5 Differences Between a Locked vs. Unlocked Phone - CompAsia

Are you trying to decide between a locked and unlocked phone? Both options come with their own set of advantages and drawbacks. While locked phones may offer lower upfront costs and customer support, unlocked phones provide the freedom to choose your carrier and flexibility for international travel. 

In this article, we'll explore the key differences between the two and help you choose. Whether on a budget or seeking complete control over your device, we've got you covered.

What Is A Locked Phone?

A locked phone is a device you acquire through network providers such as Globe or Smart. These phones are specifically configured to function exclusively with the network you obtained. 

For instance, you can replace the SIM card if you purchased a phone from Globe under a 24-month contract. However, it will only work with Globe or any network that uses Globe's cell towers, like Gomo or TM. This same rule applies to phones acquired from Smart. If you got an iPhone through a contract with Smart, it will only function with Smart, Sun Cellular, or TNT SIM cards. 

Remember that locked phones aren't restricted to local units alone. If you purchase a phone from another country tied to a specific international network or carrier, the phone will likely remain locked to that particular international network. This means it won't function with any network here in the Philippines.

What Is An Unlocked Phone?

An unlocked phone, specifically a factory unlocked phone, is not tied to any specific network carrier. It's a phone that's free to use on any network in any country. 

You can own an unlocked phone by purchasing it directly from phone retailers or an authorized reseller, regardless of country. Doing this lets you be confident that the phone isn't locked to a particular carrier.

If you're considering online retailers like CompAsia, they usually have unlocked phones in stock. However, it's always a good idea to double-check. If the phone isn't unlocked, they typically indicate whether it's locked to a specific carrier like Globe or Smart, and often, these locked phones come at a discount.

What Is An Open Line Phone?

An open-line phone is the same as an unlocked phone. Both types allow you to use any SIM card with your device. The primary difference lies in the terminology: 'factory unlocked' refers to a phone initially unlocked at the time of manufacture. 'Open line' means the phone was unlocked after purchase, usually once a contract with a specific network provider has concluded.

What Is A GPP/GPP Unlocked Phone?

GPP, or Genuine Phone Parts, is a term you might come across when exploring the world of locked and unlocked phones. These phones start locked but are modified using a special chip to bypass their carrier restrictions.

For instance, if you've purchased an iPhone from AT&T in the USA, it's initially locked to their network. To use it here in the Philippines, you'd require a GPP chip. This chip makes it appear as if you're using an AT&T number when, in reality, you could be using a Smart or Globe number. It works the other way around; you can use a GPP chip to make a Smart-locked iPhone function with your Globe number and vice versa.

However, it's important to note that some sellers refer to these modified phones as "semi-factory unlocked." This is because GPP unlocking has earned a somewhat shaky reputation regarding stability and hassle-free usage. 

Top 5 Differences Between Locked vs. Unlocked Phones

Here are the top 5 differences between locked and unlocked phones to help you make the right decision.

Carrier Dependence

  • Locked Phones - These are devices tied to specific network providers like Globe or Smart. They're configured to work exclusively with the network from which you purchased them.
  • Unlocked Phones - Factory unlocked phones, conversely, are not tied to any carrier. They can be used with any network in any country.

Purchase Source

  • Locked Phones - You typically get them through network providers, often at reduced upfront costs when signing a contract.
  • Unlocked Phones - Factory unlocked phones can be purchased directly from phone retailers or authorized resellers, ensuring carrier independence.

International Usage

  • Locked Phones - If you buy a locked phone from another country, it will remain locked to that international network and won't work with Philippine carriers.
  • Unlocked Phones - Factory unlocked phones can be used globally with any compatible network.

Contract and Affordability

  • Locked Phones - Often come at a reduced cost as carriers subsidize prices in exchange for contract commitments.
  • Unlocked Phones - Typically have a higher upfront cost but provide the flexibility to choose your carrier without a contract.

Support and Services

  • Locked Phones - Carriers offer customer service, repair services, and insurance plans for device protection.
  • Unlocked Phones - This may lack carrier-specific support but provides the freedom to seek third-party services and choose device protection options.

Making the Right Choice for Your Tech Needs

At CompAsia, we understand that your tech needs are as unique as you are. We offer various quality secondhand devices, including locked and unlocked phones.

Our commitment to delivering top-notch tech goes beyond mere words. Every device in our inventory undergoes a rigorous 32-step quality check to meet our high standards. Plus, we offer a free 1-month warranty extendable to 12 months, providing peace of mind with your purchase.

We're not just about providing affordable and sustainable tech; we're also dedicated to reducing e-waste and making high-end gadgets accessible to everyone. Our convenient payment options, such as the Buy Now Pay Later and Credit Card Instalments, make upgrading your device more effortless than ever.

Whether you prefer the affordability and support of a locked phone or the flexibility and global usability of an unlocked one, CompAsia has you covered. Explore our selection today and embark on your next tech adventure without breaking the bank. 

Ready to buy a locked or unlocked phone? Shop now and discover the perfect device for you!

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