Currently, there are over 30 service providers across the US. Some are good at providing cheap phone plans with unlimited everything, while others are good when it comes to network coverage only. These service providers also offer an option whereby people can buy a phone of their choice in installments only if it is locked to their networks; hence, the name locked phone pops up. However, if you do not wish for such a scenario, then you can consider buying an unlocked phone.
In the past, people were not allowed to unlock their phones even after paying off the full amount of the device. This policy changed ion the recent past whereby carriers were authorized to unlock phones for members who are eligible, and for one to be eligible, he or she should have paid the full amount for the device. Currently, you don’t have to go through that whole process when you can go to the best place to buy unlocked cell phones deals. There are get a fully unlocked phone at a very affordable price, and there are no contracts. The good thing is that the places even offer extra accessories to bring coziness to your mobile phone.
Unlocked phones bring you a wide range of opportunities with regard to the flexibility of choosing carriers. You don’t have to be tied down to contracts as long as your phone is unlocked. You can also get a phone upgrade very easily since you will not be obliged to answer any questions during the upgrade process.
Why should you have an unlocked phone?
As mentioned earlier, there are a lot of benefits to having an unlocked phone. However, the most important of them all is that you are not tied down to a carrier, which may not impress you. Other end-user benefits include the following;
- You get nationwide coverage easily through the flexibility of carriers
- You have a wider choice with regards to choosing talk, text and data plans
- It is cheaper to do a phone replacement compared to when the phone is unlocked
- It has better resale value if you wish to do an upgrade and sell your old phone at the same time
- No pre-installed apps and the settings can be easily adjusted
These are the key benefits you get with an unlocked phone. So scroll below to learn about some of the best places to buy unlocked phones in 2019.
The 5 Best Places to Buy an Unlocked Phone
MVNOs have out shined standard network operators in terms of providing the best unlocked cell phone deals. This may be due to many reasons, but most of all, we know that price is always the determining factor. Since MVNOs lease networks from these standard operators.
The cost of doing business is lower; hence, they are able to provide cheap cell phones and plans with a lot of ease. Some carriers like Metro will even offer a free phone when you switch, and you will be surprised to find it unlocked! Here are some of the five best places to buy new and used or refurbished smartphones;
1. Cell phone service provider retail stores
Every service provider has retail stores that provide services like customer care, registration, and activation of phones, and selling of mobile devices. The stores sell devices, both online and offline. Companies like Cricket wireless have both a retail store and online store, and they both offer the same commodities.
If a product is running out in the retail store, it will also not be available in the online store website. The good thing is that most service providers offer same-day shipping depending on the working hours in which you placed the order. The other benefit is that you get a new device with a warranty,
meaning if it has any defects, you can easily return it to the store. However, you can only buy a phone for a carrier whom you are registered to. The good thing is to choose the carrier that offers the best prepaid cell phone plans so as to avoid any inconveniences when you want to switch carriers.
Amazon is the biggest third-party seller of mobile phones. They also offer a vast array of commodities like clothes, books, bags and many more. As for mobile phones, they are regarded as the best due to the affordability of their services and also one-day shipping.
You also get a chance to review how the product is working or raising complaints about it. The phones offered by Amazon are of a wide variety, and they include mid-range, flagship, and flip phones. They are known to offer the best unlocked phones under 200, and if you check them out.
You will realize that they are of high quality. You also get 24/7 customer care support; however, it would be good for them to introduce the live chat option for better support. Check out Amazon.com to learn more.
Walmart is ranked as the best US retail store, and they offer a wide variety of goods and services. With revenue of 514 billion, you are assured that they have learnt to provide customers with Amazing products. What most people like about Walmart is that they have retail stores across the country.
So if you are not a fan of online shopping, you can easily visit a retail store and get an unlocked phone. You should always consider purchasing a phone which has a network technology matching with the carrier you have chosen.
So ensure to put compatibility as the main factor before buying the phone. You can also buy the phone at Walmart’s online store if you don’t wish to go to the shop physically. Shipping may take around 1-2 days.
E-bay has been in the market for quite a while and is the greatest competitor of Amazon. The company offers the best gadgets in the market with regards to cell phone boosters, best unlocked phones under 100, and many more. They sell a number of products, including cars.
At eBay, you are assured of a money back guarantee in case you don’t get the right product. Most companies do not offer a money back guarantee, so it’s a plus for them. You can visit ebay.com to learn more about the type of phones they offer.
5. Best Buy
Bestbuy is a US company that specializes in selling consumer electronics. What I like about this company is the offers available with regards to shipping and also gift cards. If you buy a phone over $35, you don’t get to pay any shipping fees.
The best unlocked phones under 300 are also offered, plus you get a $100 or %150 gift card if you buy a phone within that price range. The company has a24/7 customer care service that will help you in any need. You can learn more by visiting their site at bestbuy.com.
How to know a phone is unlocked
You can easily know whether the phone is unlocked or locked by doing a very simple process. The easiest of all is trying to use several lines from different carriers. If all the lines show network bars, then the phone may be unlocked. However, to be 100% below is a step by step guide to know whether the phone is unlocked;
- Contact your current carrier through their customer service numbers. The numbers can be found on their official website
- Go to settings to see which carrier pops-up and if it shows the network operator in which you are on the phone may be unlocked. You can start by clicking settings-connections-Mobile networks and click on network operators.
These are the two key steps to know whether your phone is unlocked. There are also cases where third party stores like Amazon and eBay may sell you locked phones. The best option is to return the phone and request for cashback or order a new phone.
How can I unlock a locked phone?
The process to unlock your previous phone is very simple only if you are the sole owner of the phone. However, if you bought a phone from someone and it was unlocked, then you may find a hard time to unlock it. If you bought the phone from a standard operator like AT&T.
You need to contact them, and they will guide you on the unlocking process. In some cases, you may pay an early termination fee if you were in a contract. However, make sure to read the policies before you unlock the phone
There is a wide variety of unlocked phones from which you can choose from. Currently, most service providers run on GSM network technology, so ensure to choose a phone that matches such network technologies. The places I have mentioned offer a wide range of compatible phones from which you can choose from.
Some of the major brands include LG Samsung, Apple, Huawei, and many more. Lastly, make sure that the phone you purchase is unlocked to avoid inconveniences.