What is the difference between an unlocked phone?

We would like take a moment and explain the difference between a "locked" and "unlocked" cell phone. In the USA Cingular (ATT) and T-Mobile are the 2 large GSM carriers. Sprint and Verizon use CDMA phones which usually don't require a SIM card. First, a locked phone means that it will only work with 1 specific carrier.

What does it mean when the phone is unlocked?

Unlocked GSM phone means that it wouldn't be locked into a specific carrier network. On the upside it means freedom to choose your own GSM carrier that suits your needs (and wallet) best. On the down side several carrier-specific features may not be available.
  • What is an unlocked GSM phone?

    All GSM devices are designed so that service is provisioned using a SIM card. With an unlocked device, a GSM smartphone can be reprovisioned and used on another network simply by popping out the old SIM card and putting in a new one from the new carrier. EV-DO is the 3G technology used on CDMA networks.
  • Are all Verizon iphones unlocked?

    According to Verizon, they do not lock most of their phones. To quote them directly: "We do not lock our 4G LTE devices and no code is needed to program them for use with another carrier." That means that any iPhone 5 or higher that was bought with Verizon should already be unlocked.
  • Is Boost Mobile a GSM phone?

    Sprint does offer some headsets with dual CDMA/GSM technology. In the USA, Boost is a MVNO (Mobile virtual network operator) for Sprint, which makes it a CDMA2000 3G service. Boost initially launched as an MVNO in the U.S. with Nextel, which utilized the iDen network.

What does it mean to have an iPhone unlocked?

Unlocking an iPhone means taking an iPhone that is locked to a specific carrier and making it usable on other carriers. A software unlock is the process by which the iPhone is modified such that the baseband will accept the SIM card of any GSM carrier.
  • What does it mean when a phone is refurbished?

    While refurbished phones have often been used, the term "used" has a more specific meaning. A used phone is sold as-is. It has not been tested or fixed, and it does not come with a guarantee. A refurbished phone is different in that it has been tested, repaired if necessary, and it has been cleaned.
  • Is T mobile GSM network?

    *GSM-capable phones that support Band II (1900 MHz) or IV (1700/2100 MHz) are compatible with T-Mobile's network. CDMA phones are not compatible with the T-Mobile network. Additionally, phones may need to be unlocked to operate on T-Mobile's network.
  • Is Metro PCS a GSM network?

    This is significant because it marks the first time that MetroPCS, which was CDMA-only before the merger, is using T-Mobile's GSM network. The carrier is accepting unlocked iPhones, Android phones, Windows phones, and certain feature phones, but not BlackBerrys, tablets, or hotspots.

Updated: 26th November 2019

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