One out of every ten mobile phones in the U.S is now an unlocked phone, as customers have begun moving away from the two-year lock-in with carriers at the time of purchase. This change was triggered by the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act, which mandated that carriers had to unlock the phones of subscribers who fulfilled initial contracts. The narrative is clearly in the numbers – with locked phones accounting for 88% of the total phones, there clearly is a demand for unlocked phones. If you happen to be in the City that never sleeps, you do not have to lose your sleep over high tariffs and two-year lock-in contracts – here is what you need to know more about it.
Unshackle yourself from the tradeoff of carriers
Till the Act came into force in 2015, buyers of mobile phones in the U.S typically opted for a tradeoff, where the carrier subsidized the cost of the device, while locking the subscriber to the network. While this kept the purchase costs low, it shackled and left the user with no choice, in terms of network choice. With the new Act in place, this has changed, offering users the chance to buy unlocked phones in New York and choose carriers and tariff plans of choice. The downside is the upfront costs involved in buying the phone. However, buyers have options, with EMI’s coming to the rescue of prospective customers who are unable to pay the high costs of a top end Android or iPhone.
How to choose the right store for unlocked phones
Making sense of different options and the distinct advantages
In a broader sense, unlocked phones belong to four different categories – new from the manufacturer, refurbished phones, purchasing from online aggregators and imported phones. You need to take an informed decision on the category. If you have the budget for a brand new phone with a warranty, then go with the first category. If you are on a shoestring budget you can opt for any of the other three categories. A refurbished phone is a used phone that has been checked and serviced before being put up for sale. Refurbished phones are typically sold at cheaper prices but come with the risk of possible problems in the future. Online aggregators offer deals mainly as a result of the bulk purchase and lesser overheads. While reliability has improved considerably, this form of purchase does not offer the touch and feel the retail experience. It is a good option if you have fixed your eyes and made your decision to purchase a specific model. Imported phones are typically fancy new gadgets that hit the shores of America from other nations – the phones may be feature rich and could also be priced cheaper. In a nutshell, your choice of store to purchase an unlocked phone should begin with the category of phone you wish to purchase.
Striking the balance between quality, support with pricing
For many buyers, price is the decisive factor that swings a purchase decision. And nothing can be more wrong than this. Price is certainly an important consideration, but this should never be at the cost of quality. The world is moving at dizzying speeds towards digital transformation and clearly, the need is for phones that permit users to leverage the full use of technology and network performance. In other words, the new techno-social order mandates that you possess a feature rich phone that does not become obsolete in a few months. You also need to look at the support that you will receive from the store, in terms of service, warranties and replacement. A store that gives you a deal that is too good to be true, may actually be just that. Therefore, never fall for the price trap. Strike a healthy balance between affordable costs and quality.
Choose a multibrand showroom that has an impressive inventory
Regardless of the brand that you prefer, it will always be a good choice to purchase from a store that stocks an impressive inventory of various brands. This will help you compare the features available; you get to see the various functions in action. This will give you the equivalent of carrying out your own A/B testing of the functions, to determine superior performance. And depending on the retailers, you can actually get yourself a bargain deal when you compare products. A multi-brand showroom is similar to a broader perspective, a widening of your horizons. Brand loyalty should never come in the way of logic and objectivity in selection.
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