GSM Unlocked Vs Factory Unlocked (Full Comparison)

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Is your cell phone GSM-enabled? Here I’ll explain GSM Unlocked Vs Factory Unlocked? Unlocking your phone might be an unpleasant and stressful experience. People’s most significant difficulty with GSM unlocked phones is that they have many misconceptions about how they work.

While a bit of time and effort can go a long way, finding reliable information is not always easy. Here, we’ll explain all you need to understand about GSM Unlocked Phones and How To Unlock Your Smartphone in the most expedient way possible.

Difference Between GSM Unlocked Vs Factory Unlocked

GSM Unlocked Vs Factory Unlocked

It’s common for people to ask this question, but it’s distinct from the previous one. A GSM unlocked phone has been freed from a carrier’s lock implying that the phone was formerly locked. On the other hand, a factory unlocked mobile has never been tied to a specific carrier and was sold as unlocked out of the box.

Factory Unlocked

If you bought a Google Pixel phone, a factory unlocked phone was purchased from the manufacturer or an approved retailer, such as the Google Store. The consumer receives the gadget pre-unlocked, allowing them to use it with any carrier that supports the frequency ranges.

The gadget is universal and uncarrier-specific. A factory unlocked phone lacks any carrier-installed features or software. Devices that have been factory unlocked are typically more expensive and have a high resale value.

Factory GSM

A factory GSM unlocked phone was shipped by the manufacturer without a service agreement with a GSM carrier. To put it another way, a factory GSM unlocked phone can be used with any GSM network. The smartphone can be used with any GSM service provider, including AT&T and T-Mobile, and will never be tied to a specific mobile network.

What Does It Mean To Be Gsm Unlocked?

The abbreviation GSM refers to the global mobile phone standard. Users’ subscription details and phone books are stored in the Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) of GSM. Uses the SIM card’s data to transmit and receive texts and make and receive phone calls.

To access data on a SIM card, you’ll typically need a GSM phone. Carriers do everything they can to keep their customers from switching to another provider. They employ a software code to lock their smartphones in order to accomplish this.

Your phone is most likely locked if you purchase a phone from your provider. Thus you won’t be able to utilize it on another network. It’s possible that a locked device won’t be able to register with the new network if you insert a SIM card from another carrier.

Difference Between CDMA And GSM

CDMA is the main competitor to GSM technology. As far as end-users are concerned, it’s nearly difficult for either technology to bridge the divide. Code Division Multiple Access is a minor player in today’s mobile industry. GSM dominates the global market, accounting for more than 90% of mobile phone subscriptions.

On the other hand, CDMA stores the same type of data on the device itself, whereas GSM uses SIM cards to do so. Due to the ease of just inserting an activated new SIM card and switching networks, GSM handsets have the advantage of changing networks.

The subscriber’s information is encoded deep within the system in CDMA devices, making it difficult to change. It is also impossible to use a CDMA cellphone on another CDMA network for this reason.

The unlocked CDMA phone may still not work effectively or in another network, even though it has been unlocked. This is why many Verizon phones may not function properly when used on a non-Verizon network, such as MMS or phone calls.

Where Can I Obtain A GSM Phone That Is Unlocked?

It’s best to get an unlocked GSM smartphone directly from the manufacturer if you plan to use it with any GSM networks in the future. For example, it is possible to get a network-unlocked phone at a Samsung retail outlet.

Although certain carriers may sell network-unlocked phones, you’ll most likely obtain a network-locked smartphone if you buy the identical phone model from your carrier. Third-party merchants also sell these kinds of smartphones as an alternative. Ensure that the phone is unlocked before purchasing it.

Can I Carry An Unlocked International Phone In The United States?

Yes, you can use a foreign unlocked cellphone in the United States if GSM is compatible. However, if you have an internationally unlocked smartphone, you are limited to using one of two mobile service providers. It’s essential to keep in mind that an international unlocked phone can have minor changes from the US unlocked phone even within the same model.

An international model may have difficulty connecting to the network because it lacks circuitry for operating on a specific frequency. Occasionally, the phone’s software for selecting a particular brand was not turned on when assembled.

Factory Unlocked Vs Network Unlocked

When a phone is factory unlocked, it is pre-unlocked when purchased directly from the mobile provider or an approved dealer. It can be used with any suitable carrier because it is not carrier-locked. It was purchased with a carrier lock, and the carrier or a third party had to unlock it before it could be used.

What Does GSM Factory Unlock Mean?

Purchasing a GSM Unlocked iPhone implies that it will not work with Sprint or Verizon; a GSM iPhone only functions with Cricket, AT&T, and T-Mobile. There is no one iPhone that supports all of the major carriers. Manufacturer Unlocked.


I’ve done my best to respond to GSM Unlocked Vs Factory Unlocked. You can get a factory-unlocked GSM or CDMA cell phone. This implies that it will be compatible with various service providers that utilize similar networks.

So long as it’s a Smartphone, any Smartphone will do. For example, in the United States, Verizon and Sprint are the primary carriers for CDMA phones. AT&T T-Mobil networks will support GSM phones. Locked phones can only be used on the network that was explicitly assigned to them.

There is no difference between an Android and an iPhone when it comes to this issue. So, for example, if you buy a locked AT&T phone, it will only work on AT&T’s network in the US. In the United States, a Verizon lock phone will only work on Verizon’s network if purchased from Verizon.

It would be best if you always acquired an android Smartphone that is either CDMA or GSM enabled, or both, to maximize your options. When it comes to phones that can work on both CDMA and GSM networks, the Moto G 5 Plus is a good example.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are GSM and factory unlocked phones the same thing?

Unlocked phones can be used on both GSM and CDMA networks. In other words, a completely unlocked phone can work with both AT&T GSM and Sprint CDMA networks. The Nexus 5X is a GSM and CDMA-enabled cell phone from the factory that is completely unlocked.

Are GSM and universally unlocked compatible with one other?

Why are universal phones different from unlocked phones? While a global phone can be used on any network, an unlocked phone can only be used on a specific carrier. In the United States, AT&T and T-Mobile are GSM networks, whereas Sprint and Verizon are CDMA networks.

Is factory unlocking better than network unlocking?

It will work everywhere if you have the proper hardware. The term “network unlocked” refers to a condition in which some mobile devices cannot use another network or whose frequency is restricted… This is the primary distinction because the carrier or merchant has activated a factory unlocked Smartphone.

What exactly does it imply when they say “GSM unlocked”?

Most of their phones are sold to carriers already pre-locked. Consequently, to obtain android phones from phone makers that are unwilling or unable to sell directly to us, we must import them from nations where unlocked phones are widely available.

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