Smartphones

Question

Unlocked vs carrier locked phone (AT&T)

By bobrok ·
Tags: Smartphones
I've read a lot about features and benefits of buying an unlocked vs a carrier locked phone, but I've not found anything that quite addresses my concern.

I currently have an S7 and am still locked to AT&T. I am probably looking to stay with Samsung's s20fe or similar but I've also looked at Pixel phones.

I travel and stay in some remote and mountainous areas. One of these areas has exactly one AT&T tower. I have no idea what bands/frequencies/channels they use but my S7 works well when the tower isn't overwhelmed (tourist area/weekends).

My question is this: is an unlocked Samsung or a Google Pixel phone just as capable of receiving 'all' bands, channels, frequencies, etc. as an AT&T locked phone?

I'd go with whichever gave me the better overall deal, but service in this one particular area is a must for me.

Thank you.
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No.

by rproffitt Moderator In reply to Unlocked vs carrier locke ...

It's not that simple to get a phone with all bands since some are discontinued and would make no sense to have them in a new phone. Also, this changes with phone and tower.

https://www.whistleout.com/CellPhones/Guides/cell-phone-networks-and-frequencies-explained calls out what would be a primer on this. Not only that there is a move to ditch 3G altogether so why must your phone have that?

"My question is this: is an unlocked Samsung or a Google Pixel phone just as capable of receiving 'all' bands, channels, frequencies, etc. as an AT&T locked phone?"

Which Pixel and AT&T models are needed so we can peek at the specs to answer this question.

That said, I have carried unlocked phones for over a decade. Currently on T-Mobile and for a time carried an ATT iPhone 5 and 6 at the same time. When my T-Mobile phone could not connect, the ATT would not either and vice versa. The phones were different models too. The drops were all of two places during a trip from the southern part of California to just over the border into Canada. To me this meant I had no complaints about coverage from either carrier.

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Unlocked vs carrier locked phone (AT&T)

by bobrok In reply to No.

Thank you for the reply and for the link. It's helpful.

I think I am narrowing my phone search down to either S10, S10Lite (4500 mAh), or the S20 assuming it will go on sale with the intro of the S21.

I'm giving up on Pixel because I'm reading awful c/s reviews, not to mention some product displeasure; but mostly the fact that I'm more comfortable with Samsung having had both the S5 and S7.

From what I've read so far I don't see much difference between an AT&T locked and an unlocked phone (feel free to correct me please). I think I was mostly thinking of price comparison shopping as well as the radios.

I'm trying to make my reply to you brief, but will answer any other questions.

Bottom line: I'm totally happy with my S7 but the processor is slowing and the the battery is weak and I don't even want to think about battery replacement.

TY

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