Phone Unlocking Basics

If you have an iPhone, you may have heard about “unlocking” your phone. But what exactly is unlocking and why should you consider it? Read on to discover the lowdown on unlocking.

What Unlocking Is

Unlocking a phone makes it possible to use any service provider. The reason certain phones normally can only be used by certain providers is because different service providers use different forms of wireless technology – and of course, those forms are not compatible with one another. The two main wireless technologies are the Global Systems for Mobile Communications (GSM) and Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA). An apple phone unlocked can be used worldwide, not just in the United States.

What Unlocking Is NOT

You may have heard the term “jailbreaking” used in reference to smart phones. Unlocking and jailbreaking are two very different things. Jailbreaking, when applied to an iPhone, is the process of making it possible to install apps from developers other than Apple. Jailbreaking is legal but of course, Apple isn’t too keen on the process and it does void your warranty.

Why Unlock An iPhone?

The main benefit of unlocking an iPhone is being able to use any service provider in any part of the world where there’s service, without having an international calling plan. For international travel, this is extremely convenient. Being able to always switch to local carriers virtually eliminates roaming charges. Not only that, but users of unlocked phones often enjoy better reception and coverage.

Why Are Phones Locked In the First Place?

The short explanation is, phone are locked to make money for cellular service providers. How does this work? Most phones in the United States are sold on a contract with a particular service provider. As long as the phone is locked, you are paying monthly fees in exchange for cellular service with your provider. As soon as you unlock your phone, you no longer have to stay with your provider and your provider then loses money. This is why providers charge early termination fees (ETFs).

Additionally, the cost of a new phone is often subsidized by the money made from service contracts. That is how service providers can offer brand new phones at little to no cost.

Is Unlocking Legal?

Yes. Unlocking has been legal since November of 2006 but was signed into law permanently in August of 2014. If you want true freedom of usage and choice for your phone, there’s no reason not to unlock it.