subsidized

How can I unlock my cellphone?

Motorola Moto G

Episode 1212

Peter from Detroit, MI

Peter wants to know how he can unlock his phone and use it with another carrier. Leo says that according to the Library of Congress, you could legally unlock your phone and swap carriers. Carriers are starting to unlock phones if you've been a member in good standing and your contract is up. But they also will unlock it if you're traveling out of the country. This is largely due to the subsidizing of your phone by your carrier, which is why you pay so little for it.

Should I buy my next phone before moving to Italy?

Episode 1198

Michael from Sacramento, CA

Michael is retiring to Italy. Leo says that's exciting! He has a Samsung Galaxy Note III. Will it work in Europe? Leo says probably, but he'll have to have it unlocked. If he wants to get a new one, should he get it where he is now in the US or in Italy? Leo says that if he buys it here, again, he'll need to unlock it. He'd also have to buy it outright, and not subsidized through a carrier. The key is to be sure it has all the frequencies he needs. But he should get ready for some sticker shock because there is no subsidizing in Europe, plus there's VAT taxes, exchange rates, etc.

How is the Blu Vivo Android Phone?

Blu Vivo

Episode 1121

Andrew from Eerie, PA

Andrew has heard that while bengate is grabbing headlines, the HTC One M8 bends even easier than the iPhone 6. Leo says that's because both are made out of metal. It's ironic because plastic phones don't bend at much, but when they do, they can break easily. That's why most Android phones use metal trim and plastic backs. And the antenna can get better reception that way as well.

Should I buy my iPhone subsidized or at full price?

iPhone 6 and 6 Plus

Episode 1120

Ed from Charlotte, NC

Ed can upgrade to the new iPhone and wonders if it's worth it to extend his contract or just buy it unsubsidized. Leo says that buying an iPhone outright can cost up to $1000. That's why most users buy subsidized, which is essentially paying for the phone over time with a two year contract. All the carriers have special plans now so he can get a new phone every year. But in the long run, he's actually spending more. If he isn't eligible for an upgrade, then he's going to pay the full price anyway.