We don't believe in locked phones at Three, because we don't think you should be stuck in a contract with a mobile provider when you want to go elsewhere. Which is why all Three phones come unlocked. There are other reasons unlocked phones are better: they give you more freedom, they have a better resale value (like, way better!) and you can pass your old phone to a friend or relative with no hassle whatsoever.
We don’t like to point fingers and name names, but not all phone providers are created equal. Fact. We just happen to be better than the rest.
We’re also firm believers that your phone is yours, and you can do what you want with it.
Which is why we stopped selling any locked phones as of 1 January, 2014 (even if you have an older Three phone, you can pop into your local Three store and get it unlocked for free).
Translation? We want you to enjoy your phone. Dress it up in funky cases. Take it all over the world – and take lots of selfies while you’re travelling – without worrying about roaming fees (in any of our 42 Feel at Home countries). And know that you have the freedom to use other SIMs in your phone if you want… or to move to another provider at the end of your contract. But why on earth would you do a thing like that?
Say you want to pass your old iPhone or Samsung onto your mum (we wouldn’t blame you if you wanted to upgrade to that gorgeous new S8). Or your bestie’s lost a phone and you have an extra one lying around. With an unlocked phone, it’s as easy as handing your phone over and having them put in a new SIM.
What’s a locked phone?
If you’ve bought your phone from another network, it’s likely that it’ll be locked and you’ll only be able to use it with the provider you bought it from. Unsure if your phone is locked or not? Ask the network directly or try a different network SIM and make a call to see if it works or not.
Sometimes you have to be in a contract for three, six or 12 months before you can get a locked phone unlocked. Then you need to factor in anywhere from a few days to a month after that for the actual unlocking process to happen. So yes, locked phones can be tedious. They can also be costly: you may have to pay an additional unlocking fee for the privilege. Ouch.
Why get an unlocked phone?
Not only does an unlocked phone give you the freedom to use your phone with whichever SIM you want, there are other perks that come with getting your phone unlocked in the first place.
For starters, you can save money by avoiding unlocking fees (typically anything from £15-£30 depending on where you go to get the phone unlocked). An unlocked phone gives you more options at the end of your contract. You can pass the phone on to anyone or review which network is offering you the best deal without any extra hassle.
Also, unlocked phones tend to be easier to sell on than handsets locked into a specific operator – and you can expect to get more money when you’re finally ready to part with the phone. In fact, unlocked phones can usually fetch 30% more than their locked counterparts.
If you’re a phone obsessive who likes to have all the latest tech at your fingertips, you can easily switch between a few different phones if they’re all unlocked. And if your beloved phone needs to be serviced, it’s easy and convenient to switch your SIM to another unlocked model while waiting for your phone to get fixed.
Unlocked phones and roaming
One reason unlocked phones are particularly popular is that you can swap out your SIM card when abroad for the SIM of a local carrier, so that you can benefit from cheaper calls and texts when travelling. Which is pretty cool.
However, if you’re a Three customer anyway, you’re already getting some amazing advantages when it comes to seeing the world with Feel At Home, which lets you use your phone abroad in 42 countries at no extra cost. So we’re offering you all the unlocked phone perks AND all of the no roaming charges advantages. Because, why not?
Unlocked phones and SIMs
If you’re rocking an unlocked phone from another manufacturer but want to take advantage of Three’s amazing deals when it comes to SIM cards, you’ve come to the right place.
PAYG SIMs give you freedom, flexibility and couldn’t be simpler to use. At just 3p a minute, 2p a text and 1p per MB of data, with Three you’re getting unbeatable Pay As You Go rates for data. Since you top up when you need to, there’s no bill shock at the end of the month, and you can control how you spend and what you spend on your mobile. And the SIMs are free to order – just click here.
You can also get a fantastic deal on a contract SIM from us if you prefer the ease and stability of a monthly contract. Check out our best mobile phone deals here.
Main pic: Flickr via Sarah Joy