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An unlocked smartphone gives you flexibility to shop for and negotiate better deals. Service will almost always be cheaper if you're not stuck in a contract with one of the major carriers.

Five Smart-Money Benefits to Unlocking Your iPhone

15233535047_92220bfab3_zThe ads from major cell carriers like AT&T, Verizon and Sprint offer what seem like great deals – you can nab an iPhone, Galaxy Note or other spiffy new smartphone for little or no money down. Sounds great, right? Wrong. You are not getting a free (or even a cheap) phone with these deals. You will pay much more than the market value of the phone through high contract charges.

On the other hand, if you buy your phone outright, or unlock your phone as soon as you don’t have any contractual liability for the phone cost, you can pay far less in the long run. Unlocking your phone allows it to work with any cell provider. It’s not hard to do and unlocking can save you big bucks. Here how it can benefit you.

Increase Resale Value

When you’re ready to upgrade your phone, you can cut the cost of buying a new model by selling your old one. This is much easier if your phone is unlocked because the buyer will be able to use it under his or her current carrier contract, or shop around for a contract carrier or prepaid deal that will work with that model. When the phone isn’t unlocked, it’s limited to a specific carrier, which can be an annoyance on the second-hand market.

Ditch Your Contract

If you bought your phone for full price or you’ve completed the portion of your contract where you won’t face a penalty if you cancel, ending your contract can save you serious cash. And if your contract is done and you’re going month-to-month, there’s no penalty at all. If you move to a month-to-month or are on a prepaid deal, you can often cut your bill in half (or even lower) compared to the expense uner a major carrier contract.

Makes International Travel Calling Cheaper

Taking your smartphone with you while you travel internationally can be a huge hassle. You may be stuck with pricey roaming charges or your phone simply may not work. With an unlocked iPhone, you can take your phone with you, then head to a local cell shop and pick up a cheap SIM card coded for that country’s cellular network, and buy one month of service on a prepaid deal. This is usually much more affordable than upgrading to international service from your current carrier.

Bargaining Power

Rejection is a powerful tool. If you’ve unlocked your smartphone, you can contact your current carrier and tell them you’re going to leave them unless they offer you a cheaper service-only contract. Don’t fall for the offer of a fancy new phone – that’s how they keep you paying $100-$200 a month. Instead tell them your phone is paid off and you just want service or you’re going to a new carrier. If you can get a deal that’s cheaper than the current prepaid deals, it may be worth it to stick with your carrier.

Put Your Service on Pause

If you don’t need your cell service for a few weeks or months, and your phone is unlocked and you’re on a month-to-month plan instead of a contract, you can easily suspend it. Say you’re taking a month off to backpack and unplug from all your technology. No problem. If you get an assignment for six months that comes with a company cell, why pay for two? If you’re going on a cruise where you can’t use your phone, you can let your service lapse until you get back and save a couple of weeks’ expense.

The bottom line is that when your iPhone (or other smartphone) is unlocked, you have a lot more flexibility and can shop for and negotiate better deals that will save you money. Obtaining cell service will almost always be cheaper if you’re not stuck in a contract with one of the major carriers. If saving money means something to you, unlock your device!

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About Alyssa Sellors

Alyssa Sellors was an English and Journalism educator for eight years and now works as a freelance writer and journalist. She is a regular contributor to a number of publications. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, reading, and spending time with her husband, baby boy, and two chihuahuas.

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