Why I bought my iPhone 5 unlocked

Having had my iPhone 5 for just over a month now, I can say I’m really happy with it. Initially the battery life was horrible (4 hours of usage max before it died) but a recent update to the software thankfully fixed that. Since then I’ve been wholly addicted to all the apps and games I missed over the summer while substituting with an iPhone 3.

Even though I was due for a contract upgrade, which would have allowed me to get the iPhone 5 at its subsidized price of $159 or $259 when I bought it, I chose to buy it unlocked for $850.

Understandably, a few people thought I was crazy. Why pay hundreds of dollars more for something you can get for a lesser price? But I have my reasons, and as promised, here they are! Before we get started, I want to point out that Canadians pay ridiculous amounts for cellphone service. All carriers charge a ton of money for services that can be had for half the price in any other developed country. Actually, Canadians pay the highest cellphone costs in the world.


Awesome. If I lived in any other country, I might not have to be so strategic, but because I hail from the snowy white north, I have to plan around some serious set backs to enjoy this luxury.

Why I bought my iPhone 5 unlocked:

1. I didn’t want to sign another contract. I re-signed a 3 year contract with my cellphone provider when I bought my iPhone 4 two years ago. As you know, someone decided to help themselves to my iPhone last spring. Sadly, when someone steals your cellphone they don’t steal your cellphone contract with it, so I was left using a borrowed iPhone 3 on my original contract. Bummer. Now if I lost my iPhone 5, I won’t be stuck paying the contract for a phone I don’t have, so I can always reduce my services while I use a cheaper phone in the interim.

2. An unlocked phone can be used with any carrier. This means I’m free to move to the USA or Europe, take my phone with me, pop in a local sim card, and continue on my merry way. When a cellphone is locked to a certain carrier, it cannot be used with any other.

3. An unlocked phone can be used pay-as-you-go with any services you choose. Ever sign a cellphone contract with services you didn’t need, like 400 minutes of talk time? I sure did. Who even talks on the phone anymore when you can text?? A cellphone without a contract lets you mix and match the services you want, resulting in a lower bill. Here’s a fun fact: when signing a new cellphone contract, in order to get the subsidized price on the new iPhone, you need to select a cellphone plan that costs at least $50/mo or $60/mo. If you’re paying your cellphone company $50+ per month for a 3 year contract, they’re going to make minimum $1,800 off of you. The $159 pricetag on the iPhone isn’t such a steal now is it?

4. Unlocked phones have a high resale value. Two-year old iPhone 4’s are still selling for $400-$500, and assuming my iPhone 5 is worth the same 2 years from now, it means it will have only cost me half of what I actually paid. iPhones locked to a carrier can still be sold for a good price, but it’s trickier.

So I understand why many people balked at the $850 pricetag on my new iPhone, but I really couldn’t rope myself into another 3 year Canadian cellphone contract at $60/mo.  I want the freedom to take my phone anywhere and use it just for data & texting!