The Key to Freedom: An Unlocked Cell Phone

Throughout the years I’ve signed quite a few two or three-year cell phone contracts both for my children and myself. Especially as it pertains to my kids, I’ve discovered that it’s best to try and get an unclocked, no-contract phone whenever possible. Here are a few of the reasons why:

1. Lost and Broken Phones

Though this frequently happens to even the most careful adult, broken and lost phones are almost a guarantee when it comes to kids. Just last summer, my daughter jumped into a pool in her board shorts forgetting that her brand new iPhone 5 was still in her pocket. Needless to say, I got to treat myself to a very unnecessary and expensive trip to the Apple store to purchase a replacement outright because we were locked into a contract with our wireless provider. Despite the fact that my daughter is typically pretty responsible I realized, in hindsight, that I should have just gone with a contract free, unlocked smartphone that could be easily and relatively inexpensively replaced.

With a contract-free, unlocked phone I would have been able to purchase her a new, less expensive phone or even let her use an old voice-only phone while she saved up for a new one of her choosing. Basically, you get more flexibility out of an unlocked, contract-free phone.

2. Traveling

I live close to the US border in British Columbia and frequently go across with my family to shop. These trips can be rather trying with a family of phones that are locked to a Canadian network, as we all have to turn them off or risk racking up astronomical charges. With three teenage kids in the car, getting these phones turned off is harder than it sounds. In this case, unlocked phones can be a lifesaver because you can simply purchase a prepaid US SIM card, plunk it in your phone and you’ve got service south of the border! Personally, I’m a big fan of the Roam Mobility SIM cards for US travel but if you’re traveling to countries other than the US, you’ll have to track down a local provider that sells prepaid cards.

3. Carrier Flexibility

I often speak to wireless network customers who are simply unhappy with their providers. For example, living close to the border I often hear complaints from friends and neighbours that they do not get a strong network signal and experience a lot of dropped calls. With an unlocked, contract-free phone these issues are easily remedied even if your current wireless carrier can’t provide you with a good solution to your issue. All you have to do is shop around to find a carrier that can accommodate your needs and switch!

While signing a contract with a wireless carrier can carry quite a few perks, like a subsidized phone, I’ve found that you get a lot more flexibility out of an unlocked, no-contract phone. So, next time you’re in the market for a new cellphone, look into this option—you might just find it’s the right solution for you. If you’re already shopping for a new phone, check these unlocked phones out.

By Mike Agerbo

June 24, 2014