If there’s a techy person in your life, you’ve probably heard that you shouldn’t buy phones directly from your carrier. While that’s a good general rule, it’s not always true. Let’s talk about the pros and cons.
The History of Carrier-Sold Phones
In the early days of cellular devices, there was only one real option for buying a phone in the US: from your carrier. This involved getting a phone for a small payment—$50 or $100 in most cases, or even free for the “non-flagship” handsets of the day. In return, you’d sign a two-year agreement with your carrier saying that you’d stick with them. Seems great, right?
What they didn’t tell you is that they paid very little for that plastic flip phone, so they actually made a killing off of you. I mean, I get that every business is out to make money, but they really took you for a lot with this old model. But since there wasn’t another option, that’s just how it was—and these practicies have continued into the smartphone era. You’d buy a smartphone for $200 with a two-year contract, but…
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