What is an unlocked phone?

May 11, 2017

What is an unlocked phone

We don’t like to point fingers, but not all phone providers are created equal. Fact. We just happen to be better than the rest.

At Three, we believe you don’t need to spend more for great service. We’ve got extra perks, and access to the phones you want, at unbeatable prices.

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 across the world without worrying about roaming fees. Know that you have the freedom to use other SIMs in your phone. Or to move to another provider at the end of your Pay Monthly. But why on earth would you do a thing like that?

Say you want to pass your old iPhone or Samsung onto your gran. Or perhaps 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 getting them to 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. This means 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.

Sometimes you have to be in a contract for 3, 6 or 12 months before you can get a locked phone unlocked. But even then, unlocking takes time. So yes, locked phones can be tedious. They also reduce your bank balance, as you may have to pay an additional unlocking fee for the privilege. Ouch.

Why get an unlocked phone?

An unlocked phone gives you the freedom to use any SIM you want in it. But there’s more.

For starters, you’ll be quids-in by avoiding unlocking fees. This can cost around anything from £15-£30. An unlocked phone gives you more options at the end of your Pay Monthly. You can pass the phone on to anyone or review which network is offering you the best deal without any extra hassle.

Flog it. Unlocked phones are easier to sell on. You can usually get more money than if you were to try and sell a locked phone. In fact, unlocked phones can usually fetch 30% more than their locked counterparts.

You can easily switch between a few different phones if they’re all unlocked. If your beloved phone needs to be serviced, it’s convenient to switch your SIM to another unlocked model while you wait.

Unlocked phones and roaming

What’s the big deal about unlocked phones? You ask. You can swap your SIM when abroad for the SIM of a local carrier. This means you can benefit from cheaper calls and texts when on your holiday.

If you’re an existing Three customer, you’re already getting some advantages when it comes to seeing the world with Go Roam. Which lets you use your phone abroad in over 70 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

Let’s say you’ve got an unlocked phone from another manufacturer but want to take advantage of Three’s amazing deals. We’ve got SIM offers you’ll love.

Pay As You Go SIMs give you freedom and 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. You’re in total control of your monthly, and daily spend. And the SIMs are free to order. 

You can also get a fantastic deal on a Pay Monthly SIM from us, if you prefer the ease and stability of a monthly contract. Check out our best mobile phone deals here.

Update: Sadly, we’ve decided to close the wuntu app. We’re working on creating an even better customer rewards experience. Keep your peepers peeled.