Unlocked Smartphones: Policies By Network, How To Unlock & Where To Buy

Everything you need to know about mobile unlocking. Find out which networks lock their phones, how to unlock your handset and where to buy a new unlocked smartphone.

LockedIn the UK, some mobile networks will lock your smartphone to their network so you won’t be able to use the handset on a different network. The process of removing these restrictions is known as ‘mobile unlocking’. Following a successful unlock, network restrictions will be removed and you’ll be able to use your mobile phone on any compatible mobile network.

In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about mobile phone unlocking. We’ll start from the benefits of unlocking your handset and how it allows you to get cheaper deals both in the UK and abroad. We’ll then look at the handset locking policy on each UK network before discussing how you can unlock an existing smartphone. Finally, we’ll discuss how to buy a new unlocked smartphone from retailers in the UK.

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Smarty Review: SIM-Only Plans With Unused Data Discount & Three Coverage

Smarty is a SIM-only mobile network offering one-month plans and a discount on unused data.

In the UK, Smarty is a SIM-only mobile network, owned and operated by Three as their low-cost sub-brand.

Promising “simple, honest mobile”, Smarty only offers a one-month rolling plan. Customers will pay £5/month for unlimited calls and unlimited texts, and then £1.25 per GB for mobile data usage. The plan is offered in three default packages (2GB for £7.50, 4GB for £10 and 8GB for £15) with customers receiving a discount for any data they don’t use. After discounts, the overall price you pay only depends on your data usage and is the same regardless of whichever package you choose.

At the moment, Smarty is a no-frills service so customers won’t be able to make international or premium-rate phone calls. Smarty also doesn’t yet offer international roaming, so you won’t be able to use your phone abroad when travelling to other countries.

In this article, we’ll review the Smarty mobile network, starting from their SIM-only plans and unused data discounts. We’ll then compare Smarty to rival mobile networks before looking at coverage and how you can keep your existing mobile number when moving to the network.

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Handset Financing Options: Alternatives To The 24-Month Contract

There has recently been lots of innovation in the handset financing space, giving us newer and more flexible alternatives to the 24-month contract.

Over the past decade, smartphones have become increasingly advanced but at the same time, they’ve also grown massively in price. Back in 2007, the original iPhone cost £269 whereas today, you’ll pay £999 for the latest iPhone X unlocked and off-contract. With almost a four times increase in cost over just a decade, it means handset financing is now more important than ever before.

Historically, the most popular form of handset financing has been the 24-month contract. For something like the iPhone X, you might take a 24-month contract paying something like £60 per month. This gives you an allowance of minutes, texts and data to use every month and you’ll get a handset with reduced or no upfront cost. The cost of your handset is rolled in to the monthly fee, often with very little transparency and limited flexibility. Mobile phone contracts also typically have hidden APRs that are hard to work out.

In this article, we’ll explore alternative handset financing options that can save you money and give you greater flexibility than you’d get on a 24-month contract.

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Capped Contracts: Better Spend Control on Pay Monthly Mobile Contracts

A capped contract for your mobile phone gives you greater control over spending and out-of-allowance charges.

Typically, one disadvantage of choosing a Pay Monthly contract over a Pay As You Go deal is you’re automatically liable for all additional charges incurred on your contract. For instance, additional charges might be incurred when you use go over your allowances or when you call special-rate or international numbers. Additional charges may also be incurred when you travel abroad outside the EU.

For customers wanting greater certainty over their phone bill or for customers taking out a contract for their children, it’s often a good idea to choose a “capped mobile contract”. This limits the possibility of you incurring unexpected charges. It also bring an end to the possibility of “bill shock” by making it impossible for you to run up a huge bill by surprise.

In this article, we’ll review mobile phone contracts in the UK that have a built-in spend cap capability for you to limit out-of-allowance charges.

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iD Mobile Review: The Low Cost Network From The Carphone Warehouse

iD Mobile is the low-cost 4G network from the Carphone Warehouse. Offering coverage from Three, the network has data rollover and monthly spend caps.

In the UK, iD Mobile is the own-brand mobile network from the Carphone Warehouse. Offering SIM Only, Pay Monthly and Pay As You Go deals, the network offers 3G and 4G coverage from Three.

Key features of iD Mobile include data rollover and monthly spend caps. Customers also get international roaming at no extra charge in 50 destinations including 46 European destinations and 4 Eurasian destinations.

In this article, we’ll review the iD Mobile service. We’ll start by looking at the price plans available on iD Mobile and at key features like data rollover and monthly spend caps. We’ll then compare iD Mobile to rival mobile networks before looking at the level of coverage you can expect and how to keep your existing phone number.

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International Calling Bundles: Get International Minutes On Contract & Pay As You Go

If you regularly make international phone calls, getting an international calling bundle can save you substantial amounts of money.

In the UK, the vast majority of SIM-only contracts and Pay As You Go bundles only include an allowance of UK minutes, texts and mobile internet. For anyone who regularly calls abroad from their mobile phone, this often isn’t ideal as you’re left paying hugely expensive per-minute rates for international calling.

For instance, if your mobile networks charges 5p/minute for you to call abroad to other countries, using just 200 minutes would add £10/month to your phone bill. Getting an international bundle can therefore save you a lot of money, with up to 500 international minutes available on a bundle from £10/month.

In this article, we’ll review international calling bundles including those that work as a standalone product as those that work as an add-on. We’ll also compare the best value bundles for calling six specific countries: China, India, Italy, Poland, Romania and Spain.

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Best Place To Buy A Moto G5, Moto G5S & Moto G5S Plus: UK’s Cheapest Deals

The fifth-generation Moto G5 is available to buy from £129 unlocked. We compare the UK’s cheapest deals for the Moto G5, Moto G5S and Moto G5S Plus.

If you’re looking for an affordable mid-range smartphone, my current recommendation is to buy a handset from the Moto G family. With a solid design and fantastic specifications, the Moto G handsets are priced at just a fraction of the cost of an iPhone 8 or Galaxy S8.

There are four handsets to choose from in the latest generation of the Moto G family. They are the Moto G5, Moto G5S, Moto G5S Plus and Moto G5 Plus. Constructed from high-grade aluminium, the handsets have a premium design along with full-HD displays and a 64-bit octa-core processor.

On the top-of-the-range device, the Moto G5S Plus, you’ll also get dual-camera technology with two 13-megapixel sensors, a larger 5.5-inch display and a powerful Snapdragon 617 processor.

In this article, we’ll look at the best value deals for buying a Moto G smartphone in the UK. We’ll start by looking at the best deals for an unlocked Moto G5, Moto G5S and Moto G5S Plus. We’ll then go on to compare the best value deals on Pay As You Go and on a Pay Monthly contract.

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Cheapest Pay As You Go Bundles: Best Prepaid Plans For Your Mobile

With a Pay As You Go bundle, you convert your credit into a one-month allowance of calls, texts and mobile internet. We compare the UK’s best value Pay As You Go bundles.

In the UK, we’re spoilt for choice when it comes to Pay As You Go deals. With more than 80 Pay As You Go bundles across 12 different mobile networks, the strongest prepaid deals can now rival those found on a Pay Monthly contract.

To get the best value from your Pay As You Go tariff, you’ll normally need to convert your credit into a 30-day bundle.

Buying a bundle is a little bit like paying for your airtime in bulk. Rather than paying on a per-minute, per-text and per-megabyte basis, you just buy a 30-day bundle to cover all of your usage. If you’re a regular mobile user, this should save you money compared to traditional Pay As You Go. You’ll also keep full control over how much you spend, with no need to sign any contracts or to undergo a credit check.

In the UK, there’s a wide range of Pay As You Go bundles available to choose from. In this article, we’ll compare the best value Pay As You Go bundles currently available on the market.

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Unlimited Data Plans For Your Mobile Phone: Always-On, All-You-Can-Eat & More

In the UK, it’s possible to get an all-purpose unlimited data plan from £20/month. Find out how unlimited data plans compare across mobile networks.

Over the past few years, unlimited data plans have become rarer in the UK as mobile networks move towards charging for gigabytes and charging for the use of specific services. Thankfully, it’s still possible to get unlimited data on your smartphone from just £20/month if you’d like a worry-free smartphone experience.

In this article, we’ll compare unlimited data offerings across the UK mobile market. We’ve split these out into two distinct groups:

  1. All-purpose unlimited data plans: Use your unlimited data allowance on any app, service or website. This gives you much more flexibility as you’re not tied to a certain service in order to use your unlimited data allowance.
  2. Unlimited data plans for selected apps: Get an unlimited data allowance for use with selected apps or services. Typically, you’ll need to restrict your unlimited data usage to a whitelist of services chosen by your mobile network.

Of course, an all-purpose unlimited data plan gives you much more flexibility so this will normally be our recommended option where appropriate. However, it’s now becoming increasingly difficult to find these on the market with many mobile networks promoting the more restrictive plans for use on selected applications.

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Using Your Mobile Phone Abroad: Everything You Need To Know

Discover how much it’ll cost to use your mobile phone abroad and various ways to save money on international roaming.

Every year, millions of us travel abroad and when we do so, we often want to use our mobile phones to stay connected and to find our way around.

In this article, we’ll explain how much it’ll cost to use your smartphone abroad. We’ll discuss the charges both inside and outside Europe and how you can sometimes save money with international roaming offers. We’ll also discuss data roaming and how you can enable it on your phone along with handset compatibility and international coverage.

We’ll also share some useful tips for getting the most out of your phone when abroad: from using wi-fi to save money to downloading maps so they’re available offline.

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