Q&A: what are pro’s/con’s of purchasing as “unlocked” cell phone vs a phone through carrier ?

Question by [email protected]: what are pro’s/con’s of purchasing as “unlocked” cell phone vs a phone through carrier ?
i currently have a samsung “Blackjack” (2 yrs old) through at+t and am looking to purchase an HTC “Fuze” (at+t version of touch pro) and i don’t know the advantages of purchasing “unlocked” HTC and maybe upgrade to a “Touch Diamond” which is not offered by at+t. My understanding is that an “unlocked” phone can be used by taking sim card out of current phone (recognized blackjack at+t) and switch into an unlocked phone and it will function just the same. (???) 1 reason for a change of cell phone is the fact that i want a new cell phone. i have also been recently having trouble with reception and i was told that the problem could be caused by an older sim card. Again, i don’t know how true that may be but if it is true, is it possible to have all information from old phone to new (old sim to new sim). And, i don’t know how to tell what is actually on the old card… for example: i can’t tell if all my “contacts” are actually on the sim card and which ones may not be on it. Is there 1 “master” button to get everything put on that sim card. i also have a mini sd card with a lot of digital stuff on it and would that card be compatible with the new phone? This is a lot to ask but i cannot get any of these yahoo’s that want to sell me a phone to give me the reassurrance that some or all of this may be possible. They just say “yes” to everything and i really don’t feel confident with any that i have encountered lately. I am trying to do as much research as i can but there are too many things that i don’t know and i don’t want to throw $ $ $ $ out the window….the days of spending money as if i had a lot of it, have certainly come and gone. Any help from anyone out there would be greatly appreciated!! Thanks

Best answer:

Answer by BeJizzle
Wow, we have a lot to cover:

Unlocked phones gives you the freedom of switching mostly to phones that your carrier (AT&T) doesn’t carry. Once a phone is unlocked, it will take any simcard, so you can buy other phones (such as the Diamond) and not be tied down with the option of phones only AT&T give you. Also having an unlocked phone, you can travel abroad and use a local carrier’s simcard for cheaper rates.

The problem with your Blackjack can easily be rectified, just call or pop into an AT&T [corporate] store and say your sim card is acting up. They will ask for your number and identification, and you should be up and running in less than 10 minutes.

I currently have a Fuze running on Windows Mobile 6.1, and I think the Blackjack runs on 6.0, but Try going to Contacts>Menu>sim manager to see what numbers are all saved to the sim. If none are there, you can go back into your contact list, press menu, and select all to move to the simcard if you wish.

Most new mid-end and high-end phones includes a MICROSD slot, not Mini SD. The HTC Diamond doesn’t have a MicroSD slot, but the Fuze does.

I say go for the Fuze directly through AT&T, which is $ 299 after a $ 50 mail-in rebate. You can also insure the Fuze for an additional $ 5 per month on your monthly bill. An unlocked Diamond would most likely cost $ 450 or more. The Fuze is basically a HTC Diamond with a [GREAT!!] slide-out keyboard and with AT&T logo on it.

ANY more questions, feel free to ask…

Know better? Leave your own answer in the comments!

One comment

  1. The main difference between a locked and an unlocked phone is the price. The phones get locked by the operators/carriers in order to ensure that you stay in they network for the duration of a subscription contract which includes a subsidized plan for the phone. They estimate that although they give you the phone at a lower price they will recover this subsidy (and more) by you using the phone in their network for that duration.

    An unlocked phone will be paid for at the market price (no subsidy) but you are free to switch to another network at any time, you are not bound to any specific network.

    Another thing to consider is that the locked phone may also be customized by the operator and it might have its brand all over the place. Some operators may even mess up with the software on the phones removing some of the features they don’t particularly like, e.g. VoIP support.

    Buying unlocked phones with the original software as released by manufacturer is usually the best choice but of course the price is something to consider.

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