Larry Magid: Unlocked Phones Offer Consumers Flexibility

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— With the demand for unlocked cell phones on the rise, their prices are on the decline; but there aren’t that many options on the market.

However, Apple announced the unlocked version of the iPhone 5 and Motorola (a Google-owned company) just unveiled their much less expensive unlocked phone, the Moto G, via their website, for under $200.

Unlocked phones had traditionally been expensive, but what’s interesting about the Moto G is that it starts at $179 unlocked. That means when you buy it, you own it. You don’t even have to get a cellular contract if you don’t want to.

Google loaned me the Nexus 5, which was released a few weeks ago for $350. It didn’t come with a SIM card, meaning it wasn’t associated with any carrier and I couldn’t use it. So, I went to AT&T, paid them $60 and bought a one-month pre-paid plan without having to sign a contract. I got a bunch of data with unlimited texts and was able to walk away at the end of the month. In fact, I can take that same phone over to T-Mobile when the pre-paid plan ends and see what kind of deal I can get there.

If I’m traveling overseas, I can just plug in a SIM card. That’s the kind of flexibility you get with having an unlocked phone.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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