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Why you Must Unlock your Cell Phone

Updated on January 9, 2011

Why you Must Unlock your Cell Phone

Cell phones are made by their respective manufacturers and then locked by each network carrier that it is sent out. By locked, I mean that each carrier will put a restriction on their phone so that specific phone can be used on their network. Network carriers have done a great job in hiding the benefits and secrets of unlocking phones from you: the end user. Today I'll be sharing with you the advantages, secrets and myths of cell phone unlocking which will hopefully plant a new seed and show you why you must unlock your cell phone!

Phone unlocking is very much the same as opening a locker. When you open a locker, you need the combination to unlock it. Will your lock combination work with the rest of the lockers in the gym or at your school? Absolutely not! That would be a security risk and it'd probably be better just to leave your locker wide open. With phone unlocking, you need something similar to a locker combination. Instead of calling it a combination, it is called a cell phone unlock code or a subsidy unlock code. This is an 8-16 digit number which is used to remove the carrier restriction on your phone. When inquiring to your network carrier about these, they will either deny that there are such things, tell you that it will void the warranty on your phone, scare you into thinking it's illegal and the list goes on. Well I have some good news for you. These are all myths! The reason why your network carrier may tell you such things is because they are afraid that you will take your phone and switch network carriers. But this is your right is it not?

Advantages of Unlocking you Cell Phone

There are way too many advantages in unlocking your cell phone, and since I don't have all the space here in my hub, I'll try to limit this down to 3 advantages.

By unlocking your phone, this gives you the ability to completely eliminate roaming fees. Roaming fees are erroneous fees that are charged when you leave the country or your carrier's home zone. Roaming rates start at $0.80/minute - $4.00/minute depending on where you are traveling to. This is in addition to your regular cell phone bill which probably ranges between $30-$120/month. The way this works is if you have a cell phone that is unlocked, you can insert any SIM card into it while you are traveling. This means that if you are from the United States, and travel to the United Kingdom (or vice versa), you can insert a local SIM card in, pay local rates of as low as $0.10/minute and get a local phone number that your friends, family and business colleagues can contact you at. Remember, with a locked cell phone, you would only be able to insert the SIM Card where your phone is from. Neat isn't it?

The second benefit is probably what you wireless carrier doesn't want you to know. By unlocking your phone, you will be able to use your favorite phone on the network carrier that provides you with the best rates. Wireless plans are consistently getting more competitive, but normally, the companies with the best phones have the highest rates. Now that you know a little bit about cell phone unlocking, you guessed it....By unlocking your phone, you can now use your favorite phones on the best network carriers. Why? Because there is no longer a carrier restriction or a SIM lock on your phone after it has been unlocked.

Finally, the third benefit probably caters most to those who are phone lovers, switchers and gurus. People who love phones tend to switch them every year, month, week and even day! What do they do with their old phones? They sell them on third party markets such as classifieds and auctions. By unlocking your old phones before selling them, you make your phone more marketable and will more likely receive a higher compensation for them than you would a locked phone. For example, if you have an AT&T BlackBerry Bold and want to sell it on Craigslist, the only people who can use that phone are AT&T users. Whereas, if you were to sell it as an Unlocked BlackBerry Bold, than you would be able to sell it to AT&T users, T-mobile users and even international travelers!

Is Cell Phone Unlocking Illegal?

This is one of the biggest myths out there. Cell phone unlocking is not illegal by any means in any of the countries that I have seen personally. In fact, it is illegal for some carriers to lock their phones in some Asian countries. Again, carriers have done a great job in telling you that this may be illegal activity as clearly it is not. Don't believe everything that you hear from others.

Can my Phone Be Unlocked?

Pretty much any GSM phone can be unlocked. GSM refers to wireless networks that use SIM Cards as a primary means of communications. Popular GSM carriers include Rogers, Fido, AT&T, T-mobile, Vodafone, Digicel, Orange, O2, Etisalat, Cable & Wireless and many more. There are currently over 800 GSM network carriers worldwide. Do a quick check and see if your phone has a SIM card slot. If it does, it's likely that your phone can be unlocked.

There are also World Phones which can be unlocked. These phones come from CDMA network carriers such as Telus, Bell, Verizon, Sprint and 3 Hutchison who have CDMA technology, but also offer higher end phones which have GSM capabilities. For example, Verizon BlackBerries such as the Storm 9530, 9550, Tour 9630 and Bold 9650 can all be unlocked. They do have a SIM card slot and can be switched between CDMA technology to GSM technology in the Manage connections settings. This also applies to some HTC world phones from the above CDMA network carriers.

After you've obtained your unlock code, you can follow our how to unlock BlackBerry or how to unlock HTC tutorials to get a better idea of the process of unlocking these phones.

Where can I get my Cell Phone Unlocked?

In order to unlock your cell phone, you will need to obtain a cell phone unlock code. There are several third party sites, primarily based online who provide these services. With that being said, there are a lot of scam sites out there to take your money and run. Before you go about doing so, I'd strongly recommend that you do your research on the company. I'd strongly recommend


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    • profile image

      pakki 5 years ago

      Nice sharing.Thanks for giving your information

    • sriparna profile image

      Sriparna 7 years ago from New Delhi

      A useful hub for people who needs to travel very often and spend an Earth on contacting with people back home. My husband went to Turkey for a three-day conference from India, we had to spend thousands just to exchange messages like "reached safely", "flight is delayed" etc. Hope this will help a wider community of people.