Re: Who would benefit the most, customer or carrier if....?
In the UK it is much less of a problem. I'm still staggered when I see how much it costs to have a cellphone contract in the US compared to the UK.
Originally Posted by JustMe'D
Most, but definitely not all, carriers will sell you a phone to their network but will often unlock it for you completely free of charge at the end of your contract. The best deals aren't there to keep old customers but to entice new customers, so people can and often do swap between carriers often.
For instance, I was with O2 for years then swapped to Vodafone in 2012. That contract is now at an end and I will be swapping to the Three network on a 30 day rolling contract at £12.90 per month (about $21.00 per month) for unlimited data, 200 minutes and 5000 SMS. Bear in mind that no network in the UK charges its users for receiving calls or texts, unlike in the USA. I will be bringing the phone with me to this contract but routinely we can find a multitude of contracts that require zero money up front and about a £30 to £40 monthly cost ($49 to $66 approx) for two years.
It is huge business enticing customers away from one network and they all do it routinely here.
Phones are readily available to buy unlocked and in fact the last time I bought a phone that was locked to a network was probably 2005 or maybe even earlier, even if bought direct from a carrier.
All my iPhones have been unlocked and bought direct from an Apple store. Apple do not actually sell iPhones that are locked to a network here in the UK at all.
I went into the Glendale Galleria flagship store in LA (I spend a lot of time flitting back and forth between the UK and LA for my work) in October last year to pick up a 5S and the only ones they had were locked to networks. Notwithstanding I now understand that Verizon devices are in fact unlocked as a matter of course, the Apple Store claimed they were locked. Anyway, they use the CDMA bands and so are about as useful in the UK as a chocolate ashtray on a motorcycle. I use AT&T at the moment but I understand T-Mo also use GSM out of the big four companies.