What is an Unlocked Phones

What is an Unlocked Phones

Most Android phone stores and carriers in the United States usually have unlocked phones. The carriers responsible usually use software locks to prevent you from using the phone with other carriers that they compete with. Besides, they normally introduce you to payment plans that will not permit you to leave the carrier. They also introduce frequency restrictions in the phone’s hardware which do not let in transmission signals from other carriers, hence locked to the specific carrier. 

However, do you know there are unlocked Android phones without such restrictions? Most Android phone manufacturers have started making unlocked phones that you can use with any network carrier. You will only be allowed to use the cell phones upon making full payment upfront. Join us in this tutorial as we give you the list of the best Android unblocked phones and other details concerning unlocked phones. Before we give you the list of the best Android unlocked phones in 2022, do you know which phones we are referring to as unlocked? Let us dive into it and break it down for you.

What is an Unlocked Phone?

An unlocked phone is a phone that allows you to use multiple carrier networks. In other words, an unlocked phone allows you to switch to several service providers available in the country with no restrictions. It also allows you to control all the phone bills and switch to any carrier that gives better deals without being tied to contracts. 

Unlocked phones give freedom to choose network carriers and any phone brand on good and cheaper deals in the market. You can plan to use more than one network carrier when buying an unlocked phone, unlike locked phones that are usually tied to a specific carrier. An unlocked phone is the best option if you like switching carriers. 

Kindly note that the unlocked phone you buy normally works with GSM network carriers in the United States, like AT&T and T-Mobile. Also, if you use any MVNO carriers affiliated with the two GSM carriers mentioned, you are a good candidate for unlocked phones.

If you use CDMA carriers like Verizon and Sprint, kindly note that the unlocked phone must be CDMA compatible before using it. Also, the return and warranty policies have distinct variations that depend on the store you purchase them from. Always read the guidelines from the seller you intend to buy your unlocked smartphone. However, some sellers do not offer warrants or return opportunities, which does not make it a bad deal. If the unlocked one you want is not entitled to a warranty and gives the best options, feel free to buy and use it. 

Is It Worth Buying An Unlocked Phone?

To answer this question, let us examine the benefits of buying an unlocked phone. There are so many benefits that you will have compared to people buying locked phones. Here are some of the benefits of buying these phones

No monthly payments

Many carriers that offer locked phones require you to sign a contract where you will be paying some bucks to cater for the purchase of the phone. The packages may be convenient but make it pricier for you in the long run.  When contracting these device carriers, you will be limited from moving to another carrier. However, unlocked phones require you to pay upfront, and you will not be paying compulsory payments like locked phone users monthly. 

Use of dual SIM

Buying an unlocked phone is so beneficial that you are free to use two SIMs from different carriers if your phone has the functionality. This allows you to buy affordable plans from different carriers, which are favorable, among other benefits. 

However, dual functionality from a locked phone only allows you to have two numbers from the same carrier, which may not be beneficial. You usually miss the cost-saving benefits unlocked phone users get by having multiple carriers’ SIM cards.  

Ability to switch carriers without changing phone

As mentioned above, an unlocked phone allows you to use several SIM cards from different carriers on any unlocked phone. Once your contract ends with your current carrier, you can get another SIM card from another carrier without changing your phone. You will not be required to ask your immediate carrier to unlock your phone to enable you to migrate to another carrier. Rather, with unlocked phones, you are given the freedom to change your plan once the contract expires and still keep your phone. 

Ability to change SIM cards when traveling

Locked phones restrict you from services from other carriers, which is a challenge if you travel internationally and want to use SIM cards from local service providers. This means you will be forced to use roaming services which are costly when abroad. If you do not want roaming services, you will be forced to buy a new device to enable you to use the cheap local service in that country. 

On the other hand, unlocked phones allow you to switch to any GSM carrier worldwide without bothering your phone’s compatibility. This will prevent you from porting messages from your phone to a temporary gadget or relying entirely on Wi-Fi. 

Having locked phones does not affect you only when traveling internationally but also local travels. For example, if you get to a location with a low network signal and an unlocked phone, it will be easy to change to a carrier with a strong network signal. However, if you have a locked phone, you will be forced to rely on the Wi-Fi until you get out of the area, which might inconvenience you. 

You can sell your old phone

Many people are interested in buying used phones nowadays since getting brand-new phones might be costly. This has been so since 2019 after the price of many new devices shot higher due to inflations and other factors. If your phone is locked, you may not be in a position to find a buyer because of the barriers, like the network service of the specific carrier in many areas. 

However, getting a potential buyer will be easy if you sell unlocked phones because no one will be scared of a specific network service in their area. A buyer can buy the unlocked phone and get service from the network provider available in their area. In short, you will not have more inconveniences when finding a potential buyer for your unlocked phone than with locked devices. 

There is no carrier bloatware

Most providers in the United States usually throw unnecessary apps in your phones, mostly when your phone is locked. In most scenarios, one cannot uninstall these apps even when the phone is yours, which is not the same as unlocked phones. Unlocked phones give you the power to install what you want, and since the phone can be used with other carriers, no carrier has the authority to install their apps without your consent. 

With such reasons discussed, you can conclude that it is worth buying an unlocked phone in the United States than a locked phone. Now that you are convinced that unlocked phones are worth the purchase, where can you buy them? In the next section, we are telling you where you can get cheap unlocked phones while in the States. Let us jump into it. 

Best Places to Buy Unlocked Phones

Many people buy a new phone from a physical store only to discover that the phones are locked or are under contract. This means you will be unable to enjoy the benefits that come with unlocked phones. If you have been in that trap, you understand how painful it is to be trapped by such contracts for years. In this section, we will tell you some of the best places you buy an unlocked phone and enjoy the freedom to change carriers as you wish. Here are some of the online shops;

Best Buy 

Best Buy is one of the best online shops where you buy an unlocked phone. Where can I get Best Buy shop? Kindly open your browser and search https://www.bestbuy.com/, and you will be directed to their site. This online shop has more than 230 models of unlocked phones that you can browse and choose from at a cheap price. Kindly note that you will have to pay upfront for many of these phones, unlike carrier-locked phones that get one without paying. If you have a phone that you know and want to buy, you can utilize the search bar on their website to find it. 

Additionally, Best Buy has a filter option on the website to help you narrow your search on the brand you want to buy. Most of the prices you see in Best Buy are normally offered with same-day activation, even with unlocked phones. So, you may encounter higher prices if you plan to activate the phone later. In most cases, you will have to activate your phone on the same day of the purchase, or else you will encounter higher “activate later” prices. You will get free shipping on your purchase on all products that are above $35, inclusive of your unlocked phone. We advise you choose same-day delivery in the nearest store for your products for fast delivery.


Amazon is another option where you can find these unlocked phones at a cheaper price. This online shop offers many varieties of unlocked phones from top brands across the country. You can search the URL https://www.amazon.com/ to locate their website. Like Best buy, Amazon has a search bar that you can utilize to find an unlocked phone. Besides, they have a filter section that allows you to narrow your search from the many brands found in the online shop.

Amazon offers both new and refurbished phones from manufacturers and independent sellers at affordable prices. Many of these brands on the website are normally eligible for two-day shipping, but if you are a Prime Member. So, search them online and get yourself an unlocked phone from one of the best manufacturers in the market. 


Walmart is one of the most famous shops in the United States, with over 1,000 unlocked phones from top brands. You can get brands from Samsung, LG, Motorola, and BLU, among other top-notch manufacturers. You can buy these phones from most of their shops across the country or via their website at https://www.walmart.com/. Like the other websites we looked at, Walmart’s website allows you to search for a phone from your favorite brands. Besides, you can filter your choice by price, carrier, screen size, and compatibility, among other set filtering conditions. 

You can get the best deals for unlocked phones from Walmart, unavailable from many other online shops. Besides, you are normally allowed to pick up your phone free from one of their stores after placing an order. 


Swappa is one of the best online shops that sell products from independent sellers in the United States. Are you looking for a refurbished unlocked phone? Then Swappa is the place to be. Swappa allows sellers to sell refurbished products meaning you can get unlocked phones from the online store. It has a very dedicated team that looks at every phone listed on the online store to verify the serial numbers, photos, and criteria compliance before they verify it. 

They are very strict about the prices listed under any unlocked phone or product on the website. You will not get an extra shipping fee unless you request express shipping for your unlocked phone. Kindly search https://swappa.com/ to get this experience and buy your best-unlocked phone choice from your best brands.


Unlike many other online stores, eBay offers you a chance to buy the best electronic products. The shop has great prices on unlocked smartphones from brands like Samsung, and LG, among others. You can utilize Woot’s daily deals that offer you product prices at lower prices. 

eBay usually lists several brands, including unlocked Android brands, something you will not find in other markets. You can also look at the unlocked phone ratings before you buy, which gives you a prior advantage of getting the best brand. We advise you to check eBay products’ shipping and return policies before placing an order.  Search https://www.ebay.com/ and buy your unlocked phone.


Newegg is among the online shops that sell cheap unlocked phones in the United States. You can find unlocked phones starting from $67.50 from top brands like ZTE, LG, Motorola, and Samsung. Newegg has new and refurbished unlocked phones, giving you a wide selection according to your pocket. 

According to several sources, Newegg offers you the lowest prices on the Samsung Galaxy A53 and iPhone X compared to any other online store. You can shop for cheaper prices on these unlocked phone brands at Newegg. Additionally, most of the unlocked phones listed on Newegg are eligible for free shipping. Kindly search https://www.newegg.com/ and grab yourself a cheap unlocked Android phone.

Best Unlocked Phones 2022 

Are you looking for an unlocked phone from online or physical stores? Below are some of the best-unlocked phones in 2022 you can buy from the stores we have listed above, among others. 

  • Google Pixel 6a
  • Moto G pure
  • OnePlus 10T
  • Samsung Galaxy S22
  • Samsung Galaxy S22 Utra
  • Sony Xperia 5
  • Motorola Edge
  • OnePlus Nord
  • Samsung Galaxy S21 FE
  • Google Pixel 6

Those are some of the unlocked phones available, among many others you can buy from online stores across the country. Let us look at the guidelines that can help you buy one of the best-unlocked phones available in the market.

How To Choose The Best Unlocked Phone When Buying

Now that you know the best-unlocked phones available in the market in 2022, do you know how to choose the best-unlocked phone when making a purchase? If you do not, follow this simple guide, and we assure you will be able to make a good choice. 

Find a phone that works with your carrier

Before placing your order, checking if your phone is compatible with your network carrier is critical. Most of the unlocked phones in your area are compatible with the GSM network in the United States. Some of these GSM network operators in the United States are AT&T, T-Mobile, and other MVNO carriers like Cricket Wireless and Metro, affiliated with T-Mobile carrier. 

Besides, other unlocked phones are compatible with CDMA network providers like Verizon and Sprint. You can get some phones from top brands like Samsung and Google Pixel companies in the country. So, always find a phone that will work with your network carrier.

Confirm the network coverage map of your area

Buying an unlocked phone that meets your needs per your area’s network coverage is important.  Fortunately, there are fewer discrepancies between the network coverage nowadays than before, especially in areas with low populations. Ensure that you buy a phone compatible with the network available in your area. We have mentioned that unlocked phones work with most GSM phones, but after the 4G LTE network, there are unlocked phones that support the CDMA network.

Disadvantages of Unlocked Phones

Unlocked phones are more advantageous than locked phones, but they have some disadvantages that come with them. Here are some of the demerits of unlocked phones

  • You must pay upfront to get an unlocked phone which may be difficult if you do not have the whole cash to buy a new phone.
  •   It is not easier to claim warrants with phone manufacturers than with carriers. You may be forced to spend hours claiming a warrant from your manufacturer, but a carrier providing a locked phone will sort it fast because you are using their services. 
  • Locked phones by carriers have better deals as compared to unlocked phones.
  • Not all unlocked phones will work with your preferred carrier. 

Can you put any SIM card into an unlocked phone?

Yes, you can put any SIM card into any unlocked phone as long the phone device supports a 4G LTE network. Kindly note that after the introduction of the 4G LTE network, GSM and CDMA phones both support SIM cards. This means you get an Android phone and use any SIM card since they can support 4G LTE. 

Is it better to buy a phone from the carrier?

The only advantage you get from buying a phone from a carrier is that you may not pay for the phone, but the carrier might help you pay for it. However, this will require the carrier to lock you and put a contract on you so that you cannot change to another carrier. As you saw above, unlocked phones give you more freedom to navigate cheaper options available in other carriers and benefits. For example, you are free to move to a carrier of your choice without facing restrictions from your current carrier.

Is there a disadvantage to buying an unlocked iPhone?

The primary disadvantage of buying an unlocked iPhone is the cost which mostly applies when you are buying a new iPhone device. Unlocked iPhones are more expensive than locked iPhones because paying for the device upfront is mandatory before you start using it. However, when considering the long-run payment and the freedom, locked phones might be more expensive than unlocked ones.

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