Why chain yourself when you can be free? Nowadays, when you go to buy a phone, you’ll be faced with the decision whether to purchase from a store, or get a locked phone from a carrier. I know, I know, the deals you sometimes get from carriers are just crazy, but there are other things to consider.

I know that we don’t like to pay upfront, and we also like things a bit cheaper. If that’s the case, you’ll be attracted by the promotional offers of the phone carriers. Most people are drawn to those, and in some cases, they eventually pay more for their phones.

The thing you need to consider is that when you buy a phone from carriers, you get it locked, whereas you always buy an unlocked phone from official stores. Let’s explain the difference:

What Is the Meaning of Locked and Unlocked Phones?

Basically, an unlocked phone can work on any phone carriers. When you buy your phone from a store, you get to choose what carrier to use, whether AT&T, Sprint or Verizon. However, when you pick an offer from a carrier, your phone will be locked through a software developed by your service provider.

The software will be unlocked once you have met the terms of your agreement with the company. And, until then, you can’t use a SIM card from another carrier.

Which Is Cheaper? Store Bought Devices or From Phone Carriers?

Honestly, it costs the same. Once you punch the numbers, you usually don’t get a difference that is worth mentioning. However, if you have bad credit history, things might go wrong. You see, when the carrier finances your payments, you might get different calculations if you’re showing bad history.

In addition to that, you need to remember that you’ll be tied to a data plan by the carrier, which you need to fulfill. If your data plan doesn’t seem reasonable, try to pick another carrier, or go with the store and save yourself the hassle!

What Kind of Phone Models Are Offered by Carriers?

Not all. Some companies like Huawei and Moto don’t prefer to sell their phones through carriers. They use their official websites and established retailers like Amazon. Google’s Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL fall under the same category; but you can get them from Verizon.

There’s no real advantage in buying your phone from a carrier. Financing your purchases is not always a good idea. You can always pay upfront and choose the best data deal that suits you in any carrier you like.

Have you bought a phone from a carrier before? Were you satisfied with the experience and the deal? Tell us all about it in the comments section below. We’d love to hear from you!