Skip Nav
iPhone Tips
PSA: Stop Force-Quitting Your Apps on Your iPhone
Digital Life
Even If You Don't Know What Phubbing Is, You're Probably Doing It
If You Try to Figure Out the Mistake in This Math Problem, It'll Make You Go Crazy

Would You Buy an Unlocked Phone?

There's been a lot of hype surrounding yesterday's announcement of the HTC Nexus One, aka the Google phone, especially because Google plans to sell the phone unlocked — that is, not tied to one wireless carrier or contract plan. Presumably this will keep a lot of customers happy if the AT&T backlash from iPhone users is any indication. But the problem with selling a carrier- and contract-free phone is that it's much more expensive. If you purchase the Nexus One with T-Mobile (the only carrier currently offering a special pricing option), it'll cost you $179 with a two-year contract. Verizon will throw down its pricing options in the Spring, but, if you choose to forgo the wait and purchase the unlocked version of the phone, it'll cost $529, since there's no carrier to subsidize the phone cost.

I understand why the pricing works this way, but it is a hefty sum of money. In theory, the idea of an unlocked phone and the freedom that comes with it is great, but in practice, I don't know that I'd shell out that much cash for the privilege. Would you?

Join The Conversation
Susanna Susanna 7 years
My past 4 phones have been unlocked. First, because I love Nokia and my US carrier doesn't offer a good selection. Secondly, I travel in Asia quite a bit and like being able to use a local SIM to make calls. In the long run it's been much cheaper for me, even if the upfront costs are heftier.
i-heart-monster i-heart-monster 7 years
Only if my phone is broken, not insurance replaceable and I can't get another through the carrier... but then I'd probably buy it from ebay.
Baby-Girl Baby-Girl 7 years
I too used to purchase unlocked Sony Ericsson and Nokia phones until I got hitched to my iPhone. It was the greatest thing ever! To be able to use a phone the way the manufacturer intended is a nice experience. I was on T-mo for seven years and when 3G came out it was hard to find an unlocked for their cooky bandwidth. If I stick with AT&T I may go back to purchasing unlocked phones.
GummiBears GummiBears 7 years
I prefer it because in the end, it is cheaper. Instead of signing up for another year or two contract, and if you are with T-Mobile and want a smartphone, you have to sign up for some kind of data plan. Not a good deal since the contract you are locked into can easily outpace the cost of the phone within 6 months, give or take. Plus most of the phones with my provider I don't care for and I am such a Nokia lover so I opted for my Nokia phone and I love it. I don't change phones that often so I will be sticking with this phone at least 18 months or so.
girlwparasol girlwparasol 7 years
Of all the mobile phones I've ever owned, I bought half of them unlocked, and half of them with a contract through my carrier. In my experience, the unlocked phones tend to be manufactured better, and you don't have to go through the process of removing cruddy carrier firmware from the phone. They also tend to support a lot more third-party apps, and you can actually use all of the phone's features, versus having some locked-out by a carrier. If you can afford it, it's totally the way to go.
Ryan Reynolds and Ryan Gosling Hotness Poll
How to Properly Clean Your Smartphone
How to Keep Your Phone From Overheating
On-Demand iPhone Screen Repair
From Our Partners
Latest Technology & Gadgets
All the Latest From Ryan Reynolds