Some mobile phones are designed to use a specific Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) card that stores subscriber data. This SIM Card usually contains all the information regarding the services provided to the user and is a unique chip for every user. This is issued by a carrier and provides cell service by activating any phone into which it is inserted. If a phone is working only with a specific carrier, then it is a locked phone.
The basic difference between locked phones and unlocked phones is that a locked phone is restricted to use with one carrier only from which it directly comes. In this case the carrier plays a key role between the device manufacturer and the user. The carrier change the configuration of the phone according to their services. Whereas an unlocked phone comes directly from the manufacturers i. e. Nokia, Samsung, Blackberry, Apple etc. These phone are not bound to use with a specific carries. As per their compatibility unlocked phones can be used with any carrier. While a locked phone can only work with its issuing service provider, an unlocked cell phone can be used with more than one service providers making it easy for user to switch from one network to another.
An unlocked cell phone is a handset that can be used with more than one service provider, making it suitable for a user to switch from one carrier to another. In some countries like the United States carriers offer free or deeply discounted phones with SIM card and specific plans. These phones are commonly locked and can not work with other carriers. After the expiration of contract some carriers might agree to unlock the phone upon request, but it’s not necessary every time. Sometimes due to prior setting according to carriers your cell phone don't always function correctly with other carriers, even once unlocked.
The sequential process a user must perform to unlock a cell phone varies, depends on the original service provider and on the manufacturer. Some cell phone sets can be unlocked by simply entering the unlock codes. But this also depends on the original carrier whether they provide the user the unlock code or not. Other process uses reprogramming the mobile settings. This can be perform via a special cable called a clip. To unlock a cell phone is totally legal because you pay for that handset. So it totally depends on you whether you use it with the original service provider or switch to other one via unlocking your cell.
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