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Another issue with unlocked cell phones is that they may not work on all GSM bands; as of 2012, a quadband phone could operate anywhere in the world with a GSM network, but other phones could not.This may be a concern for international travelers especially, since not all bands are used in all countries.In addition to less expensive calling rates, this provides the added benefit of having a local number while in the area.Not all unlocked phones have all the same features as their locked counterparts even when the provider is the same.This contrasts with a locked phone, which is bound to a specific cell phone service provider (or carrier) network with software settings, and is typically offered with a contract when someone starts mobile service.
People also don't need to wait for a contract to expire to buy a new phone; they can remove the SIM (Subscriber Identification Module) card from an existing phone and insert it into a new one when they are ready for a replacement.
Unlocked cell phones are mobile phones that can be used on any GSM network with interchangeable SIM cards.
No matter which carrier makes the card, the phone will be able to recognize it and send voice and data over the network.
The majority of the world — 99% — uses the GSM network, and numerous carriers use it for their services.
The competing network is CDMA, or code division multiple access.One way to get a phone without proprietary settings is to buy it new from a third party vendor in its original, unlocked state.