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This contrasts with a locked phone, which is bound to a specific cell phone service provider (or carrier) network with software settings, and is typically offered with a contract when someone starts mobile service.
One advantage to buying an unlocked cell phone is the ability to buy almost any GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) phone, rather than being restricted to a limited selection offered by a specific carrier.
Additionally, the ability to use an unlocked cell phone with a variety of SIM cards can be convenient for travelers.Most carriers on the CDMA network do not, as of 2012, use card-enabled phones; instead, subscriber information is stored in the cell phone's memory, which means it cannot be transferred to another phone.The CDMA equivalent of the SIM card — the R-UIM — is used in some parts of Asia, but it's not likely to spread more widely.Most often used in reference to Apple's i Phone®, when a phone is jailbroken, it has been modified to allow it to download applications (apps) not approved or sold by the carrier, such as the Apple App Store.A phone that has been jailbroken is not unlocked, although it may be necessary to jailbreak a phone before unlocking it is possible.
Another issue with unlocked cell phones is that they may not work on all GSM bands; as of 2012, a quadband phone could operate anywhere in the world with a GSM network, but other phones could not.