Unlocked Devices - Reducing Costs for traveling users
"Unlocked devices" is a term for devices that our purchased without mobile operator (MO)/carrier incentives. Thus they are usually unbranded devices from the OEM. The main thing is that you can use the device on different MO networks since they are not branded and "locked" into a specific one. Granted the frequencies and MO network technology have to match with what the device can use. Internationally the vast majority of MOs in countries are using GSM networks. In the United States two MOs, AT&T and T-Mobile are GSM based.
Many MOs also grant customers in good standing with the codes necessary to unlock their particular device to be used with different MOs when traveling internationally.
With the many devices now on the market the opportunities to use a GSM quad-band device in multiple countries has finally reached a close to global solution. The last hurdle is the complex nature of MO plans and roaming charges. To further reduce roaming costs in foreign countries a good practice could be to use a pre-paid account within that country or region. Using a GSM device you could easily change out the SIM.
Recent EU regulations on the voice roaming costs within the EU region are also probably pushing the data plan costs in the near future. This could be extremely useful as MOs consolidate/partner across country lines and primary MOs per region could be used instead of per country. Also in the SAARC region in South Asia it appears discussions around lowered roaming charges are also talking place.. I think this all is pointing to the clear trend wireless communications is having on our society in general. A critical necessity that is influencing our political systems.. :-)
This is a recent report by Philippe Winthrop with some good detailed cost information on how unlocked devices could save costs for companies with International requirements: http://www.mobileenterprisemag.com/ME2/dirmod.asp?sid=&nm=&type=MultiPublishing&mod=PublishingTitles&tier=4&id=037F78DBA9EA43DFB11F2DCD66127BCF