Of the some 300 million wireless subscribers in the U.S., around 40 million travel internationally each year, according to the CTIA Wireless Association. So, what does that mean for wireless use? Prior to leaving the country and traveling abroad, it’s important to check with your service provider to see if you need to make changes to your device or your plan (and make sure you take your carrier’s international customer service number with you when you leave).
Most often, your phone won’t work in a different country unless you have your provider install a different SIM card. Your device may not even be compatible with the country’s network. But if you use unlocked cell phones, you’re SIM card is more likely to work out of the U.S. Not only that, unlocked cell phones enable you to use your phone with various carriers, not just one.
This is useful even for people who don’t travel internationally. U.S. carriers’ practice of locking the phones they issue to customers – this means that they tweak the software so that the devices won’t work with competitors — makes sense for them, but it doesn’t necessarily make sense for consumers. For some people, it’s worth not straying to another carrier or being unable to use their phone abroad without swapping SIM cards, but for others, it simply is not. For example, what if you find another carrier with a monthly plan so well-suited to you in service and price that it’s worth breaking your contract and using an unlocked cell phone? In that case, you can find a third party such as Cellular Trendz and get a phone that not only uses cutting edge technology but is also much more versatile. And, if you want a device that doesn’t tie you indefinitely to a specific carrier and is also inexpensive considering the features it makes available, try used cell phones. With the major manufacturers engaged in an ever-intensifying competition over the burgeoning cell phone market, the high-paced rate at which new gadgets are being made means consumers have access to a wide selection of lightly used devices.