1. AC Question's Avatar
    I've been hearing that Sprint is the only carrier that allows radio on their smartphones, but I would prefer to use GSM technology. If I buy a factory unlocked Android phone, will I have access to FM Radio?
    03-10-2015 01:41 PM
  2. Rukbat's Avatar
    I've been hearing that Sprint is the only carrier that allows radio on their smartphones
    You've been dreaming. The carrier has nothing to do with whether the manufacturer puts a radio into a specific model phone.

    but I would prefer to use GSM technology. If I buy a factory unlocked Android phone, will I have access to FM Radio?
    If that model comes with an FM radio. The radio is hardware, unlocking is software. If you start a fire with a match, will the food you cook in a pot placed on that fire cook any differently than if you had started the fire with a lighter?

    Look at the specs of the phone model - M8, S5, Note 4, Moto Turbo - whatever phone you're looking at - and see if it has an FM radio. Then, except in one case, if you're buying th phone, buy that model. If you want it unlocked, and you want the monthly payment that the carrier does, tell them you won't sign up unless they get the lock code before you pay, and you walk out with an unlocked phone. (Be nice, don't demand, and let them know that you just want to be sure that, a few years down, you'll be selling an unlocked phone - you're not going anywhere.) If you buy the phone outright, the carrier (if you're in the US) has to give you the unlock code once the phone is paid for (which it will be from the start). They may make you wait 30 days, or 60 days, but get it in writing, signed by the store manager, that they WILL give you the unlock code within X days (on the initial paperwork - s/he can write it and sign it) - so you can cancel without penalty, if you want to, if they don't give it to you. (The unlock code becomes part of the contract. If they don't meet that part, they've breached the contract, so they can't charge you the early termination fee - they terminated it by failure to act, you didn't.)

    The exception is AT&T with a Samsung phone. If you're doing that, get a TMobile phone. AT&T has the bootloader so tightly locked down that a pound of C4 wouldn't open it. A TMobile phone that has Band 17 for LTE will work fine on AT&T - and the bootloader is unlocked. (The price will be within a dollar or two one way or the other.)

    (Unlocked bootloader and SIM-unlocked are totally different things. The unlock you're talking about allows you to put one carrier's SIM into another carrier's phone. If you're buying a TMobile phone to use on AT&T it has to be SIM-unlocked. [Factory unlocked and aftermarket (or you with the code the carrier gives you) unlocked is all the same thing. You can put any SIM into that phone.)

    Decide on the carrier by which one has good coverage where you need coverage. And I don't mean on the block your company is, I mean at your desk. Having to walk to someone else's window to make a phone call every time gets annoying. (AT&T doesn't cover a LARGE part of this city very well. I never go there, so I don't care. Sprint has much better coverage - but a hole that covers my daughter's entire house. I care. I can't use Sprint if they gave me free phones and free unlimited everything. If I'm at my daughter's and my wife calls me, I'd never know.)
    03-10-2015 02:34 PM

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