Tips on buying unlocked phones.
What you need to know:
If you are a Sprint, Verizon, Alltel or any CDMA user you won’t be able to use your service with GSM phones even if they have been unlocked. For a replacement phone for these service providers you will need to look in categories dedicated to your service provider.
If you lost your AT&T or T-Mobile phone and you are planning to buy a GSM phone, you will need to purchase the SIM card separately. Third party retailers do not sell phones with SIM cards whether they are new, used or refurbished.
Unlocked phones usually carry generic software which keeps the SIM lock disabled. In this case original provider settings have been reset and some premium services such as internet browsing or picture messaging won’t be available settings are updated. No worries. The phone after updates will still be unlocked. Ask the retailer to provide you with the settings which will give you permission to use premium services such as picture messaging or web browsing.
Purchasing an unlocked phone because you are planning to go abroad? Make sure that the phone is tri-band or quad-band. The US dual-band phones won’t work in Europe or Asia. To be assured that the phone will have service abroad, verify what frequencies MHz are supported in the country you are going to visit.
CDMA carriers such as Alltel, Sprint, Verizon have in their offer world edition phones. These have an extra slot for SIM card and support frequencies abroad. Note that these phones do not support bands in the US.
Verizon phones can be activated with Page Plus phones. This general rule does not apply to Blackberry smartphones which require a data plan. Click at the link to read the article dedicated smartphones explaining how to distinguish smartphones from regular phones. Note that Page plus phones cannot be activated for Verizon services.
Nextel cell phones can be used with Boost Mobile services. Simply swap your SIM card from Boost and you are ready to make phone calls. However, Boost Mobile phones won’t work with Nextel Sim cards.