Results: unlocked phones rule

Results: unlocked phones rule
Yesterday, Huawei lamented the loss of an AT&T deal, which meant the Mate 10 Pro would be launching in the USA without any carrier backing. Anyone that wants it will have to go to a tech store and cough up the full $799 price, or at least get a payment plan that's not stuffed with carrier-provided perks and discounts.

Anyway, that got us thinking — how much do a smartphone's sales get hurt if said device is not sold by any carrier? Surely, that puts a dent in shipments, but is it a huge one? We thought we'd ask.

So, poll results are in and, apparently, 95% of voters would have absolutely no problem to go into a tech store and buy an unlocked, carrier-free. Obviously, the folks that would read and vote on a poll in a tech blog go differently about their buyer decisions than the general population that would walk in a carrier store, but 95% is still quite impressive. We guess manufacturers that don't have their phones in a carrier shop shouldn't lose too much sleep over that, eh?

Would you buy a non-carrier-locked phone?

I'd always get a phone from my carrier
4.97%
Sure, I'd go for an unlocked phone
95.03%

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30 Comments

1. Landon

Posts: 1227; Member since: May 07, 2015

I definitely prefer unlocked phones, I just wish I could pay monthly installments on the device instead of paying for it all at once.

10. Sparkxster

Posts: 1120; Member since: Mar 31, 2017

Exactly! Imagine being able to get whatever phone you wanted and all of them worked with all carriers and you could get financing on any device :)

12. tjb51681

Posts: 7; Member since: Jul 19, 2017

I'm currently paying monthly payments for my unlocked note 8 bought from samsung

2. DeusExCellula

Posts: 1390; Member since: Oct 05, 2014

I always buy unlocked. I spend time in both the US and the Caribbean so it is nice to be able to use the same phone with different companies.

3. Anonymous.

Posts: 423; Member since: Jun 15, 2016

Unlocked FTW!

4. StreetNerd

Posts: 870; Member since: Dec 08, 2010

I'm baffled that there are still locked phones in 2018.... we haven't those anymore since 2010

5. cuppacappachino

Posts: 8; Member since: Mar 15, 2012

The idea of unlocked phones is fabulous, but when you consider that most consumers don't frequent a site like this one when looking for a new phone they go straight to their carrier, their carrier's website, or the website of a carrier they are interested in to see what is out there (at least in the US) its pretty easy to see why phone manufacturers would be concerned when they don't have that backing. It will inevitably result in fewer sales unless they're willing to invest in their own massive marketing campaigns.

6. TheOracle1

Posts: 1823; Member since: May 04, 2015

Agreed but the issue is that carrier phones have very limited choices in the US. When it comes to consumer choices they manipulate the market in my opinion. The rest of the world has basically moved away from that business model.

7. Leo_MC

Posts: 6139; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

I'm amazed of the results... I only bought once an unlocked device and it was enough for me to know I will probably never buy another one. First of all, I need to use the phone, so I need a price plan and a hefty one. Second, I want insurance - Apple Care is not available in my country so I have to either get it from the carrier, either get an expensive one from a dealer. Third, I usually use my phone for 2y, meaning on buyback I pay 0 for the newest model, which means that in those 2y I am now paying the price of the device, without interest and with insurance. If for iPhone I had to wait a cycle to get to 0, with Huawei I have got an installment deal from my carrier that gave me this deal from the start (I could have bought the S7, but I preferred P9). So, don't you use mobile data, roaming, voice, text on your phones? If so, why don't you make the budget accordingly and you'll find out its way cheaper than to buy unlocked phones..

13. TheOracle1

Posts: 1823; Member since: May 04, 2015

Leo I have no idea what your rambling post is trying to say but it sounds like you need to finance your phones. That's fine. Perhaps you should look at buying unlocked mid-range phones instead of insisting on the overpriced mid-range iPhone series? I bought my flagship Mi Mix2 64GB for $450. That's over $300 less than the equivalent iPhone. Your blind loyalty is costing you dearly.

16. Leo_MC

Posts: 6139; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

I have bought an unlocked phone and I dropped it - total cost was 900 EUR (6 months of usage). I have bough my next phone (250 EUR advance) with 30 EUR price plan (which I need and use, insurance included) for 2y. The next phone was free (with buyback) and all my next phones from now on are going to be free (I only pay 700 EUR/2y). Now tell me who is having a bad financial deal? I don't want a mid-range, I only use top of the edge devices and iPhone is right there. PS: maybe you should get what I'm saying, because you can save a lot of money and instead of using Xiaomi's, you could use flagships.

18. TheOracle1

Posts: 1823; Member since: May 04, 2015

So you basically need to finance your phones. That's what I thought. I've already saved about €300 buying my Xiaomi unlocked. If you think your €700 phone is "free" then you're dreaming. The Mi Mix 2 isn't a flagship as far as you're concerned? Most reviewers (including this website) disagree along with many satisfied users. But we're all dumb I suppose because it's not a Samsung or iPhone?

19. Leo_MC

Posts: 6139; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

If that is all you are capable to understand, it's ok with me. It's not my money you're wasting and it's not my personal data that is getting to 3rd parties without my consent. You do realize that, for the same product+services, you are the one that is spending more money at the end of the year? In a 2y interval I am paying 700 EUR for an iPhone+mobile plan, while you are paying 1,200 EUR for a Xiaomi+mobile plan; I don't know what "smart" means to you, but I'm sure glad I have 500 EUR more to spend with my loved ones.

20. TheOracle1

Posts: 1823; Member since: May 04, 2015

So I buy a phone for €400 and put in my free carrier sim or any other sim I want and it's costing me €1,200? Were you dropped on your head as a baby to come up with that backwards arithmetic? I have a postpaid T-Mobile US package and it's dirt cheap combined with my phone. Have you ever used or seen a Xiaomi or miui btw? Just about everything can be disabled or uninstalled including the Xiaomi account.

21. Leo_MC

Posts: 6139; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

How much do you pay in US for 150 GB of average 200 Mbps 4G data (you don't have those speeds so I settle to 100), unlimited mobile calls and text in Europe, US and Canada?

23. TheOracle1

Posts: 1823; Member since: May 04, 2015

My T-Mobile US plan is $30 a month. My 3Mobile UK is £20 a month unlimited data, calls and text with free roaming in 40+ countries. The simple fact is that you have to finance your phones and I don't.

24. Leo_MC

Posts: 6139; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

Dude, for 20£ the same carrier that I have offers a SIM only plan in UK, 12 GB of data - vs. 150 GB in my data plan - (no plan in UK has unlimited 4G) with 60 Mbps (vs. my 450 Mbps), no insurance (vs. my standard insurance). On 3Mobile 20£ gets you a 30 GB plan (12 months contract) (5 times less than what I have). But let's say you have unlimited: you'll pay 806£ (910€) for your phone - Xiaomi - and your plan, while I pay 744€ (31€/month/24months) for an iPhone 7 and a way better plan than yours; at the end of 2y I am richer than you with 166€, plus I'm using a premium iPhone device. This is one of the reasons I had a higher income than the average US citizen in a country where the median income is 1/3 of US median income, so yeah, I need to finance my phone... ;).

25. TheOracle1

Posts: 1823; Member since: May 04, 2015

Wrong. I go to the UK about three times a year and put £20 in my sim. When I leave whatever is leftover stays there until I get back and load again. 3 UK has their All You Can Eat data plan and that's what I'm on. So my cost is about £60 annually. I also have T-Mobile US, T-Mobile UK, Etisalat UAE and MTN South Africa sims. All pay as you go so my monthly outlay is whatever credit I load. Your calculations are plain wrong. I also require a dual-sim phone which Apple don't make and even If they did I wouldn't buy an iPhone. Hence my Mi Mix2 and P10. I don't require extraordinary data speeds as long as it's fast enough (maybe 1-2mbps) for streaming and my Google Voice number. I'm on wifi 80% of the time anyway. We have very different requirements and you are locked into your carrier. I can do as I wish and jump to any carrier in the world at any time.

27. Leo_MC

Posts: 6139; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

Dude, 1-2 Mbps (I get around 10) costs 2€/month in my country - I could get that s**tty plan, but I pay 31€ for 200 Mbps median speed, because my time is more valuable than 29€ (which is not even my hourly rate - after taxes - from last year). We sure do have different requirements, but you are the only one that is lying; yeah, caught you :). But let's say you didn't lie; on T-Mobile US the cheapest prepay plan is 45$ with 4GB of 4G data (maybe you have unlimited with limits after some usage; as I can see on their site, even on a 75$ plan you get limited after 32 GB traffic - which is 1/5 of what I got). Let's say you have got a deal and you are really paying 30$. 30$x18 + 20£x6 = 510£ (mobile plans) + 326£ (one phone) = 836£/2y usage (I still pay 660£ for my iPhone + plan). If you spend at least 10£ for every other sim card and you buy a second phone, your cost rises (to be fair, I have s**tty plans outside SEE, SUA and Canada, so I too am buying local sim cards which I use with a second phone, which means here we're even). So, I have a premium phone + a premium data plan for a cost that is lower than the one of a second choice device and a second choice mobile plan. Remind me (or better yet, explain to me) why should I spend more money on unlocked phones and "1-2 Mbps" internet speeds?

28. TheOracle1

Posts: 1823; Member since: May 04, 2015

Leo I don't give a flying f*ck what your plan is, I don't care if you think I'm lying and I don't WANT an iPhone or a locked phone. My Mi Mix 2 and P10 are excellent and have DUAL-SIM capabilities which allows me to swap sims at will. That's what I NEED! Don't you get it? 99% of the comments on here are in favor of unlocked phones because they want freedom without carrier bloat and their choice of phone is unlimited. You just admitted you have a second phone that you use when you travel and if I recall correctly it's a Huawei. Have you added the cost of that phone to your "super plan"? You just destroyed your own argument. And by the way the currency symbol goes before the number like €20 not 20€. Have a nice day!!

29. Leo_MC

Posts: 6139; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

Read your reply once more and you will understand (maybe) why you have been stupid when you assumed I need to finance my phone through my carrier. You need and use what you have - and that is ok - but I need and use something else (I have explained in my first reply) and for MY needs it's a smarter choice to get a device through the carrier (a device that is not locked, so I can swap the sim card if I need, when I go abroad); it is cheaper to do what I do (I have 2 lines: personal and business - one is payed by me, the other by my company), iPhones don't have carrier bloat. Have a nice year, I'm out!

30. TheOracle1

Posts: 1823; Member since: May 04, 2015

"it's a smarter choice to get a device through the carrier (a device that is not locked, so I can swap the sim card if I need, when I go abroad)". You just said your Carrier phone is NOT locked!! Is there something wrong with you? We're talking about unlocked phones and you actually use them with your Carrier and you've wasted all this time because you've clearly confused Carrier with Unlocked. Jeeezzz!

8. markobarko

Posts: 176; Member since: Oct 09, 2016

In our country Slovenia "EU" it is illegal to lock phones. So telcos can f... them self. And unlocked phones are great, as I can change carrier however I want and later on sell the phone effortlessly.

9. MrShazam

Posts: 987; Member since: Jun 22, 2017

Having an unlocked Note 8 came in real handy when I just went abroad on vacation. Got a very cheap pre-paid talk/text plan and 1.5GB of data with an international carrier, swapped the SIM cards, and was good to go without worries of gathering a hefty bill. Total came to less than $10 CAD, whereas my Canadian carrier (fido) would be charging roaming package starting at no less than $50 CAD, and nowhere near 1.5GB of data. On a side note, while doing this, I also noticed a very neat and handy feature on my Note 8; it can independently keep track of data usage from different SIM cards. I was already in the middle of a billing cycle with fido, and had used about 110MB of my 3GB monthly data limit (all configured in the data usage settings of my Note 8, with warning set for 2.5GB). When I swapped the SIM card to the international carrier, the data usage reset and I reconfigured it to the limit of 1.5GB/month, keeping track of it as normal. When I landed back in Canada, I switched back to my fido SIM card and my Note 8 automatically resumed right where I left off with it; data limit set to 3GB/month, warning set to 2.5GB, billing cycle set to the 29th of the month, and usage for the month continued counting from 110MB...neat and handy.

11. Venom

Posts: 2843; Member since: Dec 14, 2017

Unlocked phones are absolutely the best. It's so much better to pop out the sim card and be able to use a phone on any carrier.

14. gamehead unregistered

Who's surprised by these results

15. frequency

Posts: 82; Member since: Aug 13, 2013

Those rats who get paid 25 cents to bully HUAWEI are surprised. I still feel sorrow for them to deny the consumer rights. How come there are still some "volunteer slaves" exist toda? They must grow up in those authoritarian family. Shame on their parents.

17. plasteek

Posts: 265; Member since: Jun 07, 2015

Last carrier phone i bought was 14 years ago !!!

22. Derass

Posts: 149; Member since: Aug 06, 2015

For me, because of the plan I have, it will always be a better deal to buy the phone unlocked instead of getting it on a current market (expensive), subsidized plan. I think a lot of people don't think to run the numbers and are just happy to get the latest phone for $200 upfront and paying WAY more in the long-run. They probably don't even realize. I also think it's the sticker shock that prevents the average user from buying unlocked and shopping around for a good plan. They see $1000+ up-front and get scared off. They'd much rather spend $200 up-front that they're used to. But they don't consider the long-term cost, which is almost always more.

26. vananucho

Posts: 83; Member since: Jun 01, 2011

Subsidized phones are cáncer, and most times when the Carrier decides "its obsolete" they will Just stop bringing updates and purposedly "Lock" them with microupdates like with the old Droid Maxx and Mini.

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