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Nolan Thompson
Nolan Thompson

Buy Unlocked Phones Canada

Unlocking a wireless device lets your phone work on any network that has compatible technology. Previous to 2017, carriers like Bell, Rogers, and Telus would make new phones more affordable by locking a phone to their network, ensuring their customers would remain with them for a long time. Instead of paying $600 for a new phone, new customers could pay $0 down in exchange for agreeing to a 3-year contract that had the price of the phone built into the monthly payments. The phone was then 'locked' to the network, so the phone would not work with competing services even if you ended the contract.

buy unlocked phones canada

Some devices are \"factory unlocked,\" which means they've never been locked to a single carrier. Google-branded phones (like Nexus and Pixel) and iPhones bought directly from Apple outright are usually factory unlocked.

If you recently bought another brand like Samsung, LG, Sony, or Motorola, it should be unlocked right out of the box. Some older stock from before 2018 may still be locked, but you must be provided instructions and a code to unlock the device at the time of purchase (usually via a sticker on the box).

You can also check in your Android phone's settings. Depending on your specific model and version of Android, you'll find this info in your Network menu, under the Network Operators option. If you can connect to a different network, your phone is unlocked. You can also pop another carrier's SIM card into your device to see if you're able to connect successfully to that network.

At WhistleOut, we have heard from a number of Canadians who tell us that phones on corporate plans will be charged a $50 fee. There may be some confusion around exactly who owns the phone; you or the company. However, no cell phone carrier should charge for unlocking a phone. You can quote us on that.

Your carrier can refuse to unlock a device under certain circumstances, but this conflict usually has to do with stolen phones. If your phone has never been reported stolen and your account is in good standing, there should be no issues having your wireless device unlocked.

To unlock your phone for free, the original owner must contact and request it be unlocked from the wireless carrier that originally sold the device. The carrier is not allowed to charge a fee, nor reject the unlocking request because of an outstanding balance. There are circumstances where a Canadian carrier can refuse to unlock a device, but these circumstances are rare.

Some devices are "factory unlocked," which means they've never been locked to a single carrier. Google-branded phones (like Nexus and Pixel) and iPhones bought directly from Apple outright are usually factory unlocked.

One way to tell if your device is unlocked is to take your carrier's SIM card out of your phone and swap in one from another cell phone carrier. If it's still locked, it will ask for an unlock code when you boot up your phone. Contact the carrier who sold you the device to find the code.

Your phone's IMEI number: This is your phone's unique identity, like a fingerprint. Some phones have it as a 15-digit number on a sticker on the back. You can also find it by typing *#06# into your phone's dialer app, or find it in the About Phone section of your phone's settings.

Google phones (Nexus and Pixel) are factory unlocked. You can take them to any carrier that supports the technology. When you sign up for a new carrier, they'll help you find out if your smartphone will work on their network.

If you bought your phone from a private seller, insist that it be unlocked first. Depending on the situation, carriers may not unlock a phone for free if the original owner cannot be contacted. If this happens, third-party unlocking services may be your only option.

If the phone was sold after December 1, 2017, it should not have been locked to a single carrier in the first place. If it is locked, it should be unlocked immediately and without cost (as long as the phone has not been reported stolen or lost).

If you often travel outside the country, you may want to unlock your phone and use cheaper plans while abroad; some carriers will even let you subscribe on a daily rate. Different carriers like T-Mobile, Verizon, and AT&T sometimes use different and incompatible technology. Even if your phone is unlocked, call ahead first to make sure it will work with the wireless provider you plan to use.

If you're thinking of having your phone unlocked by your carrier, keep in mind that purchasing an unlocked smartphone can be a much easier, and more reliable, option than attempting to unlock a previously locked phone.

I'm that 5G guy. I've actually been here for every "G." I've reviewed well over a thousand products during 18 years working full-time at, including every generation of the iPhone and the Samsung Galaxy S. I also write a weekly newsletter, Fully Mobilized, where I obsess about phones and networks.

These are our choices for the best unlocked phones available in the US, followed by what to consider when you buy an unlocked device. Our picks range from inexpensive basic handsets to powerful flagships. Most are 5G phones, including those in Apple's iPhone 14 series, Google's Pixel 7 lineup, and Samsung's latest Galaxy S and Z families. These run on every form of US 5G, including high-speed millimeter wave and C-band spectrum.

Google's Pixel phones have the smoothest software and are among the most future-proof Android handsets. The Pixel 7 also has an all-day battery and excellent cameras. Available unlocked from Google's store, it works on all three US carriers.

The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra has two unique features: a built-in S Pen stylus and a 10x optical zoom camera that goes to 100x digitally. If you buy the unlocked model from Samsung's website, it should work with all US carriers and you get to pick from some online-exclusive colors.

If you want the S Pen or a superzoom camera, you should get the S23 Ultra rather than the S23+. The S Pen is a great tool for doodlers and notetakers, and the 10x zoom is unique among phones in the US market and really does bring faraway objects closer.

iPhones are the most easily available, universally unlocked line of phones in America because of Apple's nationwide network of brick-and-mortar stores. Unlocked iPhones support every US carrier's frequency bands and you can easily switch them from carrier to carrier. Just remember, it's all eSIM in iPhone 14 models.

Google's phones have smooth, simple software and they always get updates first. The Pixel 6a also has the best camera on a midrange phone. It works on all three US carriers and you can buy it directly from Google.

People whose tastes outpace their budget. Technophiles generally love the software on Pixel phones, which keeps things clean. You can also rest easy knowing that the device will continue to get updates for several years. To top it all off, the Pixel 6a is quite affordable.

The Galaxy S23+ is our top pick for Android flagship phones: It offers class-leading power, excellent cameras, extensive battery life, and a standout display. And with the unlocked model, you can take advantage of its superb 5G connectivity on all the major US carriers. Like the S23 Ultra, you can even get it in some exclusive colors if you buy directly from Samsung online.

The Sunbeam F1 works on all three US networks and virtual carriers. It's a traditional flip phone from a small, focused start-up that has paid much attention to usability and user experience, which you don't generally get on voice-focused phones. The company offers three different models that accommodate different levels of disconnection. 041b061a72


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