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How does the Nexus 4 or other unlocked phones work?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I know I can go to the Play Store and buy one of these (which I'm seriously considering), but if it's not contracted to a carrier does it just magically use random networks? What about data?
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post #2 of 9
It will work on the following bands:
Quote:
NETWORK
Unlocked GSM/UMTS/HSPA+
GSM/EDGE/GPRS (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)
3G (850, 900, 1700, 1900, 2100 MHz)
HSPA+ 42

In the U.S. that means you're good on AT&T and TMobile or smaller networks that run off of their towers. You will get data/voice on these carriers. I'm not sure because I haven't looked into it, but you can probably put it on other carriers and just have the voice working.
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post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
But it's not like you buy the phone and it just works. You still need to buy a card through a carrier.
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post #4 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by darthjoe229 View Post

But it's not like you buy the phone and it just works. You still need to buy a card through a carrier.
When you sign up for a plan from a carrier, they do give you a SIM card, unless you sign with a CDMA carrier (such as Verizon or Sprint). The Nexus 4 is GSM though, so you can't use it on a CDMA carrier anyway.
 
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post #5 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by darthjoe229 View Post

But it's not like you buy the phone and it just works. You still need to buy a card through a carrier.
If you want legit phone service, yes. But there are low-priced alternatives now. Like T-mo prepaid, and straight talk. Since it has wifi you can create a googlevoice account and use something like sipdroid or grooveip to make/receive calls and txt. Straight talk is 45$/mo for unlimited everything.
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post #6 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dopamin3 View Post

It will work on the following bands:
In the U.S. that means you're good on AT&T and TMobile or smaller networks that run off of their towers. You will get data/voice on these carriers. I'm not sure because I haven't looked into it, but you can probably put it on other carriers and just have the voice working.

That ^^^

AT$T and T Mobile will work with it. Just go in one of their stores and they'll give you a SIM card and get everything set up.
    
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post #7 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by darthjoe229 View Post

I know I can go to the Play Store and buy one of these (which I'm seriously considering), but if it's not contracted to a carrier does it just magically use random networks? What about data?

It works as follows. You can either take your phone over to AT&T or T-Mobile and use their service without contracts or you can sign a contract (roaming is really the only reason to sign a contract) and just not have to buy a phone from them.

Or,

You can use one of their MVNO's which use their network (no roaming) and it's cheaper for you. There's a bunch that are $50 a month with unlimited data. There's Straight Talk which is AT&T's network with unlimited minutes, text, and data for $45 a month. All you need to do is pop in their sim card and activate it.
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post #8 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by darthjoe229 View Post

I know I can go to the Play Store and buy one of these (which I'm seriously considering), but if it's not contracted to a carrier does it just magically use random networks? What about data?

This is how a non-contract, unlocked phones works:

It is assumed you already have a activated SIM card through a GSM carrier, such as tmobile, att, or companies that use their networks such as straight talk, simpletalk, etc. If you don't have an activated sim card yet, you can take the phone to one of the companies, set up a plan (either with a contract, no contract, or post-paid type plan [known as pay-as-you-go]) and then pop the sim into your phone.
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post #9 of 9
An unlocked phone is essentially a phone that's not locked into a specific carrier's network.

If you want to use any type of SIM card, the phone must be unlocked.
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