While mobile operators might argue that these policies help protect their investment in building costly infrastructure to offer these services, the reality is that they have these policies, because they can. The more services they can force you to buy, the more revenue they generate. Dear Maggie, I'm a college student, and I'll be studying in Spain this summer. I'm ready for a new smartphone upgrade this month. And I'd like to get the new Samsung Galaxy S4. I was wondering if I will be able to get my new phone unlocked so that when I go to Spain for the summer, I can use a Spanish carrier's SIM card instead of AT&T's international plan. Do you have any advice for me? Also, I want to know if I replace my AT&T SIM with a 4G SIM card from a Spanish carrier if I can still get 4G speeds.
I appreciate your help, Thanks, Henry, Dear Henry, The first thing you should know is that if you buy your new Samsung Galaxy S4 from AT&T and you get it for the subsidized price, you won't be able to get your device unlocked for your trip, If you are under contract with AT&T and you have not paid the full price of your device, AT&T will not supply the unlock code, This policy on device unlocking has changed in recent years, As a longtime AT&T customer myself, I have been able to get devices unlocked to be used overseas while still under contract, But now AT&T's policy impact-absorbing co-molded case for iphone 8 states that this not the case..
So unfortunately for you, if you want to use this phone while you are traveling in Spain, you will have to sign up for AT&T's international roaming plan. The plan offers you a slight discount on voice calls and text messages. And you can buy buckets of data, which also offer a discount as opposed to paying for data by the megabyte. But in general, these international plans are pricey. And since you will be in Spain for the entire summer, you will likely spend more money using one of these international plans than if you used a local SIM card from a Spanish provider.
One way to get around this issue is to buy your Samsung Galaxy S4 at full price, Of course, this isn't ideal since a new Galaxy S4 will cost you about $640 from AT&T, One thing to keep in mind is that if you buy a full-price Galaxy S4 from AT&T, it will still have a lock on it, Even at full price, the device is impact-absorbing co-molded case for iphone 8 made specifically for AT&T, And unless you ask for the unlock code it will be locked when you buy it, This means, you will have to ask AT&T for the unlock code for that device, But since it's paid for, AT&T should provide you with this code without a problem..
You could also try buying an unlocked international version of the phone on eBay or Amazon. But it will likely cost you even more -- $700, $800, or even more. And it may be difficult to get your hands on one since the unlocked international versions of the phone are selling out quickly online. This is the main reason why I think it is ridiculous that carriers are allowed to lock their devices and refuse customers the ability to unlock their phones for use on another carrier's network. This issue of locked phones versus unlocked phones was highlighted earlier this year when the Library of Congress refused to exclude cell phone locks as part of the antipiracy law that protects copyright.