In the land of carrier contracts, unlocking cell phones is becoming a much more attractive option for consumers. Now that people are starting to wise up about carrier contracts, there are quite a few myths that need to be dispelled about unlocking a phone.
Five False Myths About Unlocking Your Cell Phone
Myth #1. Unlocking Your Cell Phone Is Illegal
Not even close. The FCC has recently backed the ability to unlock phones and is currently demanding that carriers make it possible for everyone to unlock their cell phones. There is nothing illegal or wrong about unlocking your phone.
Myth #2. Unlocking Your Cell Phone Makes It Possible To Work On Any Other Carrier
Absolutely not. A million times, no. This is extremely important for anyone that is intending to unlock their phone. Many people have been burned by unlocking their phone and expecting to be able to use it on any other carrier. Understanding why this isn’t so requires an understanding of GSM and CDMA technology.
There are four major carriers in the United States: AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless, and Sprint. AT&T and T-Mobile use GSM technology, while Verizon and Sprint use CDMA technology. To put it simply, GSM carriers use SIM cards to carry subscriber data while CDMA carriers don’t use SIM cards at all. In fact, all of your subscriber data is tied directly to the phone itself. Therefore, you can’t unlock a T-Mobile/AT&T phone and use Verizon’s/Sprint’s network. And vice versa.
Myth #3. You Can’t Unlock A CDMA Phone
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Given the previous information about the difference between CDMA and GSM, some assume that you can’t unlock a CDMA phone at all. This isn’t entirely true, the process is just a bit more cumbersome. The subscriber data inside the phone has to be flashed, or removed, and the data for the other carrier must be inserted into the phone. This can be done at many stores.
Myth #4. Unlocking A Phone Is Too Hard
Contrary to popular belief, unlocking a phone is an extremely easy affair. Some carriers will even let you call them and all you have to do is ask for them to unlock it for you. If you have a GSM carrier, it’s mostly a matter of just inserting a new SIM card and entering in an unlock code. As said previously, unlocking a CDMA phone can be done at many stores across the country.
Myth #5. There’s No Reason To Unlock A Phone
There is a variety of reasons to unlock a phone! First, and foremost, since the phone is yours, you aren’t going to be required to use a certain plan on another carrier. Some carriers force you to choose a certain plan when you buy a new phone. That’s the reason you’re able to get a Galaxy S4 for $50. The price is subsidized and the carrier makes this money back through the plan. Having an unlocked phone makes you eligible for cheaper plans.
You also need an unlocked phone for traveling overseas. GSM phones allow the use of international SIM cards. Unfortunately, if you have a CDMA phone, you’re at the mercy of your carrier’s roaming fees.
Unlocking your phone can be a great thing. However, if you don’t have all the information, you may find that having an unlocked phone isn’t for you. All in all, it’s more important that the populace becomes more aware about what exactly unlocking is and how it works.
Keith Gordon loves technology and especially loves all things mobile. For more great articles on smartphones and emerging mobile technologies, Keith invites you to check out http://smartphoneblogging.com/.
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