How to Buy a Used Unlocked Cell Phone
There are many benefits to buying a used, unlocked cell phone; including not having to necessarily commit to a new contractual agreement with your wireless service provider, and not potentially having to pay a higher price for a new, unused cell phone. You can either buy a used, unlocked cell phone in person from a private seller or retail store, which gives you the opportunity to test and inspect the phone, or you can buy a cell phone from the Internet. Although buying a phone online may provide you with a higher number of selections, you will not have the opportunity to physically inspect the phone. When buying a used, unlocked cell phone, you will also need to ensure that the cell phone is compatible with the network of your current service provider.
Method One of Three:
General Guidelines Edit
Determine your network type. You will need to buy an unlocked cell phone that is compatible with your current wireless carrier. Cell phones will either reside on a Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) or Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) network.
- Buy a GSM cell phone if the phones for your carrier require the use of a Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) card. Examples of service providers on GSM networks are T-Mobile and ATT.
- Buy a CDMA cell phone if you use a carrier that does not require the use of SIM card and requires activation using an Electronic Serial Number (ESN). Verizon and Sprint are examples of service providers on CDMA networks.
Determine the network frequency bands needed. Some cell phones may not work internationally, or may only function in certain regions of the world.
- Choose a phone with the frequency bands of 1900 and 850 if you plan on using the phone primarily in North America.
- Select a phone with the 1800 and 900 frequency bands if you plan on using the phone in Europe and other regions outside of North America.
Decide on a website from which to buy the phone. You can buy a used, unlocked cell phone from a variety of online retail stores or buy from an auction website, such as eBay.
- Perform an Internet search using keywords such as “used unlocked cell phone,” then browse unlocked phones on the retail websites that appear in the search results.
Buy from websites with warranties and return policies. Because you will not have the opportunity to inspect or test the phone in person, you may receive a phone that does not function properly.
- Read and review the buying policies on every website to determine the procedure for returning or exchanging a phone in the event it doesn’t function properly.
- Before you buy a phone from eBay, review the seller’s feedback ratings and comments to help you determine if the seller has a positive eBay reputation and if their other buyers have had positive experiences.
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