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Home > Buying Guide > What is an unlocked phone and why should you get one?
What is an unlocked phone and why should you get one?

What is an unlocked phone and why should you get one?

By  GB Blog Official 2018-12-04 6037 1

When shopping for a smartphone online, you will often see that some phones are marked as "unlocked" - which is described as one of the big benefits of the device. But what is an unlocked phone and what actual benefits come with having one? Discover this and more in this post.

What is an unlocked phone?

1. Definition

An unlocked phone means that you can use it with a SIM card from any wireless carrier. In contrast, a locked phone is tied to a specific carrier and you won't be able to use with others (unless you unlock it first).

Most locked phones come with a contract for the duration of 12 to 24 months - during this time you will be unable to switch carriers. With an unlocked phone, you will be free to choose and switch carriers right away.

2. Unlocked Phone Benefits

(1) Service Change

What are the benefits of having an unlocked phone? The first and most obvious benefit is, of course, carrier flexibility. A number of countries - and specifically the US - give network providers the ability to "lock" their customers with a single provider for the contract period. Thus, you will be stuck with the same provider until the contract expires, whether you are happy with the provided service or not. An unlocked phone lets you choose and switch carriers to your heart's content until you find the service you are happy with.

(2)travel abroad

An unlocked phone is also a better fit for those who frequently travel abroad as you will be able to easily get a local SIM card and save lots of money on phone charges. Sure, most carriers do offer roaming options - but the cost of using your phone in a foreign country will be very high.

For example,If you live in Latin America or in another part of the world, many times the phones are much cheaper in the United States than in the country where you live. Sometimes it's better to take advantage of your vacation in the USA. to buy an unlocked phone and take it to your country.

(3)Money Saving

In fact, money saving is one of the key advantages of having an unlocked phone as you will be able to make full use of all special offers, discounts and promotions from different carriers instead of being stuck with one. And, if you current carrier decides to increase service fees or add hidden charges, you can simply switch.

In other words, having an unlocked phone gives you more control over the plan you choose and the costs. You do not have to be subject to a single carrier. It also gives you more flexibility to change phone when you want, without paying extra for breaking clauses or for extra charges to the plan.


Another benefit is that with an unlocked phone, you can upgrade or change the software on your phone anytime you like - while with a locked phone certain restrictions will apply. Because one of the great advantages that we often do not recognize is that the unlocked phone does not come with the bundle of pre-installed applications that we generally do not use, but that we can not erase if we buy a locked phone.


Finally, if you decide to sell your phone, it will be much easier to do so with an unlocked phone - and you will be able to re-sell it at a higher price than a locked phone. Typically, you will not be able to sell a locked phone until your contract with the carrier expires.

When you finally have your new unlocked phone, it's time to set it up with a SIM card and make sure all the needed services (messaging, voicemail, the Internet, etc.) are working properly. For this, some settings in your phone will need to be changed.

3. How can you tell if your cell phone is unlocked?

Unless you know that you have purchased an unlocked cell phone or carried out the unlocking process, it is very possible that it is blocked. One way to check this is to borrow a SIM card from someone who has a cell phone provider different from the one you bought your phone from. So, if you bought a cell phone on T-Mobile, try inserting an AT & T SIM card into your phone. If you can make and receive calls, it is likely that your cell phone is unlocked.

Here's how to use an unlocked phone

1. First, get a manual for your phone.

If you don't have a manual (all phones on GearBest come with included manuals) for your phone, see if you can find one online (try the manufacturer's website). Consult the manual on how to insert a SIM card into the device: in most phones, the SIM card slot will be located on the side or at the top of the phone next to the battery compartment: use SIM tool, a pin or something similar to eject the SIM card slot and insert your new SIM card.

Ulefone Gemini Pro 4G Phablet package contents

Turn on your phone - you should now see the name of your local network provider in the top corner and the phone should connect to the network automatically: you're all set to make calls.

2. Next, set up your text messaging and voice mail.

To set up your text messaging, find out the text message service center number for your carrier: you can check online or contact your carrier directly. Then, check in your phone's manual how to modify the text message service information - typically, you will find the right place under "Message Settings". After you've input the correct number, check if you text messaging service works: you can try sending a message to yourself. If you don't receive the message, there must be something wrong with your settings - contact your network provider for further assistance.

A similar process goes for setting up your voice mail: contact your network provider for the correct number for the voice mail system and program the number into your cellphone. Check if the voice mail works: dial your mobile number and see if you can access the mailbox (note that depending on your settings you may need to enter a password).

3. Finally, the Internet.

Check the correct APN (Access Point Name) for your carrier's Internet service and enter the information into your unlocked phone - you will find the correct tab in your phone's Internet settings. Test if your mobile Internet is working: type in any address in your browser and see if it connects. If not - get in touch with your network provider for a different APN number. Alternatively, your carrier may send you an OTA update (Over-the-Air) to correct your Internet settings.

You can find a wide choice of internationally unlocked phones on GearBest including smartphones from Xiaomi, OnePlus, Vernee, Ulefone, Blackview and other brands.

Where Buy Unlocked Phones

Most smartphones available on GearBest are unlocked for international use. This means that you should be able to use the phone in any country and with any network - provided your local area network is compatible with the phone's frequency.

Note: it is strongly recommended to check with your preferred network provider in advance regarding the network compatibility of your preferred unlocked smartphone model.

There is a wide choice of worldwide unlocked phones on GearBest. You will have a pick of some of the bestselling models as well budget and rugged mobile phones.

Check out a variety of unlocked Xiaomi smartphones: Xiaomi Mi5, Xiaomi Mi Max, Xiaomi Redmi 4 and others. Our top pick would be the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4X 4G Phablet with its 5.5 inch FHD 2.5D Arc screen, Snapdragon 625 Octa Core CPU, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, a fingerprint sensor and more.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 4X 4G Phablet

The Elephone S8 4G Phablet is another good option with Android 7.1 OS, a 6.0 inch 2K screen, Helio X25 Deca Core 2.5GHz processor, 4GB of RAM and more. You should also take a look at the LETV LeEco 2 X520 4G Phablet - a flagship by LeEco sporting a smooth bezel-less design, a 5.5 inch FHD display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 Octa Core CPU, etc.

Elephone S8 + LETV LeEco 2 X520 4G Phablet

If you are looking for an unlocked rugged smartphone to accompany you on your adventures, the Blackview BV6000 4G Phablet is a good option to consider with its 4.7 inch Corning Gorilla Glass 3 screen, a compass, atmospheric pressure sensor and IP68 dustproof and waterproof rating.

Blackview BV6000 4G Phablet

If you still haven't found what you are looking for, take a look at more unlocked phones on GearBest. We kindly remind you to make sure that your preferred model comes with a frequency that is compatible with your local area network providers.

Elephone S8 4G Phablet

An unlocked smartphone is a phone that can be used with any SIM card from any carrier - unlike a locked phone that comes under a contract with a fixed provider. Unlocked phones come with a number of benefits and are especially convenient when travelling as you will be able to use a local SIM card from a local provider and save quite a lot on roaming costs. Before purchasing an unlocked phone, make sure that its frequency is compatible with the carriers in your local area: check the phone's supported frequencies and contact your preferred provider if necessary.


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How to use an unlocked phone
2017-09-07 By GB Blog Official