Locked Prepaid Wireless Phones

by Michael
(Wheeling, WV)

I don't mind prepaid cellphones, but there is one thing a lot people don't understand. Yes, you are going to pay top dollar for a smartphone. Guess what, I don't care if you paid $7 or $500 for a prepaid smart phone, the phone is locked to the provider, to me it's a waste of money. And the provider will refuse to release the lock code for the phone.

But for prepaid its off the record a little, but well worth it to read. When it comes to prepaid I will only choose one provider verizon wireless. Yes, their fees could be better for prepaid, but guess what, you can go to walmart and pick up a verizon prepaid cellphone from $14 to $100. I then call them up and have them program it manually only for one reason, they will release the lock code for the phone before I put it on a prepaid account. They are super friendly and do not hestitate to give out the lock for the phone. I will be happy to be their customer for awhile because once I am done, I can take the phone with me, and it's not a paperweight because I have the unlock code for it.

One reason that I put this in here is because a lot of sites fail to tell you that all prepaid phones are spc locked to the network.

Comments for Locked Prepaid Wireless Phones

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Sep 27, 2012
Verizon Unlocked iPhone 5 NEW
by: PrepaidWirelessGuy

So I was able to confirm that Verizon's iPhone 5 comes unlocked, and will work on any compatible GSM or CDMA network, either domestically or internationally!

Sep 27, 2012
Unlocking NEW
by: PrepaidWirelessGuy

Thank you for the follow up feedback Michael! It's interesting, for it seems as though Verizon has started taking a different strategic approach towards unlocking. In fact, I understand that they are selling the new iPhone 5 as unlocked, which is very surprising. Perhaps so customers can use it abroad while traveling. I expect that it's only the GSM portion that's unlocked (i.e. you can use international SIM cards), however, locally, you can't use it on other CDMA carriers or use other U.S. GSM SIM cards. That said, I need to validate this.

Interestingly, my experience with Sprint has been different. They provided me with the unlock code to a world phone that I have over chat. I just told them that I would be travelling and they provided the code. Domestically it will only work on Sprint though.

Sep 27, 2012
Prepaid locked phones
by: Michael

There has been a quite few of updates on Verizon Wireless since the past posting I did back in February.

Verizon now has the $50 unlimited plan a month for their basic prepaid phones. But the same concept does apply. The phones are still locked to Verizon, but the codes for these phones can be obtained easily with a call to the Verizon Customer Support Center, (Be sure to ask for the prepaid Department). And still this posting I put on here I still have no trouble getting the spc code for such phones.

Straight talk and other carriers, I would not even ask for unlocking such phones because they refuse to even give such a thing out.

Sprint has the worst coverage as compared to Verizon. Guess what Verizon prepaid wins the battle with prepaid. I would never take Sprint because of very little coverage they have. I don't even know how they manage to stay in business with such lousy coverage they have as compared to Verizon Prepaid coverage. (PLEASE NOTE) This article is only relating to CDMA not GSM).

Feb 28, 2011
unlocking cellphones
by: Michael

I been through some tough prepaid carriers, Tracfone, they are one tough bean to unlock their phones!!!! Verizon Wireless, i don't know what it is with them and locking of their prepaid handsets, but i had not even had one issue getting every one of my 20 verizon prepaid phones unlocked. Yes i know that some disagree with their prepaid daily fee, but to me someday they will offer better rates. But anyway, they are somewhat super friendly to me i been with them a year now on prepaid and they simply release the lock code because i always prefer to program the phone manually and then you don't need to reflash it. something i don't like doing to a phone. and it does not cost me a dime except with adding the prepaid air time. That is Verizon Wireless for you.

Feb 23, 2011
Locked Prepaid Handsets - Part 1
by: PrepaidWirelessGuy

This is interesting. In my experience, prepaid operates very similarly to postpaid in terms of lock/unlock rules. The reason for locking a handset is related to the handset subsidy that a wireless carrier offers. That $50 or even $200 phone could actually cost the carrier $300, $400, $500, or even more depending on the phone. They're able to reduce the price for customers by locking them into a contract (for postpaid), which guarantees that they'll make a certain amount of service revenue to ensure that they make money. i.e. If you were to buy a phone at a subsidized price, and leave after a few months, the carrier would certainly lose money. And in some cases (i.e. higher end phones), it's even possible that it could take a carrier the better part of a year before they start making money.

The difference with prepaid wireless is that prepaid carriers try to charge full price for the phone, which ensures that if you leave after a few months, they won't lose money. HOWEVER, even with prepaid wireless, carriers will often subsidize higher end phones as well. Not as much as is possible on postpaid wireless that has a contract, but enough that if a prepaid customer leaves within six months, they can actually lose money on that customer.

The point being that it's highly unlikely that any carrier will allow you to unlock a phone (without a fee) upon buying a new handset. The only time that I can think of that that would be possible is if you pay full price for the phone. And even then a carrier can lose money if they unlock it immediately. How is that possible? Well, there's a cost to the carrier to have a retailer sell the phone (their commission), marketing costs, distribution costs, etc. So even if you pay full price for a phone, it's not in their best interest to have you never use it on their service/network. It simply wouldn't make good business sense to do so.

Feb 23, 2011
Locked Prepaid Handsets - Part 2
by: PrepaidWirelessGuy

There are currently laws being debated that are fighting for the freedom of customers to use our phones on any compatible network without huge costs to unlock them. However, keep in mind that we'd have to at least pay full price for that phone. Carriers don't typically make a lot, or any money selling handsets; it's selling the service that is their bread and butter. So if these types of laws were to pass, customers would simply end up paying more for handsets upfront; I think most people miss this point. There's a lot of technology in these phones, and yet we want super low prices and the freedom to take them to any carrier at will; it simply doesn't make sense.

In other countries like Europe, phones are often unlocked or easier to unlock. But keep in mind that they pay A LOT more for their phones; many many hundreds of dollars in most cases for this freedom. In North America, we balk at paying $500 for a phone; we think we should get it for free, and yet are unwilling to sign a contract. It's really kind of absurd thinking when you sit down and think about it.

Anyway, there are options. Many carriers allow compatible phones to be flashed to their networks. For example, you can easily take a Verizon or Sprint phone that's no longer on these networks and flash them over to Cricket or MetroPCS.

In the case of Verizon prepaid, their service pricing is so poor, that you'd be better off buying from another carrier, and having the phone be locked to that carrier, than having the freedom to use your Verizon phone elsewhere, but paying a ton for your monthly service. i.e. Consider the total cost of ownership. For most people, by the time we're sick of a carrier or service, and ready to move on, we're ready to buy a new phone anyway. Some food for thought ;-).

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