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Enter your email below to get exclusive access to our best articles and tips before everybody else. Phone locking applies to nearly any type of cell phone, from the lowest, cheapest dumb phone to the highest end smartphone. RELATED ARTICLEWhat’s the Difference Between Jailbreaking, Rooting, and Unlocking?Compared to a PC, phones and tablets are fairly locked-down devices. Cell phone locking is really just a way to create additional friction for average people switching carriers, encouraging them to stick with their current carrier instead of looking around for a better price and switching carriers. Unlock It Yourself: At the moment, unlocking a cell phone without permission is illegal in the USA, thanks to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Most cell phones sold in India are sold unlocked — mainly because we're used to paying full price for phones. DID YOU KNOW?The first edition of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue hit the news stands in 1964; the cover model with the most cover appearances is Elle Macpherson with cover appearances in 1986, 1987, 1988, 1994, and 2006.

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Unlocking is different from jailbreaking and rooting, which bypass other software restrictions on mobile devices. For example, in the USA, AT&T and T-Mobile use the GSM wireless standard, while Verizon and Sprint use the CDMA wireless standard.
Before you consider unlocking a phone and taking it to another carrier, ensure that your phone will actually be capable of functioning on that carrier’s network. It’s one of the many horrible business practices carriers employ to gouge their customers. Maybe your contract has expired and you want to switch to another carrier, maybe you’re visiting another country, or maybe you just want to pay an early termination fee and get out of your contract early. Airtel, a carrier here, launched the iPhone on contract, but somehow people are using more Droids than ever. If you want to take that phone to another carrier, you’d have to break your contract and pay an early termination fee or keep paying the monthly bill for the lifetime of the contract.

If you tell your carrier you’ll be travelling and wish to use a SIM card from another country to save on roaming fees, they may also unlock your phone for you. The exact process will vary from phone to phone, so you’ll have to perform a web search and find instructions for your specific mobile phone.
This contractual obligation would still be binding even if the phone itself was sold unlocked and you took it to another carrier. If consumers were able to take their phones to other networks, carriers argue that they would have difficulty recovering the price of the phone and their business model would take a hit. Some smartphones may even be sold locked if you buy them from a carrier store at full price, without signing a contract, which shows how silly this argument is.

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