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Can an unlocked phone work on AT & T?

Discussion in 'AT&T' started by MissMinnesota, Dec 24, 2010.

  1. MissMinnesota

    MissMinnesota Newbie
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    Hi all! I'm new, by a week, to the Android community! I received as an early Christmas present, a Samsung Galaxy Tablet. I am in love!:D I've been working on it every day for 2 hours per day; need it for work and want to be fully aware of what it can do when my season starts again. (unemployed landscaper).

    Question: I now want to upgrade to an Android smart phone. I've done my homework on cnet and digitaltrends and I read that AT & T (my carrier) has the WORST of the Android phones. :mad: Sprint and Verizon: either the EVO or Samsung Epic. If I can find these phones on ebay, can I insert my AT & T sim card and have them work?

    I really don't want to trade off AT & T (been with them 13 years, no problems) but I also don't want to buy the "dog" of an Android phone that cnet hates.

    ANY advice would be appreciated and helpful!
     

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  2. nb_mitch

    nb_mitch Android Enthusiast
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    The general answer is no, all devices by the 4 major carriers don't share the same bands, so they are not compatible. At&t and T-Mobile share some bands and are the same hardware, so they come the closest.

    While At&t generally doesn't have the greatest Android devices, they do have a few that are good. There may also be some new announcements at CES 2011 which is Jan 6-9th. Rumors are that At&t will have better devices once they loose their exclusive deals with Apple.

    For Now, there is a Samsung Captivate, HTC Aria, Sony X10, Motorola Backflip, Bravo, Flipout & Flipside and my favorite the Dell Streak (from Best Buy for $99). All of those can be had for Free from Wirefly today and probably Wal-Mart too, prices vary based on source :eek:

    That is a pretty good range of size and styles to choice from.
     
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  3. MissMinnesota

    MissMinnesota Newbie
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    mitch: thanks for both your answer and for providing me with the patience to stay with AT & T through January, to find out if I can use my Gal-Tab apps on a new android phone through AT & T. The cell phone market is NOT what it was 13 years ago when analog phones were barely used and current phones were a twinkle in the eye of developers. There is NO reason, except greed and stupidity, for a carrier to restrict the apps market. AT & T will lose a very loyal and valuable client if I find out that I can't cross use my Android apps on any potential phone I buy. Thanks, again, mitch!
     
  4. lunatic59

    lunatic59 Moderati ergo sum
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    Register your gmail account with AppBrain Android Market - find the best Android Apps and Games and as long as you sync both devices with the same account, yes, you will be able to use the paid apps on both devices as long as they both meet the minimum requirement for the app.

    Part of the cost of a subsidized phone is born by the carriers ability to push it's own fee-based services by restricting access to apps that would provide those functions for free. It can be a nuisance but it's not impossible to bypass those restrictions. For example, if you want an app you know is in the market but can't see, reboot your phone with the SIM card out, connect via WiFi and get it that way. Once installed, put back your SIM and you're good to go. The Market restrictions generally only apply when connecting through AT&T's network.

    As far as phones, what you are looking for are GSM phones that use the 1900MHz 3G band. You *can* use any GSM phone on AT&T's network but if it doesn't support the HSPA bands at 1900MHz, you'll only get 2G (EDGE) data speeds. FYI T-Mobile's GSM phones use the 1700MHz band.

    You can find some unlocked models that may work but you have to be careful because if they are European versions such as HTC Desire A8181 Android Smartphone with 5 MP Camera, Wi-Fi, Touchscreen and Bluetooth--International Version with No Warranty | Warehouse Deals look at the features and while they list the 1900 MHz band under GSM, it is missing from HSPA/WCDMA which means it will only get 3G data in Europe. Kinda makes your head spin, don't it?

    I was out of contract when I picked up my Nexus One (at full price), but with all the deals going on this holiday season for both phones and plans ... and the realization that I' not switching carriers any time soon, I got a Captivate from Radio Shack for free plus a reduction in the rate plane i had (which includes unlimited data grandfathered from an older smartphone plan.) Essentially they are paying me $20/month to take the phone as long as I promise to use them for another 18 months ... which I am doing anyway.
     
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  5. HustlinDaily

    HustlinDaily Android Expert
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    Most GSM phones are Quad-Band meaning they will get voice/EDGE on any GSM networks (only ones in the USA are AT&T and T-Mobile)

    What you have to know is that AT&T uses either/or 850MHz and 1900MHz 3G bands (also known as HSPA/WCDMA/UMTS bands. HSPA is the fastest of the 3G technologies I think). Most Canadian GSM phones fit this bill (I think all the Canadian GSM networks have the same 2 3G bands as AT&T). Newer ones include:
    Bell Mobility Desire Z (pretty much a G2 with the new version of HTC Sense)

    Bell Galaxy S Vibrant (different from T-Mobile Vibrant, has a front facing camera. T-Mobile Vibrant also has the 1900MHz 3G band and will work with AT&T 3G)

    Rogers Acer Liquid E (infact, all Acer smartphones have at least the 1900MHz 3G band. I have the Liquid A1 imported from Asia and I get 3G throughout most of the greater Houston area)

    Telus HTC Desire (older one. Telus is also rumored to be getting the Milestone 2 which is the Droid 2 and the Desire HD I think)
     
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  6. MissMinnesota

    MissMinnesota Newbie
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    Every time I come to this forum, I walk away, a little bit smarter! Thanks to all the brilliant posters who helped me with this problem.
     
  7. quantumrand

    quantumrand Android Expert
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    Supposedly the Desire HD is coming to Telus in the near future. That would probably be one of the better choices if you wanted to grab an unlocked phone to use on AT&T.
     
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  8. colnago

    colnago Android Expert
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  9. MissMinnesota

    MissMinnesota Newbie
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    Looks like I need to be patient, by a month or two. Thanks for providing me with additional information.
     

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