Sim cards, cell phones, handsets, roaming, cell phone plans

I’ve had a lot of people over the years ask me what UNLOCKING your phone does and what it is ?

When an iPhone, Android or Blackberry is built in the factory they are typically built to work on multiple frequencies.
For this article I’m going to use the iPhone as an example.

For Example your iPhone will work on Rogers (GSM) and also TELUS (HSPA) those are 2 types of Frequencies.
When these carriers purchase the iPhones for inventory they are LOCKED to that specific carrier.

There are a few reasons for this :

1. The Carrier wants to be sure that you will stay under contract and not use the phone on other networks. This means that the carrier will benefit from your usage within Canada and when travelling generating more income !
2. Most Canadians will subsidize their hardware (on a new term, or renewal) – meaning that that they will only pay $100-$200-$300 (depending on model) This means that when you enter into a contract (mostly 2 years now) the carrier adds the cost of that hardware
to your monthly fee. (10-25$ per month) This is another reason why the phone is Locked to their network. (they want their money back)
3. Contract Terms – While most people think being under contract is a way for the Telecom industry to hold people hostage, it is also a way to make sure you aren’t going to take an $800 iPhone and not pay your subsidy. If you aren’t planning on cancelling your phone , have a business or need to be connected….. chances are a contract is just fine.  When you damage or loose your phone the carrier isn’t responsible to give you another unit (most people think that the carrier gets them for free). Someone needs to pay for the unit that was lost, and then another one that is replaced.
4. Theft – This is another topic all together….. Locking the phone does prevent the phone being taken to another carrier  for the most part. There are other methods the carriers have put in place which I find good. They will track the IMEI of the phone and if your phone is stolen, the carrier will flag it for you and will make sure that if there is an attempt to re-activate it will not be allowed. Apple has taken it even a step further in that your phone will not be unlock-able if flagged. So if you have a stolen iPhone you won’t be able to sell the unit and/or activate it on that network, and you can’t unlock it to slide over to another carrier.

Alternative Solutions:

BYOD – (Bring your own device)   – If you don’t want to be under contract you can head over to the apple store and purchase your very own iPhone 6 – It comes with factory settings (Unlocked) and you are free to Roam on any network within most countries around the world.

CRTC – Cell Phone Unlocking Policy – to have your phone unlocked after 90 days, or immediately if you paid in full for your phone, at the rate specified by the service provider, upon request

Visit your local Dealer – You can purchase a used (already unlocked phone) or have them unlock it for you.-  iPhone is typically the most expensive (Bell is the toughest, and the last to adopt the unlocking policy, TELUS was the first)

Hope you find this useful