If you’re like most technology buyers, you’re accustomed to purchasing locked smartphones — that is, phones that are restricted to the network of the specific mobile carrier from whom you purchased them. In the U.S., enterprises and consumers have purchased phones this way because carriers typically subsidized the cost of the phone in return for a contract commitment.
But the U.S. market is adopting the global approach and subsidies are disappearing. In fact, you may not realize you are paying full price for your phone because of the way it is reported on your monthly bill. That’s why it’s worth considering buying unlocked smartphones directly, instead of through a carrier.
The Benefits of Unlocked Phones
There are plenty of advantages to purchasing unlocked phones. They include:
- Greater flexibility in choosing a carrier and plan: Intense competition in the mobile market is driving carriers to constantly change their plan offerings. Having unlocked phones gives you more freedom to choose the plan that best meets your needs and easily change carriers.
- Easily swappable SIM cards: If you’ve ever handed over your phone at a carrier’s store, you know that the SIM card is the carrier’s point of control over the phone. Enterprises that buy their own phones also get control over their SIM cards, so they can be switched and upgraded at will. Plus, global travelers can stay connected in multiple countries with a simple SIM swap.
- The plan-free Wi-Fi option: Many businesses, think warehouses, distributors, retailers and healthcare providers, can obtain tremendous business value from smartphones by using them to replace other communication devices such as barcode scanners, two-way radios and mobile endpoints. But they don’t need a carrier plan for these uses, simply onsite Wi-Fi. Unlocked phones are an obvious fit here when you want a device smaller than a tablet.
- A cleaner slate: Carriers typically preload a variety of apps on their phones. This practice can be helpful to tech-averse consumers, but it creates bloat for businesses that have to waste time deleting pre-installed apps from the phone. A blank, unlocked smartphone is a much smarter option.
In reality, smartphones are becoming more like computers and tablets. They’re important IT assets that should belong to the business, without the constraint of a carrier relationship.
Sourcing Unlocked Phones
If your company decides to go with unlocked phones, you’ll want the same convenience of procurement as you experienced with carriers when you purchased their locked phones.
It’s a good idea to procure unlocked phones from a partner who can provide:
- Complete turnkey configuration and enrollment services, so devices are ready to use out of the box
- A full choice of devices from the leading manufacturers
- Authorized activation and phone setup for major carriers
- Flexible financing options such as a traditional purchase, lease or through a monthly subscription
The right smartphone procurement partner will do more than just match carrier convenience while allowing you to reap the benefits of unlocked devices. Ideally, the right partner will add even greater value by helping you formulate a smart mobility strategy, develop compelling mobile apps and effectively secure your mobile environment.
If your organization is still procuring and deploying smartphones the same way it did years ago, you may be time to rethink your approach.