom to use different service providers without limitations.
But when it comes to locked vs. unlocked phone, which one is better? Generally, locked phones come with carrier discounts, so they might be cheaper. And should I unlock my phone if I have one that’s locked? Read on to learn more!
What Does Unlocked Phone Mean?
As noted before, an unlocked phone means the phone isn’t tied to any carrier. It’s a carrier-free phone, which you can buy from most retailers, including Amazon, Walmart, Target, and more. However, you’ll pay the full price when buying one, unlike the typical payment plans offered with locked phones. The good news is that you don’t have to buy a new unlocked phone, as there are many great used options out there.
So, does unlocked mean any carrier can be used with your phone? Not exactly. There are 4 major carriers which have their own network: T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint. T-Mobile and AT&T use a technology called GSM for their networks, while Verizon and Sprint use CDMA. Nowadays, there isn’t a practical difference between the two (older CDMA phones, however, don’t have SIM cards), but what it does mean for you is that, unless an unlocked phone specifically has support for all major carriers (luckily, it’s becoming more common these days), it’ll most likely be either GSM unlocked, which means you can use it on any GSM carrier, or CDMA unlocked, which is for any CDMA carrier. Because Teltik is a T-Mobile MVNO (we use T-Mobile’s network), we use the GSM technology.
(Note: some phones are CDMA with “international” support, which means, being that all international carriers use GSM, they do have limited GSM support, but you won’t have great coverage if you try using it with an American GSM carrier.)
Now what about jailbreak vs. unlock? Some people refer to jailbreaking as “unlocking the phone”, but what it means is to remove software restrictions (also known as rooting), and it doesn’t carrier-unlock your phone. If you want to network-unlock your phone, you’ll need to contact your current carrier for assistance.
Now, how to tell if a phone is unlocked? You can usually call your carrier, and they’ll let you know. In general, though, if you bought your phone from a carrier and you haven’t finished paying for it, or if it has a carrier logo either on the phone itself or when you power it on, it’s most likely locked. Otherwise, you should be good!
Are Unlocked Phones Better?
Well, if you want the freedom to use your phone with any carrier, then it’s true to claim that unlocked phones are better. Also, you have access to lots of phone options from different manufacturers. With locked phones, your choice is limited to whatever phones your carrier supports on their network.
Unlocked phones are updated directly by the manufacturer. This means you’re more likely to get the latest phone updates sooner. These phones also don’t come with bloatware, which are (usually unnecessary) apps that carriers install on locked phones.
Another advantage of unlocked phones is that you can buy a used device and use it without any problem. You can buy used locked phones, too. However, this can come with a risk in some cases, if the phone has not been paid off by the original owner.
Is It Better to Buy an Unlocked Phone?
The choice depends on what you want. Some people would opt for locked phones as they don’t have to pay the full amount outright. Plus, it’s easier to get support from the carrier if you encounter an issue with the phone. Carriers also tend to offer great discounts. Unlocked phones, on the other hand, give you lots of freedom in how you use your phone.
Why Do Carriers Lock Phones?
Locking phones is a way for carriers to improve their customer retention rates. In most cases, they do so to recoup the subsidy they offer when they sell high-end phones at discounted prices. So, by locking you in through a contract, they’re sure to recover their money. Keep in mind that carriers may also charge an early termination fee if you decide to end a contract early.
Should I Buy An Unlocked Phone?
Unlocked phones are certainly a great choice for people who want freedom in how they use their devices. Unlocked phones are great for international travelers, as you can use them on most any country’s network. If this is something you want, then you should definitely buy yourself an unlocked phone.
There are many choices where to buy unlocked phones. You can get one online from retailers such as BestBuy, Amazon, Walmart, Target, Newegg, and many others. If you want to buy a used phone, look on sites such as eBay and Swappa. Take the time to ensure it’s in good condition.
Does T-Mobile Sell Unlocked Phones?
No, T-Mobile doesn’t sell unlocked phones, but you’re allowed to unlock a T-Mobile device as long as you meet the requirements. Thing is, your mileage may vary, but most T-Mobile MVNOs work even on locked T-Mobile devices. The best way to test this is by putting your SIM card in a friend’s T-Mobile locked phone.
Are Unlocked Phones More Expensive?
It’s a common consensus that unlocked phones tend to be more expensive. It’s usually true, but that’s not the case all the time. For example, as of this writing, the locked 64GB iPhone 11 Pro Max is available from T-Mobile at a full price of $1,099.99. You can get the unlocked version from BestBuy at the same price.
Paying for a locked phone in installments tends to cost more. For example, T-Mobile offers a payment plan of $45.84/mo for 24 months for the 64GB iPhone 11 Pro Max. This will be $1,172.16 at the end of the plan. But it’s a great way of getting your desired phone fast with just small monthly payments afterwards.
How To Unlock A Phone
If you have a locked phone, it’s possible to unlock it to use it with any carrier. There is some difference between how to unlock iPhones and how to unlock an Android phone. But you might need to call your carrier to unlock the phone if you’re unable to do it yourself.
If you have an Android T-Mobile device, you should check Device How-Tos under Security to determine whether you have the Mobile Device Unlock App. Your device and account must meet the eligibility requirements for unlocking the phone. You can access your T-Mobile account to check if your device qualifies.
Be sure to dial *#06# to get your IMEI number, which will be required during the process. While in the app, select your device and follow the prompt to unlock your Android phone.
For T-Mobile phones without the app and most any other carrier, call your carrier’s customer support line, and they’ll be able to unlock it for you pretty quickly.
For iOS T-Mobile devices, be sure your device is eligible and make the unlock request using Mobile Wireless Device Unlocking. If the request is successful, you should receive the Mobile Device Unlock email. Be sure to wait for the stated amount of time before beginning the process.
After the time has elapsed, you have two ways to unlock a phone under contract. The first is simply inserting a non-T-Mobile SIM card into the phone and completing the first-time use steps. You should be able to unlock it once you complete the on-screen instructions.
The second way is by using iTunes. Make sure you have backed up your iPhone. Then, erase all settings and contents. When the Welcome screen appears, connect your phone to iTunes. If this process is successful, you should see “Congratulations, your iPhone has been unlocked” on the screen.
If you need help or you encounter problems, be sure to call 1-877-746-0909 to get help from T-Mobile customer service to unlock your phone.
For most any other carrier, just call your carrier’s customer support line, and they’ll be able to unlock it for you pretty quickly.
There are several benefits of an unlocked phone if you opt for one. It’s particularly useful if you’re a frequent traveler. You can use it in any country as long as GSM is supported. However, be prepared to pay the full amount at once, which can be a little overwhelming when you want a high-end phone, such as the latest iPhone or Samsung Galaxy.
You still have the option of paying for a locked phone which you can unlock later once you meet the carrier requirements. Both locked and unlocked phones have several advantages depending on your circumstances.
What’s great is that whether you choose to get a GSM unlocked phone or even a locked T-Mobile phone, you’ll almost definitely be able to use it with Teltik. Join us today, and get all of the great benefits we offer!