Are you getting tired of paying nearly $1,000 every year or two just for a new smartphone with a couple of minor improvements? You're not alone. More people each year are turning to the thriving used cell phone market to meet their device needs.
There are tons of advantages to buying a refurbished or used CDMA phone. I'm going to share those with you as well as info on how to find a cheap cell phone plan.
What Exactly Is an Unlocked CDMA Phone?
You may have heard the terms GSM and CDMA and wonder exactly what they mean. These are the two types of bandwidth used in phone production. There's a simple way to tell which kind your phone is and that is:
While you can technically use either type of phone on any of the four major wireless networks you'll get the best results by using a device that's made for the network you're on. This is because the technologies are only cross-compatible with a 4G signal. If your signal drops to 3G you may lose your connection.
What Does Unlocked Mean?
When you buy a smartphone through your carrier it is locked to that GSM or CDMA network. Carriers do this to keep you from leaving and going to another carrier, particularly if your phone isn't paid off.
An unlocked cell phone is one that can be used with any carrier. If you already own your device outright and it didn't come factory unlocked, don't worry - you can unlock your own phone.
What Makes Unlocked Phones So Special?
Buying a refurbished unlocked cell phone makes sense for several reasons:
- You'll save half off the retail price of new, for a model just a year or two old.
- You're free to take your phone to the carrier of your choice.
- Reputable phone sellers verify that the devices on their sites are unlocked, not stolen, and in working order.
- Most sellers offer a return period and/or warranty for your peace of mind.
When you buy an unlocked cell phone you'll be able to take it to any CDMA or GSM network without worrying that it won't work.
Why You Need an Unlocked Phone for Your Sprint or Verizon Network
As I mentioned earlier you can use most unlocked cell phones on any of the big four networks. But you'll get the best overall service if you choose an unlocked CDMA phone for a Sprint or Verizon carrier.
Unlocked means you can take advantage of a better cell phone plan deals at any time. You're free to leave your carrier and sign up somewhere else. You can unlock your own phone in just a few simple steps!
Where Can You Purchase Unlocked Phones?
Once you've decided that buying a refurbished or used cell phone is the right choice for you, you'll need to know the best place to buy a used phone.
You could jump around from site to site comparing prices, but why waste all that time? We've made it simple for you by reviewing the top five reputable phone sellers and compiling all their best deals in our phone price comparison tool.
You'll find more detailed info within the reviews, such as how to get a great deal on your next smartphone and how the site works, the pros and cons of each site, return info and warranty info.
After you've read the reviews you can compare the best prices on refurbished smartphones using our simple tool.
Do You Want to Save Even More Money?
Your frugality is already going to save you hundreds on your next cell phone. If you want to save even more, it's easy - kick the major carrier habit and switch to an MVNO.
What Are MVNOs?
Mobile Virtual Network Operators - MVNOs - are smaller wireless companies that lease extra capacity on the big guys' networks. They then sell you the same 4G LTE service you know and love, but at a lower rate.
How can MVNOs do this?
- They don't own the equipment so they have no building or maintenance costs.
- They operate online, so they don't have a brick-and-mortar store overhead.
- MVNOs don't do the kind of widespread marketing the big guys do - all of that costs a lot of money.
Advantages of MVNOs:
- You'll save 50% or more over your current cell phone bill.
- You get service on the same reliable 4G LTE networks as the big four carriers use.
- There are no contracts - just prepaid plans.
- You can customize your cell phone plan so you only pay for what you need.
- MVNOs have great customer service ratings and extensive support hours.
- You can bring your own phone (BYOP) and keep your phone number.
- You sign up online by ordering a new SIM card - no need to ever step into a store.
You don't have to worry about plan choices either. MVNOs offer all of the options that the big carriers do, at a much better price, including unlimited data plans. Check out our picks of the best Sprint MVNOs and best Verizon MVNOs in our review guides.
When all is said and done, don't forget to sell your old phone for cash!
You don't need to keep paying outrageous prices just to stay tied to your carrier by device payments. You can save over half off both your cell phone and your service by following these steps:
- Save hundreds on your unlocked CDMA phone by buying refurbished.
- Save even more monthly by switching to a cheaper cell phone plan.
- Sell your old phone and put cash back into your pocket.
Prefer one of the GSM networks instead? Shop GSM unlocked phones and find the best deals from trusted seller sites.