There’s been a noticeable shift in recent years away from regular phone upgrades. Customers are becoming more savvy, and with smartphones no longer taking such big “leaps” in technology, many are looking for ways to prolong the life of their existing phone instead of upgrading. In the post-COVID landscape it’s even more likely that people will tighten their belts and fancy new mobiles will not be top of the purchase list in 2021.
In recent months we’ve seen the major high street brands struggle with this shift in behaviour. Carphone Warehouse has seen their fortunes change, with major suppliers pulling out, A more saturated market and longer refresh cycles are lowering contract renewal rates, making SIM-only tariffs and SIM-free handsets more popular, squeezing their margins. Not a good time for the giants.
This has led to a large number of store closures as the market quickly moves away from the lengthy contracts of old. People want choice. People want to switch. They want the freedom to trade in their phone, to buy another one outright and to hop between networks without problems. This mimics consumer behaviour elsewhere, where consumers want freedom and flexibility, opposed to being tied into lengthy agreements.
Network switching has indeed become easier lately – a simple text message will swap you across, however there can still be the problem of locked phones to slow you down. This is where the phone you have is “stuck” on one network and you can’t put any other SIM card in. As an example, if you’re on O2 and you want to switch away, you could find that your O2-supplied phone refuses to accept the shiny new SIM card from your new provider.
Luckily there is a relatively simple fix, and all you need is the IMEI number of your phone. To get that, just dial *#06# on the keypad and put the resulting number into a site to unlock it. I did this recently to unlock o2 iPhone handsets but it’ll work with any phone, no matter the make or model. If you use a trustworthy site like DirectUnlocks, you’ll find a tracking system to see how your order is progressing, with iPhone unlocks happening in 24 hours whilst others are even quicker.
Once done, you just need to pop your new SIM card in. iPhone handsets are unlocked over-the-air whilst other phones (like Samsung handsets and other Android phones) will prompt for an unlock code. This will have been emailed and texted to you, so just pop it in and you can begin to enjoy your new network.
Moving to a different network has a range of benefits. First, if you’re outside of your phone contract then it’s absolutely in your interests to reduce your monthly costs – otherwise you’re still paying for the “phone” portion of your contract even when it’s paid off. Secondly, you can shop and hop around – moving from one network to another and ensuring that you get the best deal and the best signal available to you.
Additionally unlocking is great for anybody who plans to travel, whether it’s once a year or frequently for either business or pleasure. Travelling with a locked device can be expensive and frustrating, networks have high roaming charges that can leave you with an absolute nightmare when you return and are faced with a bill that can be more than triple your regular amount. When you unlock your device things get a lot more simple, wherever you’re travelling you just need to find a local store and purchase a SIM card from a local provider. This means you avoid roaming charges and continue using your phone as if you were at home.