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unlocked vs contract benefit?

Discussion in 'Android Lounge' started by nealc, May 4, 2012.

  1. nealc

    nealc Lurker
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    Hi

    One phone I'd like to have is the Galaxy Nexus, but it's $400 at google play, but a galaxy S2 is $230 or less at costco with contract.

    So this is actually my main question.. Either way I'm going to have a dataplan for 2 years (actually from now on) anyway. What benefit do I get that makes the unlocked Nexus worth $170 more than the S2 with contract? By taking the contract, I get them to pay for part of my phone, and I don't really think I'd need to switch providers in 1 year. I don't see what I'm getting by being unlocked, but evidently it's worth $170 or more to alot of people... What is it?

    Thanks!
    -Neal
     

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  2. chanchan05

    chanchan05 The Doctor
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    Unlocked basically means you can use any SIM on it. Contract phones tie you up for 2 years to that carrier, and the phone will not accept SIM from other phone companies. There are also other things in the contract.

    Also, its not that an unlocked phone being $170 more than a contracted phone. $400 is the phone's real worth, just like how a Galaxy S2 is really worth approx $500, not $230. The thing is, its cheaper if you buy it off contract because the contract provider already computed that oever the duration of your contract, the rest of the money will have been returned to him with interest though your monthly contract payments.

    Its like a car: You either pay up $20,000 right now, or maybe pay $10,000 now, and $500 every month for the next couple of years.
     
  3. nealc

    nealc Lurker
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    Thanks for the info. But is there a way to get phone/data service cheaper if I buy an unlocked phone? Because otherwise even though I bought the Nexus outright, if the service costs the same, then I'm still making payments towards a phone that I didn't get :thinking:?

    Thanks again
    -Neal
     
  4. Hadron

    Hadron  
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    That depends on your network operator. I don't know US networks, but over here in the UK you can take a SIM-only deal that is a lot less than a contract including handset subsidy. Over the course of 2 years it's a substantial saving, if you can afford the cash up front for the phone. If the networks where you are don't offer that then they really are ripping you off.
     
  5. Crashdamage

    Crashdamage Android Expert
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    In the US T-Mobile gives a cheaper rate if you bring your own phone and get a Value Plan or go prepaid. So you could get a Nexus for $399, go Value Plan for 2 years and actually save substantial money over paying $170 for SG2 with a 'regular' 2 year plan.
     
  6. zuben el genub

    zuben el genub Android Expert
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    Ditto for TMO. I usually buy unlocked phones from Amazon. Some have been European and TMO accepted them. Plus if you buy the Nexus (I bought a used one - updated to ICS) you don't get half the carrier crap.
     
  7. chanchan05

    chanchan05 The Doctor
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    I agree, it depends on the network as to how it handles its contracts. Here, the network does not offer a difference in price between a SIM only contract and one with a phone subsidy, but you do get a free phone every 2 years based on your contract value, so it sort of offsets that fact.

    Although, as stated above, US phone companies tend to add crapware to their phones, as well as being a cause for delay of receiving updates. I'd suggest get an unlocked one.
     
  8. !on

    !on Android Expert
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    It's debatable that electronics are worth the selling price compared to mass production cost. A pre pay phone is part subsidized by the network because it is locked & has all the garish carrier colours all over it. You may miss out on some contract benefits like line 2 or call divert or whatever, but the hardware is exactly the same. People who buy sim-free handset are in fact subsidizing pre-pay handsets. So pre-pay are paying less, sim-free are paying more.

    But I would choose sim-free then pop in a pre-pay sim just for freedom & convenience.
     

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