7 Benefits of Buying a Factory Unlocked Phone

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The world of cellphones has improved by leaps and bounds during the last few years, and so has their usage. Due to the advancements made in cell phone technology, users can enjoy a variety of features, such as watching a video, updating a status on Facebook, sending a "tweet," listening to a song, browsing the web, checking emails, and sending text messages. Other than these features, users can also enjoy the functionality of different apps created by companies to enhance user experience. Irrespective of the kind of phone and the features that it has, there are two broad types of phones, namely, locked phones and unlocked phones. Each of these two types of phones comes with its own advantages and disadvantages, and it is up to the user to decide what works best for him or her. Users interested in factory unlocked phones can buy them from electronic retail stores, manufacturers' websites, and through online marketplaces like eBay.

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Factory Unlocked Phone Defined

In a factory unlocked phone, no changes are made to the hardware and software, so these phones can be used with any cell phone provider. Locked phones, on the other hand, are altered by a service provider after they leave the factory, so they are tied with the provider for a certain period of time. Usually, the provider will require a contract, and users can unlock the phone only after the contract period ends. Many users prefer to buy a factory unlocked phone rather than a locked phone because it gives them the convenience to switch providers whenever they choose by simply changing the SIM card in the phone.

Benefits of Buying a Factory Unlocked Phone

Factory unlocked phones have many benefits, which is why they are more popular than factory locked phones. The benefits of buying a factory unlocked phone include a higher degree of flexibility to change phones or cell phone providers, saving money, and staying away from contracts and hidden charges.

Changing Cell Phone Providers

One of the biggest benefits of a factory unlocked phone is the flexibility to change cell phone service provider when needed. The US is one of the few countries that give cell phone providers the option to limit consumers to a single provider by using a "locking system," which ties the cell phone to a provider for a contract period. Factory unlocked phones give users a great amount of relief from this locking system by allowing them to change provider when they please. When a user is unhappy with the quality of service offered by a provider or is not happy with the customer service, he or she can switch cell phone service providers by simply changing to a SIM card offered by a different provider.

Easy International Travel

A factory unlocked phone is the best choice for users who travel frequently to other countries because they can change their SIM card with relative ease when they travel. Most cell phone providers have international roaming charges if the cell phone is used in a different country than where the contract was signed. Therefore, to avoid these additional charges, users prefer to use a cell phone provider of the country they are traveling to. With factory unlocked cell phones, users simply have to change to the SIM card of the visiting country's cell phone provider, which will eliminate roaming charges and help users retain the same phone wherever they go. This helps users use the information contained in their cell phone, such as contact details and personal information without having to switch this information from one phone to another when traveling between countries.

No Contracts

Users can stop worrying about cell phone contracts and the restrictions that come with them when they use a factory unlocked phone. They can change cell phones or service providers at any time, without ever having to be concerned about penalties and charges that come with early termination of contracts.

Saving Money

Factory unlocked phones help users save money in many ways. When cell phone providers increase their charges, users can simply switch to a provider that offers better rates for the same service. Additionally, by switching providers, users can make better use of the discounts and offers that different service providers offer from time to time as a part of their marketing strategy.

No Hidden Charges

Users can avoid all the hidden charges that come with cell phone service when they use a factory unlocked cell phone. Cell phone providers charge additional money for using certain services, such as data and text messaging when the phone is tied with their service. When they add such charges, users with locked phones have little to no choice and are forced to pay these hidden charges to continue to use the phone. A factory unlocked phone helps users avoid these charges because they can pay as they go or change providers if there are too many hidden charges.

Software Updates

With locked phones, users are restricted to the software and applications provided by the service provider, but with unlocked cell phones, users can upgrade or change to the software they need. Unlocked cell phones also give users the flexibility to change cell phones if needed; to make use of technological advancements as they emerge. Since these cell phones are sold directly by manufacturers, they do not have any missing hardware or software, which enables users to make the best use of their cell phone.

Higher Resale Value

The resale value of a factory unlocked phone is higher because users can sell it anytime and to anyone, as the cell phone is not tied to a particular provider and the buyer can start using the phone right away. In addition, if the user is unhappy with the unlocked phone or just wants to upgrade to a better phone, it's easy to sell the unlocked phone and use the money to buy a new one. This is a stark contrast to locked phones, where users cannot sell the phone until the end of the contract period.

Comparison of Factory Unlocked Phones

There are many models of factory unlocked phones available on the market and the user can decide which one best meets his or her needs and personal preferences. The table below shows a comparison between a few models to give users a better idea of what features to expect in a factory unlocked cell phone.


Samsung Galaxy S3

Nokia Lumia 820

Samsung Galaxy Beam

Sony Xperia S

Operating System

Android 4.0

Windows Phone OS8

Android 2.3 Gingerbread OS

Android 2.3 Gingerbread OS

Product Type










Processor Type

QUALCOMM Snapdragon S4

QUALCOMM Snapdragon S4

QUALCOMM Snapdragon

QUALCOMM Snapdragon

Other than these features, users should look into the display size, messaging and data features, communications interface, digital camera resolution, and music players. It is a good idea to make a list of features before buying an unlocked phone to help users find the phone of their choice.

Buying a Factory Unlocked Phone on eBay

eBay has an excellent selection of unlocked cell phones, which makes it the best place to buy the cell phone that matches your preferences. To buy an unlocked cell phone on eBay, start at the home page and head to the Electronics portal. From here, navigate to Cell Phones & Accessories, and then to the Cell Phones & Smartphones category. This will open up all the cell phone listings available on eBay and users have to select the "unlocked" option under the "Carrier" filter to get to a list of unlocked phones. You can further refine your search based on the brand, model, operating system, storage capacity, color, features, condition, price, and seller location. This will get you to the listings that are relevant to your specifications.


PayPal is one of the most secure forms of payment, and this is why eBay recommends it for all transactions. PayPal is fast and you can use it to transfer money to a seller living in any part of the world. Other than PayPal, you can also use your debit and credit cards. Cash and direct money transfers are not recommended for security reasons.


Unlocked cell phones are popular among users because of the flexibility and convenience that comes with them. With these phones, users have the option to change cell phone providers, resell their phones, and pay only for the features they need. This helps them save money in a big way, which is particularly useful for those who travel abroad frequently because they can avoid international roaming charges. The drawbacks of unlocked cell phones are that they cost more than locked cell phones and only a few service providers are willing to provide service to these phones. Despite these drawbacks, many users prefer to use unlocked cell phones because of the additional money they can save in the long run. One of the best places to buy unlocked cell phones is eBay because it has a wide selection of products at affordable rates.

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