Phone Unlocking and Contracts


What does it mean when your phone is locked?

Most cell phones that you get from your local carrier (like Bell, Telus or Rogers) will be locked to that specific carrier before they are sold to you as a consumers. When a phone is locked, that means it can only be used on that service provider’s network (unless it is unlocked). This makes it more difficult for you to switch service providers and to sell your phone. When selling your phone, the buyer will only be able to use it if they are on the same network as you. If you plan to switch service providers and keep your existing phone(s) you will need to get them unlocked to use them on the new service providers network.

“Free” Phones Are Not Really Free

When you go to upgrade, a sign a new contact or even switch carriers, the service provide will offer you a few different phone options. These options will vary in price, some will be Free and others could be upwards of a few hundred dollars. The TRUE retail of these phones will typically vary from $100 to $500 above the price you are paying, this additional cost is called the device balance. Lets be honest, the cell phone companies are not really going to give anyone a “free” phone without getting you to pay for it someway. So, part of your monthly bill is usually allocated to paying off this subsidy or device balance that is associated with your phone. Most discounted phones (device balances) are repaid over 2 years (hence the 2 yr “contract”). Even though it is often called a contract once that device balance is paid back you are free to upgrade to a new device or switch carriers. We usually will recommend if possible to unlocking your device before you switch carriers.


Reasons to Unlock your Phone

Your Plan Costs Too Much

If you feel your cell phone plan is to expensive or you found a better deal elsewhere unlocking your phone can help save you money. Most carries with have a BYOD (bring your own device) plan which often can save you $10-20/month! This is great when your current phone is still working great for you and you do not need a new phone. When you BYOD not only do you save but you will not have to worry about another device balance (or 2 yr contract)!

Get Some Extra Cash

If you are getting a new phone, having an unlocked phone can provide you with an easier opportunity to sell your old phone to put some more money in your pocket. When you sell your old device and it is locked, you are limited to sell your device only to someone who wants to deal with that provider. With an unlocked device you have opened up the potential buyers to those with almost all Canadian carriers (3-4 times more buyers) which also will allow you to sell it faster for more!


Have you ever left the country and came home to a huge roaming bill from your service provider? With an unlocked phone you are able to pick up a sim card from the Country you are visiting and save tons!
Some mobile phone service providers now have started offering lower cost roaming packages to help save you money as well. We suggest checking out your options at least a week before you travel.

Reduce, Reuse and Recycle

This is something that I remember being taught in school. At Wi West Wireless Repair we strive to extend the life of your mobile devices. We hate to see mobile phones end up in the garbage bin so we do what we can to help keep good phones running and dead phones recycled. If your mobile device is still working well and you don’t care to sell it, think about passing it along to someone else who may be able to use it. Always keep in mind that they may not be with the same service provider and many need to get the phone unlocked. If you have not done this or your provider is not willing to do it for you, we are more than happy to help out with our unlocking services!