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What are Unlocked Cell Phones?

By R. Kayne
Updated May 16, 2024
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Unlocked cell phones are mobile phones that can be used on any GSM network with interchangeable SIM cards. No matter which carrier makes the card, the phone will be able to recognize it and send voice and data over the network. This contrasts with a locked phone, which is bound to a specific cell phone service provider (or carrier) network with software settings, and is typically offered with a contract when someone starts mobile service.

Potential Advantages

One advantage to buying an unlocked cell phone is the ability to buy almost any GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) phone, rather than being restricted to a limited selection offered by a specific carrier. This can include phones only distributed in certain countries, or with features that are not available on all carriers. People also don't need to wait for a contract to expire to buy a new phone; they can remove the SIM (Subscriber Identification Module) card from an existing phone and insert it into a new one when they are ready for a replacement. This allows them to keep their number while upgrading the phone, without having to go through the carrier.

Additionally, the ability to use an unlocked cell phone with a variety of SIM cards can be convenient for travelers. Most carriers only supply service to a particular country or area; when traveling outside the coverage zone, the mobile phone user will have to "roam" on another carrier's network, which often comes with a high fee. To avoid roaming fees, a person can buy a SIM card from a local carrier at his destination and insert it, preserving all his existing phone settings but getting a new number and a local calling plan. In addition to less expensive calling rates, this provides the added benefit of having a local number while in the area.

Potential Disadvantages

Not all unlocked phones have all the same features as their locked counterparts even when the provider is the same. Carriers may include such features only on locked phones, which use their proprietary software and settings. Some carriers offer free calling to a number of contacts or one-button access to certain features that can only be used on locked phones. Consumers concerned about specific features may want to check with a carrier to see if they are available on unlocked cell phones.

In addition, such phones tend to be more expensive. Locked phones are often costly because they usually come with phone service contracts that commit the consumer to that service provider for a certain period of time (like two years). Unlocked phones typically sell at or close to retail price because the buyer can use the phone with a number of different carriers.

Another issue with unlocked cell phones is that they may not work on all GSM bands; as of 2012, a quadband phone could operate anywhere in the world with a GSM network, but other phones could not. This may be a concern for international travelers especially, since not all bands are used in all countries. For example, in South America, the 850 MHz band is in common use, but others may not be available. It is advisable to check on which bands the phone uses, and which bands are available in given travel destinations.

Getting an Unlocked Phone

One way to get a phone without proprietary settings is to buy it new from a third party vendor in its original, unlocked state. Third party services are also available to unlock a person's cell phone for a fee, usually by attaching it to a special piece of hardware specially designed for this purpose. This doesn't guarantee the phone will always work correctly, as carrier settings might remain in the software.

There are also instructions online to unlock most models. In many cases, unlocking a phone is just a matter of activating the phone and entering a specific code; some phones, however, require a series of steps before the code can be entered. Not all codes work, and trying to enter codes that are incorrect can cause the phone to "hardlock" and prevent it from being unlocked. Certain models of cell phones can only be unlocked using the hardware method, which may also work for hardlocked phones.

Some cell carriers sell unlocked phones at full price, usually allowing consumers to pick a flexible plan such as month-to-month or pay-as-you-go billing. This can provide access to carrier-specific features with the flexibility of an unlocked phone. If a customer has been with a carrier for some time — sometimes for as little as 90 days — the carrier may even be willing to supply an unlock code for a locked phone, although they may charge a fee.

Cell Phone Carriers

The majority of the world — 99% — uses the GSM network, and numerous carriers use it for their services. The competing network is CDMA, or code division multiple access. Most carriers on the CDMA network do not, as of 2012, use card-enabled phones; instead, subscriber information is stored in the cell phone's memory, which means it cannot be transferred to another phone. The CDMA equivalent of the SIM card — the R-UIM — is used in some parts of Asia, but it's not likely to spread more widely. This card contains software that allows it to be used in GSM phones as well.

Jailbroken Phones

A jailbroken phone is not exactly the same as an unlocked phone. Most often used in reference to Apple's iPhone®, when a phone is jailbroken, it has been modified to allow it to download applications (apps) not approved or sold by the carrier, such as the Apple App Store. A phone that has been jailbroken is not unlocked, although it may be necessary to jailbreak a phone before unlocking it is possible. Jailbreaking a phone is considered legal in the US, although it may violate the warranty.

EasyTechJunkie is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

By anon995833 — On May 31, 2016

Unlocked phones simply allow you to use other carriers or local SIMs if you're at a different country. There are plenty of websites that offer to give a code to unlock your phone, and they’re often relatively cheaper than going to a phone network; it doesn’t take as long, either! You have to be careful though, as you can never be sure of what you’re getting. I usually recommend the free ones that just require you to fill out a short survey beforehand - but it works! Hope this helps.

By anon981846 — On Dec 15, 2014

I wonder when 5G will be released in the States? Any clue?

By anon978809 — On Nov 21, 2014

It is true --, unlocked cell phones are worth more if you are looking to sell. If you check a phone buying site, you will see that the unlocked version of a phone is always worth the most, so it may be worth paying to get it unlocked before you sell.

By becky1234 — On Dec 24, 2013

Unlocked cell phone means you can use them with different networks. Normally, some mobiles are locked by particular providers, so you cannot switch over from another network. In this situation you must unlock your cell phone. You can easily unlock your cell phone by using an unlock code.

By anon306362 — On Nov 29, 2012

Once you unlock a cell phone, you can use it with any carrier's SIM card. Simple as that. I've used an unlocked Aussie iPhone in the USA and Canada and Singapore and Australia, and it's worked fine in all four countries with four different carriers and a different SIM card each time. Don't stress.

By anon291071 — On Sep 12, 2012

It is a scam. Don't believe any of it. Unlocked phones do not work with other companies and att doesn't work with tmobile or any others.

By anon277503 — On Jun 30, 2012

I am planing to buy an unlocked iPhone.I am traveling to another country in one year and was worried that if I buy it and use a vodafone sim for a year that I cannot use another sim on the iPhone. Will I be able to use another sim after using the other country's sim?

By anon276053 — On Jun 21, 2012

So does this mean if someone has a Gophone Sim and puts it in an unlocked phone, it would work?

By anon268848 — On May 15, 2012

OK, question...can you unlock your phone to where you don't have to have a carrier? you know like you seen on the newest movie Die Harder with bruce willis...contact me at williej694ply.....must know if it can be done and that's at yahoo...thanks

By porfin — On May 15, 2012

I got an xperia s in NYC and it was unlocked and the phone was from germany.

Can I update the software without getting blocked or should I leave it just like that?

By anon253356 — On Mar 09, 2012

Can I sign a contract with AT&T and take that mobile to another country before the end of the contract? What are the problems? I bought it with my credit card! Do they take all my money in my account? Please help!

By anon249765 — On Feb 22, 2012

I bought two phones online. One is an Android phone and one a 4 SIM phone. I take both with me when I travel and buy a SIM card at the airport. There is no way I'd ever go with a contract carrier and deal with that mess. I can pop SIM cards in and out as I please and having a multiple SIM phone is what other phones are missing.

By anon243623 — On Jan 28, 2012

I bought a Mytouch HTC unlocked Tmobile phone and purchased a SIM card/go phone unlimited talk and text from AT&T. Everything works fine except I can't receive picture messages. Is there a fix for this or am I stuck? I bought the phone on ebay.

By anon240362 — On Jan 13, 2012

I've looked at many of these posts and didn't seem to find this question, although it seems pretty basic. When I use my present phone from AT&T, but unlock it at the end of contract, how do I get the minutes to use? Where are they coming from? Who am I paying? How do I switch to other carriers with the unlocked phone? I have to buy another carrier's sim card? So that requires advance planning, not on-the-fly decisions?

By anon221186 — On Oct 11, 2011

I bought on Ebay a used Blackberry torch 9800, and asked the seller to unlock it (it was locked to AT&T) before sending.

For the first two weeks, this phone worked more or less OK, except for the difficulties with data transferring from and to PC. Then it started to show "media card contains errors", but it would then fail to fix it.

I bought a new media card - smaller: 4gb instead of 16gb), but that didn't help much, as desktop software does not recognize this phone, or sometimes recognizes it just for one or two minutes, and then disconnects again, and I've tried many different PCs to connect to it, but it didn't help. Such a shame! I cannot transfer a bunch of important picture and video files. What a waste of money and nerves! Never buy unlocked phones! Somebody should sue AT&T for this!

By anon178639 — On May 21, 2011

i have a boost plan, but my phone just recently broke. i have concluded i can only afford a boost plan for what i use it for. will an unlocked optimus work with a boost plan?

By anon177026 — On May 17, 2011

I have at&t. i just got a htc touch pro2, which is a us cellular phone. everything i have read says us cellular is cdma provider (have no idea what that means) and does not use sim cards in their phones. my at&t sims card works in this phone. i just can't connect to at&t. is there any way to get this phone unlocked?

By anon167402 — On Apr 12, 2011

I'm an American living in Mexico. I lost my Blackberry recently and I was able to get a new SIM card with my original phone number. I could get a new free Blackberry or iPhone if I sign a two year contract, which I do not want to do.

I was wondering if I purchased an unlocked Blackberry from the US, will it work with my SIM card from our cellular service provider TELCEL?

By anon164868 — On Apr 03, 2011

I have a samsung captivia phone from at&t. I want to use an apple iphone that is unlocked from the UK. can i just put in my at&t sim card in the i phone?

By anon162311 — On Mar 23, 2011

I think the unlocked GSM phones business has given Straight Talk a run for their money, which is why you will find it increasingly hard to get the new smart phones on their line up, especially the nokia e71, which has been used to buy for the swappable sim card, to then put into an iPhone.

By anon157668 — On Mar 03, 2011

I just bought a cell phone coming from the States a few days ago. I am on the Bell plan and this phone is AT&T but it is unlocked. Will I be able to put the cell phone on my plan with out a SIM card? how do i purchase a SIM card?

By anon156155 — On Feb 25, 2011

I currently live in the UK and I'd like to buy a new phone before moving to Canada in 3 months. I'm considering i-phone 4 or Blackberry 9700 or Nokia E72, all without contract (as I'm leaving soon). Will these work in Canada (Montreal)? Thanks

By anon155832 — On Feb 24, 2011

I am traveling to Australia and want to unlock my phone. It is a Verizon Motorola Pro. What is the way to get it unlocked (and the cheapest) and, once unlocked, will my data plan still work with a different SIM card in it? I am new at all this stuff so, thanks for any assistance.

By anon149357 — On Feb 04, 2011

Any phone can be unlocked including the iPhone4 with the latest software iOS 4.2 which came out in the beginning of January of 2011. iPhone 4 uses micro-sims not mini-sims. So just cut down the plastic on your mini-sim to the micro sim size. The chip itself is the same size. There are plenty of youtube videos on how to do it. Don't let a carrier tell you that a phone can't be unlocked, any phone can be hacked.

By anon148819 — On Feb 02, 2011

@267: This has changed, I believe. If you have a blackberry bold you should be offered a suite of phones that includes the samsung captivate, the windows os phones, and possibly a blackberry, as one of your "free" phones from at&t. Granted these may not be the bold, but are better options that the aria and such.

By anon142377 — On Jan 12, 2011

I live in Australia and i want to buy an iPhone from a friend, it is locked on AT&T is there any way of unlocking it, as I cannot contact AT&T.

By anon142219 — On Jan 12, 2011

I have sprint and I wanted to buy an iphone. If I get it unlocked, would I be able to use the iphone under my sprint number since sprint doesn't use SIM cards?

By anon141242 — On Jan 09, 2011

i need help. i have AT&T and i don't like the phone i have. so i bought a samsung gravity on Ebay and i was wondering if i switched my sim to that gravity will they charge me? and i bought the phone unlocked.

By anon137916 — On Dec 29, 2010

OK I believe I looked at all the postings and have not seen this question posted yet.

Here in west Michigan, all Alltel customers (due to AT&T buyout) are being forced to accept an AT&T phone to continue service after the new year.

The issue I have is that my wife and myself bought new Blackberry Bold phones. AT&T only offers free replacement phones {Blackberry Curve 9300, HTC Aria, Palm Pre Plus} all of which are a step down from the phone I just bought six months ago.

My question is this: My Alltel Blackberry Bold, can it be "hacked" to work with AT&T? We are not trying to scam anyone, just want the phone we just bought! Help!

By anon136751 — On Dec 24, 2010

Try reading a bit before you ask a question that has been answered 14 times.

By anon135262 — On Dec 17, 2010

I have an older Motorola v365 that is slowly falling apart. I want to replace it with a Motorola Tundra. I am on AT&T, but my contract expired about two years ago.

Can I use an unlocked Tundra (AT&T sells these in their store)? I don't want a new contract, but AT&T will charge me full retail ($400.) for the phone without it. I can get it for about $250-275 new on eBay.

And just how does that actually work, if I can? Will the SIM card fit? How do I keep the same number? Will I loose my voicemail, etc? I only do voice - no texting, internet, IM, etc.

Sorry, I'm not very savvy about these things. Thanks.

By anon134300 — On Dec 14, 2010

I want to buy an unlocked quad band GSM dual Sim cell phone off of eBay and use my Sim card from my current carrier Rogers Wireless in Canada. Will my Sim card work in there? Will I still have my voice plan, data, texting, email, etc? It says it will not work with 3G cards only a 2G card, how can I tell the difference?

By anon132174 — On Dec 05, 2010

I currently have a Verizon BB tour from US. It has a SIM card slot (or what I think is one). How can I hack it to use in India? Thank you.

By anon131334 — On Dec 02, 2010

I have several questions about my new Blackberry Torch 9800. The manufacturer is AT&T and i currently live in Australia. The phone is unlocked and I can use any SIM card with it. But the problem is I can't use the Blackberry Internet Service such as Blackberry Messenger. When I tried to use my friend's blackberry, I can use the Blackberry Internet Service. So I think the problem is my phone.

Is it because of AT&T phone can't be used in Australia? Please help me. Thanks.

By anon130957 — On Nov 30, 2010

I recently switched from ATT to TMobile. I hate my new Tmobile phone and want to use my old ATT Blackjack II. If I successfully get the blackjack II unlocked, will it work for TMobile? Since it is a smart phone will I have to upgrade to a Data plan or will i be able to keep my current voice/text plan? Thank you!

By anon129926 — On Nov 26, 2010

i want to buy an unlocked phone. can i put my current three sim cards that are on a plan in it?

By anon125599 — On Nov 10, 2010

I have a Blackberry curve from T-Mobile and i want to switch to prepaid Virgin Mobile. Do i need an unlock code or what should i do?

By anon124241 — On Nov 04, 2010

India is 4000 years ahead when compared to US cell phone industry. No stupid contracts and no stupid early termination fees. Pay as you go forever.

By anon123034 — On Oct 30, 2010

I had a plan with Virgin Mobile, but it was getting too expensive so I canceled it. That was seven months ago and I still have the same phone, but I want to get pay-as-you go with the company Virgin Mobile. Will it work if I do that?

By anon122540 — On Oct 28, 2010

Access to messages and agenda has been blocked on my motorola V600. Can anyone tell me how to unblock it.

By anon122120 — On Oct 26, 2010

OK so i want to buy a blackberry on ebay that i saw and i have internet on my phone that i have now, which is my samsung and i have unlimited everything but i was wondering will the internet still work with the blackberry if i trade sim cards?

By cutenik — On Oct 26, 2010

I'm being cut off from the folks and my pay and can't afford verizon. Therefore, I'm going to go for a non contract phone plan such as straight talk or boost mobile, but i want a nice phone not the cheap ones they have. can i buy and use the new unlocked 4G i phone with those carriers?

By anon116056 — On Oct 05, 2010

i have a sidekick with tmobile and i am wondering if it could work with an at&t sim card? I'm having trouble with it. i need help!

By anon114745 — On Sep 29, 2010

I'm planning on buying an unlocked Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 and I was wondering if I would be able to put my AT&T SIM into the phone would the phone be able to make/receive calls and texts? I just canceled my phone contract last week, so I was wondering if the SIM would still work or is there something else I need to do?

By anon114430 — On Sep 28, 2010

I have bought an unlocked 3 phone. I put my Orange sim in it and i can make calls and text but can't get on the internet. I called Orange and they sent me the settings and I still can't connect to it.

I have a Sony Ericsson Vivaz. Under Network it does say Orange in use but when I go to destinations it says Priority 1 is 3 and when I try to delete it, it says cannot edit protected network destination.

Can anyone help please? Should I take it to an unlocking shop? --Thanks, Charlotte

By anon110444 — On Sep 12, 2010

Anyone know if I can use a phone meant for Sprint on their Virgin Mobile USA Prepaid Plans?

I don't want a crappy phone, but I want to use Virgin Mobile's prepaid service. This way I could get a Palm Pre but use the other.

By anon109901 — On Sep 09, 2010

I plan to buy a samsung impression unlocked phone from ebay since i don't want unlimited text messages that at&t wants me to take if i am buying the impression from their store.

i thought about buying a sim with like a $5 text message, no internet nothing else. i just want the least talk time and the least text message they offer, so i was wondering if i bought a samsung impression from ebay and put the sim in it, if it would charge me with the unlimited texting and all. Please help. thank you.

By CellGeek — On Sep 03, 2010

#232, an unlocked GSM phone should work with most provider's SIM cards. However, different carriers use different high speed packet data systems, so you may find that data speed will be much faster or slower on different networks.

For example a phone designed to work with AT&T's "3G/3.5G" network will not work with T-Mobile's "3G". It will be fine for voice calls, but will be using the much slower 2G/Edge data speed on T-Mobile.

If you are only going to use WiFi for data then this shouldn't matter.

By CellGeek — On Sep 03, 2010

#234, if you get an AT&T branded smart phone (unlocked or not) you will be automatically "upgraded" to a "Smart Phone" data plan when you put your SIM in it. This also applies to non-branded versions of some phones that AT&T also sells (iPhone, Nexus-1).

If you get a generic smart phone that has no similar AT&T version then you will likely be fine. For example, my Symbian OS Nokia 5800 has been on the $10/month "unlimited" family data plan for several years now and AT&T hasn't blinked (even that plan was optional).

By anon108521 — On Sep 03, 2010

#237, if you unlock the phone and stay with the same provider your service will not change. If you switch to a different provider it *might* change, depending on what features you need, and what provider specific proprietary software (bloatware) was pre-installed.

Example, if you use lots of data features (email, web) and switch from AT&T to T-Mobile (or visa-versa) you will likely find your data service to be much slower.

This is because AT&T and T-Mobile use different high speed packet data systems (different frequencies and protocols) so a phone designed for "3G" on AT&T will not be compatible with the "3G" network of T-Mobile. It will work fine for voice calls, and it will work with data, just at much slower speeds (2G/Edge).

Most carrier branded phones also include a suite of proprietary software, and many of those programs will only work on the original network (AT&T Navigator, for example).

This is why I prefer to buy non-branded, unlocked phones. No bloat-ware, fewer restrictions, and many of the "features" that carriers nickel and dime you to death with can be had for free on an unlocked phone.

By anon107423 — On Aug 30, 2010

I want to unlock my blacberry pearl but was told by a provider that if it is unlocked that my service will not be the same. Has anyone had this experience? The provider service I now have is expensive and was bought out by a larger provider.

By anon107205 — On Aug 29, 2010

Here in australia, all cell phones are unlocked except the iphone under contract plan or buy from the apple store and they are unlocked if you buy outright.

if you want to unlock a iphone under contract they charge au$150.00 to unlock it to use overseas using prepaid sim cards. if you want a local cell phone number and here in australia for anyone from the usa, the best network for you is telstra because they have an 850 mhz umts 3g network and if you want an unlocked iphone, look on ebay in australia. they are unlocked unless they say it isn't.

To unlock an australian iphone you can call up the cell phone company and give them the credit card details and they will give you the code to unlock the phone and you install your own sim card and put the code in and it unlocks or you can do it online as well.

In our country a phone provider must let you be able to unlock your phone when you want to and that is in all states of australia.

By anon106079 — On Aug 23, 2010

If I purchase an unlocked att smartphone and all I have is texting capabilities, will it work and will I be charged for a media plan?

The sales rep at att said that if i got an unlocked att cell phone and put my present sim card in, it will be detected and automatically add the media plan to my bill. Is this true or just a scam to keep from purchasing outside of the store?

I do not want to enter a new contract and the phones that are available for texting only are cheap and boring.

By anon102006 — On Aug 06, 2010

Thank god. In India we do not get so called carrier locked cell phones. Here we can just swap different carrier SIM cards in a single phone. A locked phone just stinks!

By anon101878 — On Aug 05, 2010

I am planning to purchase an unlocked quad band cell phone today and spent over an hour with a customer service person online chat. I plan on using the phone for six months in the US and six months in Canada. The phone I chose has wifi so when available. I will be able to use it for data and e-mail, etc. I will be able to go to different providers with their sim cards without a contract.

By anon101257 — On Aug 02, 2010

Can I purchase an iPhone that is unlocked and use it for a tracfone?

By anon97976 — On Jul 21, 2010

I am about to buy an unlocked phone online and it is a new samsung f480t f480 unlocked pink next g mobile. it says that it is a triband phone. what does that mean? i have a virgin mobile sim. could i use that on that phone? i live in australia. --kirsty

By jensen9 — On Jul 19, 2010

I'm moving from the us to canada and want to get a pre paid phone while i stay there. can i use the ATT iphone 3gs and unlock it for the virgin mobile pre paid plan?

By anon96493 — On Jul 15, 2010

Do unlocked phones work for Carolina West?

By anon95395 — On Jul 12, 2010

i got my unlocked cell phone from cellhut and it works with both my prepaid att and tmobile sim cards.

By anon94473 — On Jul 08, 2010

In australia if a phone is unlocked can I use it with the telstra 3G network?

By anon93943 — On Jul 06, 2010

What prepaid service can i use a a sprint blackberry curve 8330 with? Phone is like new, seems a shame to waste it!

By anon92138 — On Jun 26, 2010

I want to get a samsung t401e cell phone unlocked. it's a net 10 phone and if so how can i do this?

By anon91884 — On Jun 24, 2010

could i use an unlocked blackberry with a boost mobile no contract plan?

By anon91363 — On Jun 21, 2010

i have a blackberry 9700 and i can't receive or make calls or text from it. how can it be fixed?

By anon89928 — On Jun 13, 2010

I want to use a sprint blackberry curve under my virgin mobile account. will it work?

By debra1854 — On Jun 13, 2010

I want to use a palm treo on my boost mobile account. Will it work and if so what do I have to do to make it work?

By anon89895 — On Jun 13, 2010

i want to know if i buy the iphone4, can i use it with verizon?

By anon89682 — On Jun 11, 2010

what boost mobile phone sim card can i use for a t-mobile sidekick? Lx

By anon89333 — On Jun 09, 2010

I purchased on E Bay an unlocked iPhone as a gift and I later found out that the person I gave it to can't get it to work. She put her TMobile sim card in and it doesn't read it. any ideas from anyone why? The seller on E Bay is not responding as it was six months ago and who knows?

By anon89255 — On Jun 09, 2010

To add to the conversation; I'm currently a 14-year T-Mobile customer. I've successfully used an unlocked HP Smartphone on their network (it takes a SIM card) for two years. Purchased an unlocked Nokia 5800 (directly from Nokia via Costco) that also works beautifully on my family plan.

My issues started last week when I attempted to purchase a HTC HD2 from T-Mobile. The phone would not receive picture messages without me paying for a data plan. My voice plan already included picture messages. T-Mobile wants me to pay for the same service twice! I refuse! I shouldn't need a data plan to receive picture msgs when the problem is how the phone is configured!

My older and unlocked smartphone didn't need a data plan for picture messages - why should the newer (and smarter?) smartphone need it? And no, I don't need the internet in my pocket; there are too many Hotspots about and wifi already in my home.

To all considering a locked phone, please ask questions. Before purchasing the phone, I visited their stores three times, speaking with three reps - one being the store manager. I returned the phone two days later!

By anon89098 — On Jun 08, 2010

Please help me understand, as electronics are not my greatest area of understanding! If I purchase a Sony Ericcson (unlocked world GSM phone), must I sign on with a carrier before leaving the US and then purchase a SIM card in Italy?

By anon86534 — On May 25, 2010

my att contract is almost up! now boost has a bb, can i unlock my att-bb bold, and use it with boost, when the time comes?

By anon86514 — On May 25, 2010

Can i unlock a Sanyo SCP-2700 for Virgin Mobile?

By anon84172 — On May 14, 2010

if you have an unlocked cellphone, it is most likely able to be on any prepaid plan with any carrier as long as it matches the carriers type of service.

ex: verizon is cdma which works good with iphones and smartphones.

tmobile or at&t can use sims but you'll need phones that are capable of using that kind of service.

In general, once a phone is unlocked, it's able to avail of service from any carrier at any time.

what's important is which kind of service is compatible to your area and phone. BY: IWUR85

By anon84148 — On May 13, 2010

I needed to unlock my brand spanking new Blackberry Pearl 9100, I talked to a few cellphone shops in Los Angeles to see if they could unlock it, they recommended I use a couple of websites.

Now I can use my new Blackberry Pearl 9100 overseas. Cheers!


By anon83264 — On May 10, 2010

My son was here at Christmas with his T-mobile phone. He couldn't get any data access at all. 20 miles away he could get 'G' but not 3G. A few years ago he couldn't get any signal at all, not even voice, at either place.

What I want to know is when will we get 3G service here? Can't the government make them put it in? I feel disadvantaged. What is the point of buying a blackberry, iphone or android if you can't get the service to make it work?

By anon82842 — On May 07, 2010

Sorry, I'm Italian. I'd like to know if the blackberry that AT&T sells for $449 (without contract) is unlocked? Can I use it in Italy? No contract means also that the phone is unlocked? thank you

By anon82600 — On May 06, 2010

i'm wanting to buy an iphone unlocked. question is, can i use it pre-paid with verizon wireless?

By twaitpl — On May 05, 2010

your source of information is really awesome for the readers.

By anon81786 — On May 03, 2010

If I buy an unlocked blackberry, will ATT still charge me the $30 a month for data if I already have the internet on my plan? I lost my cell phone and need a new one so I think my cheapest way is to just buy an unlocked phone on the internet.

By anon80711 — On Apr 28, 2010

189: take it to best buy or your service provider. they can hook it up to the computer and tell you what's wrong.

By anon80034 — On Apr 25, 2010

I have the motorola i465 and I can't receive calls. I live on the border with mexico. since january I've been experiencing this, and I called to boostmobile customer care and they tried to helped me, but nothing really worked. do you think is a trouble with my sim card? I have three years with it, so what do you think is going on?

By anon79400 — On Apr 22, 2010

i bought 2 unlocked phones online. what i loved was that i got both phones pretty cheap -- under $100 --plus no contract.

By justliam — On Apr 18, 2010

Hello, I don't know much about unlocking phones or what I actually gain from it. But my question is, I have a Blackberry on Verizon wireless which is temporarily turned off.

Can i unlock my blackberry and use tracfone cards to use it as minutes on the blackberry? Or is there a better/cheaper option to get my blackberry working until I get the verizon service turned back on? Thanks everyone.

By anon77834 — On Apr 15, 2010

I have an activated Tracfone, but I don't like the phone. Can I buy a new unlocked phone and put my Tracfone SIM card in it?

By anon77765 — On Apr 15, 2010

I bought an unlocked blackberry the other day to use with the SIM card from my old phone that wasn't a blackberry and apparently, AT&T claims that they can find out that I am now using a blackberry and charge me an extra $30 a month because its a blackberry. Is this true? I'm not using the blackberry for the data package. I've just always wanted a blackberry.

By anon76088 — On Apr 08, 2010

I'd like to ask, are cell phones like those selling on some sites considered unlocked cell phones? these are phones made without locking to any carrier. i'm just curious about the difference as they also named their phones 'unlocked cell phones'.

By anon75997 — On Apr 08, 2010

If i buy a blackberry can i use my tracfone plan?

By anon75420 — On Apr 06, 2010

well, I have a blackberry 8530. i already unlocked it so i want to know if i can use a prepaid sim card in it.

By anon74883 — On Apr 04, 2010

my cell phone is almost dead and i will need a new one. i am on a contract with verizon until august, but will be moving to the uk in september.

i would really like to get a blackberry i could use both here in the us on my verizon contract and in the uk on pay as you go. is this possible?

could a verizon blackberry (locked or unlocked) work in the uk, or would this not work because verizon does not use a sim?

By menace007 — On Apr 04, 2010

This is an answer to comment 179. Nope, at&t did the same thing to an iphone. i no longer could pay for cell service, due to the damn economy, and at&t locked me out of address book/phone numbers etc. You would think a person could use it like an ipod at least!

Unlocked phones. If only americans could stop and take the time to boycott stuff like this and that. We could drive down gas prices in one day!! If not one person bought gas in america for 24 hours.. I'm stubborn like that. I refuse to own a vehicle and I let my driver's license expire.

The public bus is great, i have a driver, it's 1000 percent safer than riding in a car, no extorting me for re-registering the same car every year, insurance, smog check, maintenance/repairs, or damn gas hikes.

I can't afford it!

By anon74584 — On Apr 02, 2010

Can I get an Alias phone from Verizon Wireless, and use it with AT&T?

By anon74322 — On Apr 01, 2010

In fact, there are plenty of alternatives to unlocking carrier-locked cell phones. One can actually opt for a cheap, features packed cell phone that's unlocked by default and forget about all the hassles associated with locked cell phones.

I came across a website in my hunt for unlocked cell phones and I find their prices really attractive. The only reserve I have though is they are not the mainstream brand but heck -- for the low prices they sell their phones, I'd give it a shot.

By anon73134 — On Mar 25, 2010

I am thinking about purchasing an unlocked Samsung Impression a877 from AT&T, and use it with my T-mobile sim card. Exactly what are the features that won't be available to me since I am a T-mobile customer

By anon72212 — On Mar 22, 2010

If I buy an unlocked phone from India, will it work in Canada or USA? Please advise. Thanks

By anon70654 — On Mar 15, 2010

Hey. I have an LG VU, and I want to use it only as an media player. I cannot get it working it without a smartchip.

Is there a way around this problem? Can I get past the "insert smartchip" message, and just play with the phone? It is AT&T, if that matters. Thanks.

By anon70480 — On Mar 14, 2010

can i get an ATT incite and use it with sprint?

By anon69957 — On Mar 11, 2010

I am seema from India. Online i bought a CDMA V3c phone. Now the seller and website are not responding to me where i can get the code number to activate my phone. I think i have lost my money just because of a wrong choice of phone and website. can somebody help me?

By anon69267 — On Mar 07, 2010

my friend got a T-Mobile prepaid phone that is really nice but got it unlocked and uses it with a AT&T plan, how do you do that?

By anon69147 — On Mar 06, 2010

I'm thinking of buying an LG Cyon Ice Cream 2 phone that is unlocked. It says it's T-Mobile, but since it's unlocked, would I be able to switch to Verizon Wireless network? Also, I'm not sure if it is or not, but do Verizon phones not have a SIM card? If I can switch it to Verizon, do I have to remove the phone's SIM card? I tried reading all of the comments, but I'm still confused. Thanks!

By anon68827 — On Mar 04, 2010

If you have an AT&T phone, call international customer service tell them you are in a foreign country and they will unlock your phone for free. It doesn't matter what type of AT&T phone you have.

By anon68387 — On Mar 02, 2010

In Canada. Looking at buying an unlocked Blackberry Curve GSM from one of the US carriers, to use with Rogers, as I only want it for the qwerty and other features, and would never use a data plan, which I'd be required to pay for if I purchased it from my provider.

My question is about calls and SMS, as well as updating the phone. Will an unlocked US phone work as it should with a Rogers SIM card. Can the phone be updated, etc.?

By anon67829 — On Feb 26, 2010

I bought a used cell phone online which is supposed to be unlocked. When I called ATT to register it to my plan, I was told it is an ATT brand phone. How do I know if I got what I paid for- an unlocked phone?

By anon67635 — On Feb 25, 2010

i have a prepaid alltel motorola razr and bought a unlocked alltel lg vu cu920 online but after transferring the sim card from the motorola to the Vu, the VU continues to ask for the Smart Chip. Why?

By anon65682 — On Feb 15, 2010

I just bought a used Helio Ocean. Virgin says it can't be used with prepaid, Sprint says they have suspended signing on new customers with used phones and I have to get a new phone. Helio was bought by Virgin, then merged with Sprint. So it looks like I wasted my money and it's unusable. Is there any way I can use this phone, or did I get a digital paperweight?

By anon65111 — On Feb 11, 2010

can anybody tell me this? i got my phone unlocked so can use it with any phone provider, but what i want to know is can it be barred after it's been unlocked? cheers

By anon64726 — On Feb 09, 2010

OK, here is an addition to the GSM scoop:

In response to the Blackberry switch to Boost Mobile question: Yes, but double check with Boost.

FYI: Yes, Boost does use GSM for voice calls and text, but they also use iDEN, which means you cannot use a Boost/Nextel SIM in a T-Mobile phone, and vice-versa.

In response to the general 'can i use an unlocked phone on _____'s network?'. Yes, but make sure the frequency the phone is programmed for is what your destination's carrier supports.

By anon64466 — On Feb 07, 2010

I'm going to spend two weeks in europe. can i get a phone for a period of time? what cell would you recommend?

By anon63878 — On Feb 04, 2010

OK. i have a Samsung F480/Tocco and it's working well with AT&T. i can make a call and send messages, but the problem is i can't get into the internet. and also the phone setting for messages is different than the other F480. mine has this so like a keyboard type that the letters are too small that i have to use a pen to press it. but the other has this numeric keypad which i like better than the keyboard type. does this mean my phone is unlocked? or locked?

By anon63101 — On Jan 30, 2010

I'm a little confused. So if I bought an unlocked Blackberry- I could use it with tracfone, just not have internet access, correct?

By anon62042 — On Jan 24, 2010

I'm traveling to Grand Cayman and France this year and see unlocked phones on the net for as little as $17. Can I buy one of these and then buy a SIM card in the foreign country when I get there for reliable phone service? Regards, Don

By anon62027 — On Jan 24, 2010

I have a verizon wireless world edition blackberry phone and would like to transfer it to Boost mobile blackberry service. Can this be done?

By unlockedcell — On Jan 18, 2010

Unlocked cell phones are phones that are not registered to any cell phone companies or providers. This means you can use the phone to any cell phone providers you want.

By anon60958 — On Jan 17, 2010

I want to send the phone I used to use, a Motorola Razr V3 with Verizon, to my sister who lives in France. Will she be able to use it there, and do I need to do anything with it here in the States before I send it. Thanks.

By anon60833 — On Jan 16, 2010

can i buy a unlocked pantech duo and use it on a i wireless network?

By anon60735 — On Jan 15, 2010

After looking at some of these comments, I now understand the need for locked phones and am grateful that they exist so I won't have to go through this madness.

By anon60091 — On Jan 11, 2010

check out Warlox Wireless. they know a lot about unlocking phones. They are based in Boston.

By anon59430 — On Jan 08, 2010

Answer to anon 327: I'm not American but I know something about mobiles. And I know that my tri-band Nokia N70 allows me to roam in the US with both T-mobile and AT&T (the former Cingular) with my H3G contract. The only thing you have to check is the band used by At&t in your town. The frequencies of 900-1800 Mhz are European, the US GSM works on Gsm 1900(PCS) and Gsm 850 that allow providers to cover bigger areas with less towers. So if you live in a metropolitan area it's sure that AT&T uses PCS, if you live in a small town it's possible that AT&T covers you only on 850 MHz.

Please forgive my grammar. English is my second language.

By anon58630 — On Jan 03, 2010

I want to buy an unlocked Blackberry and use either a T-moblie or ATT pre-pay activated Sim card with it. Like questioners before me, how can we eventually access the web or email?

I don't see the option from either carrier to pay for this access without a major contract. I would pay for "data only" if either allowed it and I could start/cancel at will without penalty (EFT, etc). Has anyone determined a way to do this, please?

By sirced — On Jan 01, 2010

how do you get internet setting from att carriers to surf the internet and receive mms message for an unlocked watch phone?

By anon58361 — On Jan 01, 2010

I am with ATT and I have a simscard phone. I want to buy a phone that ATT doesn't have. I found it online, but it says international version only. What does that mean exactly? I can use it here in Tx, or is it for over seas? I've seen some that say USA version only also, but of course the phone I want isn't one of those.

By anon57432 — On Dec 23, 2009

Wow! O.K. here is the unlocked GSM scoop. If a cell is unlocked regardless of the make or model you can put any sim card in it and go. My son has an unlocked iphone and has a prepaid sim in it.

They will all work for voice calls and texting. To use the internet with your sim card you must get the carriers internet settings and edit the phone settings yourself. Example: T-mobile unlocked phone w/ATT sim card will only get voice calls and text messages automatically. If you can edit the phone's internet settings and replace the T-mobile gateways with AT&T info then you can surf or get email.

tri band/quad band issues: Research it people! you will get a map showing what areas of the world are covered under what bands. Some sites will even tell you what carrier is supported in that area. Most ebay e-stores that sell unlocked phones or international phones will have a listing showing what is covered where.

By anon57419 — On Dec 22, 2009

Some people have said this, but many others seem confused! So, to reiterate:

1) In the US, unlocked phones will only work with GSM carriers, the major ones being AT&T and T-Mobile. They won't work with CDMA carriers, the main ones being Verizon and Sprint. (Most other carriers really use one of the big four networks, if your phone can "roam" on Sprint/Verizon, it is a CDMA phone for example).

2) If the phone is unlocked, it means that a SIM from a different carrier (US or otherwise) will be accepted by the phone. If the SIM allows, you will be able to connect to an available network supported by the phone's radios (see below). In some cases the SIM won't allow this, for example, in the "world" mode phones of Verizon, the included Verizon SIM is prevented from working on AT&T and T-Mobile in the US.

Depending on the features of the phone and the SIM, you may be able to connect to the internet at various speeds and do other things.

Some carrier features will only work with their own SIMS, so don't expect everything to work perfectly.

3) Be especially aware of the "bands" the phone supports. If the phone doesn't have the correct radios, you won't be able to access the network regardless of what SIM you use. So a US dual-band phone won't work in most of Europe. Also, "3G" is different in the US from elsewhere. A phone that gets 3G in the US might not be able to work at 3G speeds elsewhere (some do, some don't).

By anon57403 — On Dec 22, 2009

Warning. Cell phones and towers are frying us all. Go back to wired phones. They were the only things that work when the power goes out.

By anon56737 — On Dec 17, 2009

i have a T mobile phone and i'm trying to unlock it to work with my boost mobile network. is it possible?

By anon56452 — On Dec 15, 2009

Sprint HTC Touch Pro 2 has a built in sim cards. It is a world phone. I have gotten a prepaid sim card and all I do is insert it from my HTC TP2 phone and that's it -- ready to use it. :)

Cool thing is, most new sprint phones are now getting sim cards built in the phones.

By anon51416 — On Nov 05, 2009

i bought an unlocked blackberry 8520 yesterday. It's working fine. I love this phone. Now white color is also out. May be will buy white color soon. thanks, mandy

By anon51389 — On Nov 05, 2009

can you unlock iphones for tmobile?

By anon48115 — On Oct 09, 2009

Ouch! Too much confusing info. Not enough answers. Is there a central, perhaps federal agency that has all the answers?

By anon47913 — On Oct 08, 2009

i just purchased a new iphone and want to unlock it and then put in a new sim card that is good all over asia, india, thailand, singapore, hong kong, china, okinawa and taipei. Is there any one plan that i can use to both unlock it and purchase minutes? I want a plan that does not charge for incoming calls and will give an 880 number in the us if my children want to call me. thanks.

By anon47587 — On Oct 06, 2009

Can I use an unlocked Iphone with virgin mobile prepaid service?

By anon47526 — On Oct 05, 2009

this article is nice. thanks.

By anon47428 — On Oct 05, 2009

I'm using Sprint now, and I really want to change it to another phone. Actually, I got a this phone which is "unlocked" Nokia 6288. I don't know how to activate this phone. I mean, should I bring it to any cell phone shops? and then what? Buy a GSM card? or what should I do to use with this phone?

By anon47263 — On Oct 03, 2009

I am thinking about buying the Blackberry tour (the newest phone from Verizon that comes with a SIM card and can be unlocked) because I am in and out of the country every few months. I have a blackberry already and am paying a butt load for my plan, as well as having a phone in this other country that is a prepaid. I was wondering if anyone knew if I switched my card from my prepaid and put it into my new Blackberry, would I still have to pay for my plan at home in the states on top of adding money to my phone while in this other country?

By anon46696 — On Sep 28, 2009

can I use a nokia 5530 on the net10 network? Thanks.

By anon45948 — On Sep 22, 2009

I have spent a lot of time researching and looking at purchasing unlocked phones. I decided to make my purchase with JAB Cellular and I am so glad I did! These folks were awesome! They had outstanding pricing, amazing customer service, and my order arrived the next day for only $9.95 for shipping charges. It doesn't get much better than that! They have a very large inventory, and can pretty much special order any phone, should it not be in their catalog already.

By anon45881 — On Sep 21, 2009

There are a ton of questions here which basically all ask the same thing. How can I save money and have the most flexibility? The answer has two components: get a phone that has a SIM card, and *ensure* that it also supports at a minimum tri-band frequencies. Quad-band frequencies are better since they are supported worldwide. You'll never find anything in North America lower than dual band since North America itself uses two frequencies. Once your phone is unlocked you simply pop out the SIM card and replace with another SIM card (this SIM card can be a card from another country if you want). If you go to, for example, the UK, you simply purchase a new SIM card (for 5 or 10 pounds) from a carrier over there (O2, or Virgin, etc.) Pop it into your phone. If your phone is a tri-band or quad-band model, then you are all of a sudden a local phone in the UK and will pay local rates for calls to the UK. You will pay International rates to call home. If you leave your home SIM card (North American) in the phone you will roam. Each time you make a call to a UK number, you will pay a roaming charge plus a specific local rate (likely to be more than if you used the local UK SIM card). If you call home, you will pay International rates. The moral? You will *always* pay international rates when making international calls. The difference comes in using a SIM card to change what is considered your local location.

By anon45779 — On Sep 20, 2009

i have a questionm. as of right now i have the att network, i wanted the blackberry but didn't want to pay the 30 unlimited data fee that was required with getting this phone. If i get a unlocked blackberry willl i still need to pay that fee even if i do not use email or go onto the internet with the phone?

By anon45123 — On Sep 14, 2009

hello, i found there are many unlocked phones online. are those true? who can tell me. thanks!

By anon43525 — On Aug 29, 2009

OK, here is what I know and I hope it helps some folks.

I purchased an unlocked blackberry while I was in another country, it cost me right around $400. I have had no issues with the phone (but from what I have been reading if you get your phone unlocked as opposed to purchasing one that was never locked is sounds like they can be pretty buggy due to some software issues.) I have a few different SIM chips that I use with my phone, one is a plan that I pay monthly (for the States), the others are all foreign Pay as you Go chips with foreign carriers. if your service provider in the States does not operate in a foreign country you have to purchase a different chip for your phone. A note on this, if you are using a foreign chip it is like you are a ‘local’, you can call back to the States (and people from the states can call you) but it gets expensive fast because it is an international call. All my SIM chips have different phone numbers. Before you purchase a phone I would make sure that it is SIM compatible. There are some services that don’t use SIM chips (AT&T, T-Moblie, Verizon, Sprint, Alltell) so you cannot use these service providers, as their chip will not fit into your phone, any phone that these companies produce you will not be able to use a SIM chip in.

By anon43033 — On Aug 25, 2009

I have a canadian IPhone 3G and my american AT&T sim card is not finding any service when i use my IPhone with it. Why does this happen?

By anon42606 — On Aug 22, 2009

I plan to visit Italy. I understand that I can buy an unlocked phone there and a pay as you go SIM card and call anywhere in the world. Is that correct? When I buy an unlocked cell phone, where do I get the phone number for the unlocked cell phone? Can somebody help?

By anon42480 — On Aug 21, 2009

There's 100 questions here and only a couple of answers. After reading all the questions, i'm really confused.

Buying an unlocked phone: Will that allow you to use all its features (internet, e-mail, etc) without subscribing to the additional services?

By anon42441 — On Aug 21, 2009

Wow, I really can't believe some of the questions here. The best thing if you are planning on buying an unlocked phone, is to check with the carrier you are with or planning on going to. If the carrier supports the "frequency band" of the phone, put in the SIM card and there you go. If the band isn't supported, look for a different phone. Unlocked cell phones are 100 percent legal in every country. So let's sum up: if you want to use an unlocked phone, check with the cell provider, they will be able to tell you. Other things to remember, Verizon, Alltel, and some others do not use sim cards. if looking to buy an unlocked phone for use with any company that doesn't use SIM, do not buy a SIM phone!

People, please do your research.

By joeycerra — On Aug 17, 2009

I have a verizon cell phone and some of the features are not working. If I bought a unlocked phone, would I be able to transfer it to my carrier?

By anon41649 — On Aug 16, 2009

If I buy a smartphone and have at&t service do I have to get their data service to access the internet, or does their data service just allow me to connect through their hotspots?

By anon41324 — On Aug 14, 2009

I saw a blackberry phone on eBay which is unlocked in the UK. If I buy this phone, can I use a prepaid SIM in the phone? Thanks!

By anon40514 — On Aug 09, 2009

I am will be spending the winter months in Panama and would like an unlocked phone that I can use there as well as the USA. Any suggestions?

By anon40500 — On Aug 09, 2009

How do i know my Blackberry 8100 Pearl handset is locked or unlocked?

By anon40426 — On Aug 08, 2009

Yes unlocked phones are legal. In fact most cell phones in Europe are unlocked as most people use pay as you go and change out their SIM card whenever they go to a different country, and there are phones, such as the iPhone that are free on contract over there. SIM cards are the same size, so it will work in any phone. You can't use a G1 with Sprint because Sprint does not use SIM cards. GSM networks (AT&T, T-Moblie are GSM) Verizon, Sprint, Alltell use CDMA which do not use SIM cards.

By anon39868 — On Aug 04, 2009

I want to get the T-Mobile G1 phone, but want to get Sprint service. Can I make this work by getting a G1 that's unlocked?

By anon39598 — On Aug 03, 2009

I just purchased an iphone from ebay. it's unlocked and ready to use. just put in the sim card. first, is the phone working under the plan that the person I purchase the phone from has? can someone explain to me how all of this works? Thanks

By anon39435 — On Aug 01, 2009

if i have a boost phone and put my sim card in it will i keep my number if i go to the boost site and update phone

By anon38763 — On Jul 28, 2009

if i have u.s cellular and want to get an iphone is it possible to use an unlocked one?

if not which phones can i use that u.s. cellular doesn't offer? thanks

By anon38327 — On Jul 25, 2009

I have T-Mobile service, but will change to Cricket here soon, so after unlocked my bb pearl, can someone tell me what to do next, do I just simply enter some kind of code from my new cricket phone? if any one can help me, I would much apreciate it. Thanks

By gengin — On Jul 23, 2009

Unlocked cell phones should be able to use and compatible to any cell phone providers out there.

By anon37459 — On Jul 19, 2009

Do unlocked cell phones work for prepaid wireless service?

By anon37345 — On Jul 18, 2009

Hi there,

I have the same questions as Bob #93. I live in Ontario and wonder if any of the unlocked phones I buy on ebay will be operational in Canada. Thanks!

By anon37277 — On Jul 18, 2009

So can I just buy a plan from a carrier and use it for my phone? how does that work? I want to buy a samsung omnia or a blackberry bold but don't want to pay samsungs fees. how will I get a plan from a different carrier to work with an unlocked phone?

By anon37087 — On Jul 16, 2009

It is a good idea to purchase an unlocked iPhone 3g for use in China?

By anon36461 — On Jul 12, 2009

Are all sim cards the same size- they will fit in any phone?? I have a Tmobile network and want to get an unlocked iphone- should be fine right???

By anon36316 — On Jul 11, 2009

can you use an unlocked phone as prepaid and does it cost extra??

By anon36280 — On Jul 11, 2009

the sim card inserted in this iphone does not appear to be supported

what will i do

By anon35932 — On Jul 08, 2009

If I purchase a net 10 prepaid phone that has it's own SIM card, would that sim card work in an unlocked phone?

By anon33538 — On Jun 08, 2009

are unlocked mobile phones legal in any country?

By anon32959 — On May 29, 2009

So you cannot use other unlocked phones on verizon wireless?

By billhowell — On May 25, 2009

i have net 10 prepaid. will my sim card work in an unlocked phone? i don't like their phones. -bill

By bobdut — On May 18, 2009

I live in Canada (Ontario) but I'd like to buy an "unlocked" cellphone in the US (on ebay). If I do this and buy a SI card from a Canadian service and a monthly card from them, can I use it in Canada?


By anon32105 — On May 16, 2009

can i use a prepaid sim card from a T-mobile phone in an unlocked phone by just installing it and will it fit as some appear to be different sizes?

By anu — On May 10, 2009

I am using a Nokia 2365i mobile & I got the unlock instructions as well as unlock code online. Shall I use another network in this model & resell it?

By yallen — On May 05, 2009

I am *totally* new at this so bear w/me, folks. First, if I buy an unlocked cell I should (or definitely will) be able to use it w/my SIM card in it? Or is this just a crap shoot? I'm a T*Mobile user and feel that I am in trouble since my cell died on me and my insurance was for only one year from when I purchased it. I can't afford to buy a new phone -- gotta wait until November (which is what the T*Mobile reps told me) whereby I can get a decent deal on a cell OR wait until it's time to renew my contract (which is in January) and get a better deal on a new cell. I need something now. Help!

By Diablosniper — On May 04, 2009

Will an unlocked phone be able to work on the Sprint Network?

By bjg — On May 03, 2009

I have net 10, but do not like their phones. Can I

buy an unlocked phone and use my net 10 sim card in it?

By shelli555 — On May 01, 2009

If I buy an unlocked cell phone and take it to say my local Alltel provider would I be eligible for any different rates than I would getting my phone through Alltel? My second question is If I were to buy a Blackberry or Iphone and buy a Boost Mobile SIM card to put in them can I use the $50 a month unlimited plan with those phones?

I guess I am just unclear as to why I would want an unlocked phone other than using it to travel or using a phone not carried by your provider?

By anon31162 — On Apr 30, 2009

I want to know if a newcomer can use an unlocked cell phone? So then what do I need to buy besides an unlocked cell phone? A subscription plan, pay as you go, or a SIM card?

By jay67 — On Apr 28, 2009

Are there unlocked phones that can be used with sprint as the provider?

By anon30361 — On Apr 17, 2009

Would An Unlocked Hello Kitty Gsm Phone work in the United States?

By anon29804 — On Apr 08, 2009

I already have a verizon phone, but I like this at&t phone. Can I use the at&t phone on my verizon service?

By lionheart — On Mar 13, 2009

I have 9 months left on my t-mobile contract and I'm content with their service. The problem is I want a phone that another carrier has that is not offered by t-mobile. Can I use my sim card with their phone if I purchase an unlocked phone of that type and still have the same service and regular cell phone functions that I have now.

By shiloh64 — On Mar 12, 2009

I have an unlocked at&t tilt a.k.a. kaiser Htc tynn. My question concerns how do I get T-mobile software on and At&t software off?

I am trying to sell this phone and it's confusing to potential buyers. From T-mobile when they place their sims in and it still shows at&t software it is unlocked because otherwise it would ask for PUK a code or message insert sim card.

I unlocked it myself when contract was up requested and received the PUK code used old t-mobile sim card. Any information would be appreciated. Thanks

By open1 — On Mar 12, 2009

Once a cell phone is unlocked would I still have to pay for extras like GPS and Web access? Or is all this unlocked to me? If not, how can I get all this for a low cost?

By jillactor — On Mar 08, 2009

If I bought an unlocked phone intending to use it with Metro PCS, would all the features that metro supports work, or just some?

By pirate73 — On Feb 27, 2009

I was thinking about buying a unlocked phone, but i do not know if it will work with US Cellular? If any one could answer my question that would be great.

By anon25788 — On Feb 03, 2009

So if I by an unlocked phone (considering the an unlocked model of my current phone)will I need any special code, etc. to enable the internet browsers, email connections,etc.? All I have to do in put in my sim card & go?

By loonster5234 — On Feb 02, 2009

I bought a Motorola trac phone and i like the size. Can i activate this phone on my Verizon account?

By anon25535 — On Jan 30, 2009

Do i have to pay for service with the sim card? I have verizon but want an i-phone and i can't afford the switch to another carrier.

By taytay10 — On Jan 12, 2009

i want to buy a unlock phone from t-moble but i have at&t and i am wondering will the phone work when i get it for at&t

By cncisco — On Jan 10, 2009

so, will an unlocked phone work with a Net10 or TracFone SIM card?

By anon23853 — On Jan 03, 2009

hey, for all you guys that are asking if the unlocked phone will work with your SIM card, look up the phone you want on ebay (there are tons of unlocked phones there) and read the description. it should tell you which SIM cards it works with and answer any other questions you have.

By anon23491 — On Dec 26, 2008

I want to buy a phone from ebay.online auction....will it work in India?

By anon23395 — On Dec 23, 2008

I plan on buying a phone as a gift and I know my friend uses ATT and still has a year under the existing contract. I was wondering what my safest bet was? I would hate to get a phone that couldn't be used!

By anon23316 — On Dec 21, 2008

Could you use an unlocked phone with Tracfone?

By anon23252 — On Dec 19, 2008

If I buy an unlocked cell phone, and transfer my sim card from my old AT&T Pay as You Go Phone, is it necessary then to go to AT&T Dealer if I want to retain my current number????

By anon23017 — On Dec 15, 2008

good web page... I am a tech nerd and I still did not know what it means to have an unlocked phone... keep seeing all these ads for "unlocked" phones, I wanted to know... now i know and knowing is half the battle... GO Joe.

By mariz0107 — On Dec 12, 2008

thank you soooo much for this... i didn't quite understand the concept but now i do...i have a question though... if unlocked means they can read any sim card that's inserted in the phone... does it mean that i can insert sim cards from any country; because i live in panama, latin america and i travel to the U.S and a lot and i was wondering if i could just buy one of these phones and buy a sim card of an american carrier and use it when i'm there and when i get back use my regular sim card??

By anon22875 — On Dec 11, 2008

Thank you sooooo much!!! You are providing such a great service for all of us non-geeks. Thank you Thank you Thank you!!!

By anon22331 — On Dec 01, 2008

I am trying to get the sim card out of a Samsung SCH-U340 ... pretend you are speaking to a child and explain how to get to the card ... is it under the battery, do you have to unscrew the phone to get to it? Thanks!

By MoselyJ3 — On Nov 27, 2008

This article is very helpful. I am just looking into the concept of unlocked cell phones. I am learning about SIM cards and the different networks GSM and CDMA. There is one thing I do not understand. If I purchase the unlocked cell phone I want and insert the SIM card, am I good to go? Do I have to sign with or notify any company? Is there a next step I am missing? Thanks so much.

By mrhappy — On Nov 27, 2008

im lookin to by a unlocked iphone that works with a Sim. i have verizon service. i was wondering if it would work with my service since verizon phones don't have Sim card in them

By nick0608 — On Nov 16, 2008

I never knew what an unlocked phone was and didn't know about this site earlier but my answers were answered when i called popular electronics and bought a phone from them for a great deal! This site is very helpful as well thank You!

By ssa727 — On Nov 15, 2008

has anyone bought a phone from big time wireless?

Prices are good, but I never bought a phone online before.

Please advise. Thank you!

By anon19595 — On Oct 15, 2008

Cellhut is a great place to buy unlocked cell phone. They've got some cool next-gen phones from HTC and Nokia

By rmtar — On Oct 06, 2008

I just purchased an unlocked LG Shine. My contract with T-Mobile expires in December. Then what? Do I pay for each call? Do I just continue to use the SIM card that I have from my T-Mobile contract? How will I be charged for calls / service?

By pricanbeauty — On Sep 12, 2008

I have a tmobile service and I am trying to buy a side kick slide and the phone is new and not unlocked will I have a problem with. Can I just put the sm card with no problem.

By anon17316 — On Aug 27, 2008

Unlocked phones are awesome! they let you switch between sim card from different networks. I always use an unlocked phone because I travel a lot and it saves me a heck of a lot of money on roaming charges, i just buy a pay as you go sim card from my destination, pop it into the phone and it works straight away! Trust me you should use an unlocked phone, it's well worth it!

By anon17007 — On Aug 20, 2008

Can you use unlocked phones on U.S. Cellular?

By anon16897 — On Aug 17, 2008

I just bought an AT&T Tilt (8925) and bought an unlock code on the internet. Now I'm using my tilt with Fido in Vancouver on Pay as you go. so yes it works right away, just pop in a sim card and your ready to go! It's just great to have an unlocked phone, I'm planning on taking it to Germany with me in September and just buying a local sim card there. that way I avoid huge roaming charges.

By cmw — On Aug 11, 2008

If I want to purchase a cellphone online (a razor v3) that would work the "Cellular South" Network. A CDMA? What do I look for? Most unlocked phones say they are GSM or they are for Version/Alltel/US Cellular/etc.

By anon16339 — On Aug 03, 2008

Warmbrown - You asked whether unlocking a phone is illegal? If the carrier will eventually do it for a fee what do you think?

By rob007ny — On Aug 03, 2008

does the SIM card of the Samsung ACE or the Blackberry 8830 World Edition from Sprint work with any unlock phone?

By anon14984 — On Jun 28, 2008

how do I know if my phone is unlocked?

By anon13900 — On Jun 06, 2008

All 'unlocked' phones do is allow you to use the particular phone with any of the service providers that use SIM cards. There's no point in specifically buying one if you don't plan on changing providers or if your provider doesn't use SIM cards.

By anon13582 — On May 30, 2008

I am thinking of buying an unlocked phone. Will I be able to use it with a prepaid "jump" account. Jump is a division of Cricket? Thank you! Lin

By taurus — On May 14, 2008

I purchased a unlocked nokia 7360 from ebay and used my sims card from previous phone. I can't get a signal for the phone the carrier is AT&T do I need to contact them?

By anon12692 — On May 12, 2008

I don't know if is legal to use unlocked phones or it could conceal a crime?

By anon12249 — On May 02, 2008

I bought a new phone from Palm as "unlocked". Turns out, it can only be used with AT&T. Isn't that a locked phone?

By unlocked — On Apr 09, 2008

yes the iPhone can be unlocked. Most unlocked GSM phones will work on any GSM network.

By lgrivera — On Apr 07, 2008

If I buy an unlocked phone will it work with Suncom Wireless which is in Puerto Rico?

By anon9435 — On Mar 06, 2008

can i unlock nokia 6101?

By anon9099 — On Feb 28, 2008

Can the iPhone be made unlocked? How, who would do it? Thanks, AlexK

By anon9036 — On Feb 26, 2008

I would like to buy a pda phone that can support any gsm network from 900/1800/1900, but i have the 3g sim card and it says that it covers 850/1900 network. The guy on ebay says that the phone will work with any of those 3 gsm (900/1800/1900). My question is, will the phone work if i insert my sim card even though it's a 850 network sim card?

By anon8439 — On Feb 13, 2008

I just purchased an unlocked blackberry 8310 to replace my 1st gen bb. When I insert the SIM card, will it use the phone number from the previous phone? Will I still have all of the same email server and bluetooth settings?

By miket601 — On Jan 31, 2008

Does the nokia N95 work with cellular south?

By anon7665 — On Jan 31, 2008

i just bought a nokia N95 on ebay. I have service with cellular south. they say i can't activate a phone unless i bought it from them. They don't use sim cards and don't carry that phone. The nokia N95 that I purchased is unlocked. Is there any way I can use the nokia N95 with cellular south?

By Brundin — On Jan 30, 2008

I have a two year old Palm Treo 750. I wanted to switch carriers from Sprint to Verizon when I came up against the 'proprietary' aspect of the phone.

Being 77 and recently retired, am I forced to stay with Sprint, or is there a way for a wise geek to unlock this (now $400) pink elephant to use with Verizon?

By anon7530 — On Jan 28, 2008

i bought a unlocked Motorola Razr V3 on ebay and i have a nokia 90.

i have a <> card in my nokia....

can i put the card in the razr and it will work?

By anon5805 — On Dec 06, 2007

if you buy an unlocked phone off ebay, say the samsung trace, can you then use it as a prepaid phone?

By anon5460 — On Nov 26, 2007

No, you can't just put any old SIM card in a cell phone and expect it to work. If the card is not associated with an account at a service provider, you won't get any service (except maybe 911).

And yes, this article has nothing to do (currently) with Sprint. Sprint is not GSM, does not use SIM cards, and thus "an unlocked phone" is not a concept that applies.

By anon4522 — On Oct 21, 2007

Do you have to have a service plan or do you just put in a SIM card and then you can call anybody anytime for free? thanks

By warmbrown — On Oct 20, 2007

Is unlocking a phone illegal?

By warmbrown — On Oct 20, 2007

Can the Nokia N75 be unlocked to use with T-mobile? I really like the phone,but I don't think T-mobile sells it. I want to be added to my husband's t-mobile acct and I like that particular phone

By anon4463 — On Oct 19, 2007

I want to get the Unlocked LG enV VX990 that's meant to be for verizon but I have cinglular? Will it work?

By khensley — On Sep 30, 2007

i currently have sprint for my cell phone provider, i was interested in buying an unlocked cell phone but don't know a lot about it.... is it possible to use an unlocked cell phone with sprint?

By anon3548 — On Sep 04, 2007

It is very VERY important you look at your sim card... for instance att in the us is running the 3g sim card. if you buy an unlocked super phone off the net that is for 2g sim card then you will most likely have issues when getting it on the us network. 2g and 2.5g sim cards are used everywhere else in the world as the networks are slowly changing over to 3g.

sim cards are in gsm network phones..

good luck..

By bluedragon — On Aug 28, 2007

Hi, I want an unlocked CDMA cello phone that I can use in Korea, where can I buy one. (they don't seem to have them here, or their $300.00)

By anon3141 — On Aug 13, 2007

Can you use an unlocked phone with alltel?

By reeliao — On Jul 19, 2007

According my experience, if the phone is unlocked, it will be compatible with any carrier's network with the same band that your phone supports, for example, if your unlocked cell phone supports GSM 1900,it can be useful in any network with GSM 1900 band.

In conclusion,you need pay attention to two factors: unlocked and GSM band.

I bought an unlocked cell phone on line days ago, which support four band, which means it can use in almost every countries on earth, and feel good, further more, it is inexpensive.

By the way, the online shop i dealt with is Uxcell,you can get this shop with searchaing "uxcell" in goggle, and the phone i bought is :

"Nautilus" 3 inch TFT Touch Screen PDA 2.0 Mega Camera MP4 MP3 Mobile phone.

By anon2357 — On Jul 08, 2007

Is there anyway you can 'relock' a phone once it has been unlocked? I have an unlocked RZR and I'd really like to lock it back to the original t-mobile service.

By spoiledm91 — On Jun 29, 2007

Will an Unlocked cell phone work for U.S. Cellular??

By anon2002 — On Jun 23, 2007

From what I'm getting, if you use Verizon, Sprint or Virgin Mobile you cannot use an unlocked phone.

By anon1841 — On Jun 17, 2007

if i purchase an unlocked phone online is there any posibilities than it will work in my cellularone network?

By marilone — On Jun 12, 2007

I am a Sprint Cell Phone subscriber. My puppy has chewed my phone almost to oblivion. Is there any compatible phone I can use in it's place? I don't want to sign up for additional service time.

From what I have read, I don't think I can because of my service provider.

By anon985 — On May 10, 2007

If i purchase an unlocked cell phone from the states can I put my sim card from canada in it and will it work in canada???

By sombra — On Apr 25, 2007

If I purchase a unlocked cell phone will I be able to use it on the Verizon network.

By anon327 — On Apr 21, 2007

Hello, I am planing on buying an unlocked cell phone (sony ericsson z610i) and it is NOT quadband. It only supports Tri Band 900/1800/1900. Is there a way to figure out if the Cingular plan that I am using right now can support any of the 3 mentioned above?

Thank you

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