Travel Guide Unlocked phone
An unlocked phone is a mobile phone that is not stuck with a SIM lock. SIM locks have been used by many network providers in an attempt to tie customers into only using the phone they provide with their service.
Travellers will often want to have an unlocked phone, so that they can use a local SIM card and take advantage of local call rates.
Two types of phones are considered unlocked.
OEM Unlocked phones
These are phones that have always been unlocked and were either sold to the user that way or left unlocked by the network provider. Major companies providing unlocked phones include Motorola, Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Samsung and Siemens. These phones are sold in the original manufacturer's packaging and do not generally have a network logo on them.
Carrier, Operator, or Provider Unlocked Phones
Some carriers ensure that phones provided with a plan are locked as a way to keep that customer from moving on to another service. These phones will usually have a provider's logo on them. They are unlocked by using unlocking codes or software. These phones are somewhat limited in that they can not easily be configured for internet or MMS capability with other carriers or operators.
Some service providers will unlock your phone by giving you the unlocking codes for them. In the US, T-Mobile will unlock your phone if you paid full price for it and have owned it for 90 days.
Many third party services also exist that will unlock your phone for you if your provider is not willing.
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