Quantcast

A question about carriers and locked vs. unlocked phones.

Created by michaelfossbakk on Feb. 11, 2013, 7:28 p.m.
  • In a complicated mess with my current carrier (TMobile), I'm seriously considered buying out my contract - not out of spite, it would just save me a lot of money. I'm not sure which carrier to go with or what phone to get. On top of that, I was looking into the Nexus 4 and TMobile has an enticing offer until Feb. 18.

    My question, I suppose, is should I buy the Nexus 4 under contract with TMobile or should I buy it unlocked and switch to a different carrier? If so, which carrier and why? I live in SE Michigan, if that helps. What are the differences between locked and unlocked? Will an unlocked phone work on any network? How about internationally?

    Thanks in advance.
  • @michaelfossbakk: unlocked just means that it is not locked to a specific carrier. As far as what networks a phone can be used on when unlocked, it depends on the hardware. I'm not familiar with what radios are in the Nexus 4, but if you are running on TMobile you can almost assuredly use it with AT&T. I can't guarantee that you'd get 4G + connections (AT&T and Tmobile you slightly diff. frequencies and technologies to do their faster than 3G stuff) but it would work. Again, international support depends on the hardware/radio in the phone.

  • You should probably say what your beef with T-mobile is...

    If the deal is significant then maybe it's worth it, but if you have some sort of issue with them, which is apparently what spawned this whole idea, then for you it's probably not.

    I've been on T-mobile for a long time. Luckily I'm on a legacy plan (unlimited (5gb) data for $30) even though I upgraded less than a year ago. If I was looking for a new phone (which I'm not) I would just buy a Nexus 4 off contract and keep that train rollin'.

  • @SLUSHIE said:

    If the deal is significant then maybe it's worth it, but if you have some sort of issue with them, which is apparently what spawned this whole idea, then for you it's probably not

    My guess is that OP is referring to the web deal TMobile has going where the Nexus 4 (16GB model, seemingly) is $50 after a mail in rebate with 2 year activation.

  • @nickb64 said:

    @SLUSHIE said:

    If the deal is significant then maybe it's worth it, but if you have some sort of issue with them, which is apparently what spawned this whole idea, then for you it's probably not

    My guess is that OP is referring to the web deal TMobile has going where the Nexus 4 (16GB model, seemingly) is $50 after a mail in rebate with 2 year activation.

    Yes, I was referring to that deal.

    I don't have beef with T-Mobile, aside from the fact that they are charging me ~$130 a month for just myself. Essentially, I am the last member of my family to still use T-Mobile (my parents and sisters migrated to AT&T when they got their iPhones). Either I continue paying $130/month until my contract is up for renewal in 5 months, or I just buy it out for ~$100. I think you can see my logic here.

  • An unlocked Nexus 4 will work on T-Mobile and AT&T and any MVNOs running on one of their networks. Notably, StraightTalk has a pretty good deal and uses AT&T's network ($60/month for everything). T-Mobile also has some very good prepaid plans (including a $30/month 100 minute/5 GB plan), though you might not be eligible for those since you're already a customer.

  • @AwesomeAndy said:

    An unlocked Nexus 4 will work on T-Mobile and AT&T and any MVNOs running on one of their networks. Notably, StraightTalk has a pretty good deal and uses AT&T's network ($60/month for everything). T-Mobile also has some very good prepaid plans (including a $30/month 100 minute/5 GB plan), though you might not be eligible for those since you're already a customer.

    When you say "everything" under Straight Talk, what is included? Unlimited talk, text and data?

    Does the T-Mobile plan you mentioned include unlimited text?
  • Do your own research.

    straighttalk.com

    t-mobile.com


  • @michaelfossbakk said:

    @AwesomeAndy said:

    An unlocked Nexus 4 will work on T-Mobile and AT&T and any MVNOs running on one of their networks. Notably, StraightTalk has a pretty good deal and uses AT&T's network ($60/month for everything). T-Mobile also has some very good prepaid plans (including a $30/month 100 minute/5 GB plan), though you might not be eligible for those since you're already a customer.

    When you say "everything" under Straight Talk, what is included? Unlimited talk, text and data?

    From the Straight Talk ToS:

    The Straight Talk Unlimited Plan MAY NOT be used for certain unauthorized uses that adversely impact our service. Examples of unauthorized uses include, without limitation, the following: (i) continuous uninterrupted mobile to mobile or mobile to landline voice calls; (ii) automated text or picture messaging to another mobile device or e-mail address; (iii) uploading, downloading or streaming of uninterrupted continuous video; (iv) server devices or host computer applications, including, but not limited to, Web camera posts or broadcasts, automatic data feeds, automated machine-to-machine connections or peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing; or (v) as a substitute or backup for private lines or dedicated data connections. A person engaged in unauthorized uses may have his/her service throttled and/or terminated. Customers will be provided notice and an opportunity to take corrective action with respect to unauthorized uses before their service is terminated.
    7. STRAIGHT TALK UNLIMITED PLANS CANNOT BE USED FOR:any applications that tether your device to a laptop or personal computer other than for the use of Wireless Sync