SIM free phones are essentially phones that are not locked to any network when you buy them. In other words you can use them on any network you like. What are the advantages of them? Well since they’re unlocked you can put in foreign sims when roaming thus helping to reduce your costs as usually your home network will charge more for services when traveling then a local network, especially when it comes to data.
Why else should you consider them? Most if not all networks demand a long contract from you when you buy/upgrade your device. We are in fact starting to see longer and longer contracts being demanded by the networks if the customer wants a good price on the phone or plan. Having a SIM free phone, while costing you more, means you’re not locked into a contract with your network. So if their service deteriorates in the future you’re not stuck trying to persuade them to release you from contract. Another reason is if a different network decides to offer a spectacular deal on a plan, you don’t have to wait for your contract to finish to join the better plan. You’re also not waiting and hoping for a change to your plans T&C’s so you can use EU regulation 17 to legally be released from contract (More on that soon) .
Another reason to consider SIM free phones is that most networks offer up to 10euro off your monthly plan if you’re not getting a new/upgrade phone. This can work out as a substantial discount in the long run. Finally when you go to upgrade most networks force you to take the latest plan if your plan is an old one and no longer available. But what if that plan is perfect for your needs and the new plan offers less favourable conditions. By having a SIM free phone you get to keep your plan and continue on.
So when looking to buy/upgrade your smartphone do consider all your options. Just because a top of the range phone is free on a 24month contract does not necessarily mean it offers the best value out there for you. SIM free phones are more expensive initially but in the long run they may work out cheaper.
SIM free phones can be bought online but you should also consider getting pre pay phones off networks and then paying for them to be unlocked. Sometimes pre pay phones can work out better value than SIM free phones. For example, in most online stores the BlackBerry 9900 sim free is priced in and around 600 euro, but on some networks here in Ireland the price on pre pay is as low as 400 euro. You then pay a couple of euro to get it unlocked and hey presto you’ve got yourself a great deal on the phone with the plan and network you want.
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