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Old 01-29-2013, 10:19 PM   #1
LisaR
 
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I don't understand cell phones: unlocked, no contract, etc

My brain can never seem to comprehend this subject whenever someone in my family needs a new phone.

We have AT&T Sim cards in our phones. We do not have a contract.

Can I buy ANY unlocked phone and put my AT&T Sim in it and have it work?

I'm guessing the answer to that is no since the phones I am looking at say things like, "No contract, unlocked" but then they say T-mobile some other carrier.

We used to have contract Verizon phones years ago and I got rid of those because I was always told they were the one carrier that was never interchangeable. Now we have these AT&T go-phones and I believe I am still committed to only buying something that is specifically meant for AT&T, right?
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Old 01-29-2013, 10:22 PM   #2
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Yes you can. I didn't buy my phone through Tmobile but I put my sim card in there and it works. I could buy an unlocked iphone and put my sim card in there and it would work on the Tmobile network. I am no contract also.
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Old 01-29-2013, 10:23 PM   #3
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Clarifying that you would still be on the AT&T network but you can use any unlocked phone.
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"When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.' To this day, especially in times of disaster, I remember my mother’s words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers–so many caring people in this world." - Fred Rogers
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Old 01-29-2013, 11:27 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LisaR View Post
My brain can never seem to comprehend this subject whenever someone in my family needs a new phone.

We have AT&T Sim cards in our phones. We do not have a contract.

Can I buy ANY unlocked phone and put my AT&T Sim in it and have it work?

I'm guessing the answer to that is no since the phones I am looking at say things like, "No contract, unlocked" but then they say T-mobile some other carrier.

We used to have contract Verizon phones years ago and I got rid of those because I was always told they were the one carrier that was never interchangeable. Now we have these AT&T go-phones and I believe I am still committed to only buying something that is specifically meant for AT&T, right?
Any unlocked "GSM" capable phones will work with an AT&T Sim. You also have to make sure the frequencies are correct as well.

As for Verizon phones, they are interchangeable, you just have to pick the right carriers... ie PagePlus(basically Verizon network but prepaid).

at&t go phones, if unlocked can move to any GSM networks such as Tmobile, straight talk, cricket, etc.
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Old 01-30-2013, 05:57 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LisaR View Post
My brain can never seem to comprehend this subject whenever someone in my family needs a new phone.

We have AT&T Sim cards in our phones. We do not have a contract.

Can I buy ANY unlocked phone and put my AT&T Sim in it and have it work?

I'm guessing the answer to that is no since the phones I am looking at say things like, "No contract, unlocked" but then they say T-mobile some other carrier.

We used to have contract Verizon phones years ago and I got rid of those because I was always told they were the one carrier that was never interchangeable. Now we have these AT&T go-phones and I believe I am still committed to only buying something that is specifically meant for AT&T, right?
Depends on the phone and what your SIM card is. If you have an old style SIM card and you want to buy the brand new fancy phone that needs a upgraded SIM card, that will not work.

Example....I was using all an OLD iphone without data plan with my SIM card. It was my dad's phone.

I wanted to upgrade phones and went with the new Samsung Galaxy 3, well in order to use that phone you had to have a brand new sim card with it because it is an "upgraded" SIM card and my old SIM card would not work. I still have the old SIM card. In case I lose my phone, I can go back to the old SIM card.

All you need to do is figure out WHICH PHONE your SIM card will work in. Got it?
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Old 01-30-2013, 06:42 AM   #6
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Didn't they just make it illegal to unlock phones??? When reading the news the other day I saw the headline about it, but never did get back to read the article.
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Old 01-30-2013, 06:48 AM   #7
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I had to look that up.

No, it is not illegal to have an unlocked phone, but it is now illegal to do it without your carriers' knowledge.

http://gizmodo.com/5979879/is-unlock...really-illegal

However, I can't possibly see how this will be enforced.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Acklander View Post
Didn't they just make it illegal to unlock phones??? When reading the news the other day I saw the headline about it, but never did get back to read the article.
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Old 01-30-2013, 06:48 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Acklander View Post
Didn't they just make it illegal to unlock phones??? When reading the news the other day I saw the headline about it, but never did get back to read the article.
I cannot remember the jargon for the new laws or rules or whatever they are. I think they are making stores register phones in some way so they can track stolen phones???? Maybe someone else can jump in???

I don't see how you can stop people from unlocking a phone really. Just like people don't hack and download illegal music, right?
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Old 01-30-2013, 06:51 AM   #9
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I am not clear on what you want to do. Do you want to continue to use ATT GoPhone as your carrier? If so, you don't need unlocked phones, you can stay with any ATT based phone.

If you wish to leave GoPhone, you will need an unlocked phone if you go with a carrier that uses ATT or Tmobile towers.

Who are you thinking of going with? That might help in recommending.

Dawn
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Old 01-30-2013, 08:20 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DawnM View Post
I am not clear on what you want to do. Do you want to continue to use ATT GoPhone as your carrier? If so, you don't need unlocked phones, you can stay with any ATT based phone.

If you wish to leave GoPhone, you will need an unlocked phone if you go with a carrier that uses ATT or Tmobile towers.

Who are you thinking of going with? That might help in recommending.

Dawn
I want to stay with AT&T. My current Go-Phone smartphone went for a swim, and after a week of sitting in rice, it turns on but there is water floating in the screen and the screen is frozen. I didn't love that phone anyway so I want a new one.

The problem is, I don't like any of the Go-Phones that AT&T currently offers. I want to buy a phone off Ebay that is an unlocked, no-contract phone and stick my AT&T Sim card in that phone. The problem is, the description always has something about T-Mobile or some other company in it.

Here is an example:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/New-HTC-myTo...item1e76d5b240

Since it is an unlocked phone, would it work with my AT&T Sim card? It says "T-Mobile requires a data plan to use this phone." Based on that, I assume it won't work for me??
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Old 01-30-2013, 08:24 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DawnM View Post
I had to look that up.

No, it is not illegal to have an unlocked phone, but it is now illegal to do it without your carriers' knowledge.

http://gizmodo.com/5979879/is-unlock...really-illegal

However, I can't possibly see how this will be enforced.
I don't think it is ever enforced...
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Old 01-30-2013, 08:57 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by wiigirl View Post
I don't think it is ever enforced...
I think it's just going into effect so it hasn't had a chance to be enforced or not enforced yet
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Old 01-30-2013, 08:57 AM   #13
clarkshel
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LisaR

I want to stay with AT&T. My current Go-Phone smartphone went for a swim, and after a week of sitting in rice, it turns on but there is water floating in the screen and the screen is frozen. I didn't love that phone anyway so I want a new one.

The problem is, I don't like any of the Go-Phones that AT&T currently offers. I want to buy a phone off Ebay that is an unlocked, no-contract phone and stick my AT&T Sim card in that phone. The problem is, the description always has something about T-Mobile or some other company in it.

Here is an example:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/New-HTC-myTo...item1e76d5b240

Since it is an unlocked phone, would it work with my AT&T Sim card? It says "T-Mobile requires a data plan to use this phone." Based on that, I assume it won't work for me??
The best thing to do is to google if the particular phone you are looking at will work on AT&T network. I think TMobile would only give you 2G/Edge service with AT&T phones. So if you have a 3G phone that works on TMobile, then it won't work in AT&T. You have to check the frequencies of the phone to see if they will work on AT&T. If you don't want to google the answer, then call AT&T and ask them.
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Old 01-30-2013, 10:23 AM   #14
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No, you do not need to have a data plan.

The listing states:

IT IS REQUIRED by T-Mobile that you have a Data Plan for this phone in order to activate and use services such as Multimedia Text Messaging (Picture/Video). T-Mobile charges a monthly fee to utilize this feature. Please check with T-Mobile for more details.

This simply means that if you wish to have the extra features of this phone, you will need a data plan. If you don't wish to use these features, you are good.

I am not positive, but I think you only need an unlocked phone if it is not an ATT phone, and you may not even need that. You could probably call ATT and ask. If you purchase an ATT based phone you DO NOT need to unlock it.

Dawn


Quote:
Originally Posted by LisaR View Post
I want to stay with AT&T. My current Go-Phone smartphone went for a swim, and after a week of sitting in rice, it turns on but there is water floating in the screen and the screen is frozen. I didn't love that phone anyway so I want a new one.

The problem is, I don't like any of the Go-Phones that AT&T currently offers. I want to buy a phone off Ebay that is an unlocked, no-contract phone and stick my AT&T Sim card in that phone. The problem is, the description always has something about T-Mobile or some other company in it.

Here is an example:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/New-HTC-myTo...item1e76d5b240

Since it is an unlocked phone, would it work with my AT&T Sim card? It says "T-Mobile requires a data plan to use this phone." Based on that, I assume it won't work for me??
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Old 01-30-2013, 12:29 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DawnM View Post
No, you do not need to have a data plan.

The listing states:

IT IS REQUIRED by T-Mobile that you have a Data Plan for this phone in order to activate and use services such as Multimedia Text Messaging (Picture/Video). T-Mobile charges a monthly fee to utilize this feature. Please check with T-Mobile for more details.

This simply means that if you wish to have the extra features of this phone, you will need a data plan. If you don't wish to use these features, you are good.

I am not positive, but I think you only need an unlocked phone if it is not an ATT phone, and you may not even need that. You could probably call ATT and ask. If you purchase an ATT based phone you DO NOT need to unlock it.

Dawn
Thanks! I blew over the whole part about the data. That makes sense now.
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