Am creating this post to help guys in other countries, like me, buying phones in the states. It can be a daunting task but once you know the ropes, you are golden.
I have to admit that the USA has a wide range of devices at bargain basement prices. I had often drooled over them, reading reviews, watching YouTube videos. But that is nothing if you cant ever get the phone, right?
The best site to buy used phones is . They are alot of devices and occasionally, you may land a super awesome phone for an unbelievable low price. Also, the site offers buyers a sort of cushion if they dont get the items desired or if the items were not of the quality expected. Irregardless, make sure that you read the listing description. Dont be fooled by clever words like "cracked screen but fully functioning" or "water damage but still works". Also buy from buyers with a 90+ rating. That minimises the risk. Most sellers in the US don't offer international shipping but if you send them a message politely asking them, they can ship for you at an extra cost. Please note: if the seller suggests that you transact outside eBay, refuse! All your transactions should be done through ebay, including private
Don't ever buy a sim locked iPhone. Period. They are faar more stress than you think. I know someone who bought a locked iPhone 5 and has never used the phone in a year! Of course there are ways to unlock it, but just to be on the safe side, never buy locked iPhones.
Android phones are more flexible to sim unlocking. The best is perhaps Samsung and Pantech. Unlock codes can be found on eBay for as low as 0.99$. Also, if you do google abit, you may find free unlock methods especially on xda.
Sony and HTC are really bad. Their unlocking codes may not be available or extremely expensive. LG is also good.
Another thing you should be aware of is the GSM bands in use in your country. Most countries use GSM on 850/900Mhz (2G) and 1900/2100Mhz (3G). If you are not sure about a particular phones network bands, check it out on and it will be listed there. Most phones nowadays support pentbands (850/900/1700/1900/2100Mhz).
AT&T phones are considered world phones and work in almost all countries that use GSM.
T-Mobile used to work on 2G only in most countries, since most of their phones were locked on to the 1900mhz band for 3G. But all post 2012 phones will work with no problem.
Verizon phones are a hit and miss. Only Verizon LTE phones have a sim card slot, so be careful there. Again, voice calls and data may work on Verizon phones internationally, but some services (sime applications, ussd codes) may not be available. As a bonus, Verizon phones come sim unlocked by default. Do a lot of research before buying a Verizon LTE phone (p.s I just got a droid DNA yesterday in Kenya and its working flawlessly :-))
Sprint/Virgin/Metro PCS phones are a big NO! Never buy sprint phones with the exception of the HTC one (I have personally used the sprint HTC one although you have to root and unlock it)
I think thats a summary of my experience buying US phones over the last 3years. Good hunting and good luck :-)