What does an unlocked cell phone mean? When a cell phone is purchased it usually includes a contract with the service provider as well. Usually these phones are “locked.” That means that it will only work on that particular network and will not perform on other service provider’s networks. An “unlocked” cell phone means that it can be used on other networks. A locked phone simply will not work on another network as the network will not even recognize it.
An unlocked phone can use different carrier’s services. The largest advantage to obtaining an unlocked cell phone is that you do not have to purchase new phones every time you want to change providers. This is especially great for those who choose to use some of the more expensive phones like smart phones.
One disadvantage of an unlocked cell phone is that on some service providers some applications are not available. It may still be considered as “foreign” to the network and so it will not function properly. Another disadvantage is that they can actually be more expensive than locked cell phones. This is because the company feels like they lose money if you can use the phone on another network.