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Locked vs unlocked phones


Jun 8, 2015
I have a Samsung S10 that's been acting weird lately. One day it spontaneously rebooted without me physically touching it. Another time the phone awoke from sleep without me physically touching it. The phone, not me has deleted pictures. An app on the phone downloaded an app without my permission. Fortunately, I was able to uninstall the app.

I can't decide between getting a locked phone or an unlocked phone.

I have some questions.

I know that unlocked phones come without a SIM card because the phones can be used on any carrier. I'm on Verizon & I wish to stick with Verizon. So, the unlocked phone has to be activated by Verizon. After the unlocked phone is activated by Verizon, will it have Verizon WiFi or is that a separate process? I know that Google Fi is an option for the Pixel phones. I assume that it's an option for any Android phone, correct?

If I buy an unlocked phone activated by Verizon, will I be able to get it serviced at Verizon or will I need to get it serviced elsewhere because it isn't a Verizon-branded phone?

Of course, I can buy a Verizon-branded phone & I won't have any problems getting it serviced.
What phone are you looking at? Another Samsung? You can just move the SIM card from your current phone to the new one, Verizon doesn't have to do anything (and you'll save the $35 activation fee). You can also just call them later if you want an eSIM.

Are you taking about insurance? You can still have it covered through Verizon. I'm not sure what you mean by 'serviced', Verizon customer service will still help with issues/questions etc. but they don't actually fix or repair phones, that's done with Insurance.

You can hook up to any WiFi.

I'm on Verizon with an unlocked Pixel and have no issues or concerns whatsoever. I have not had a Verizon branded phone since they became a thing. There's no Verizon anything pre-loaded, that's a huge plus in my book, you can still use their apps if you want though (they will load if you copy everything from phone to phone and can be deleted or used), they're in the Play store.
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Definitely, not another Samsung!

I hadn't thought about transferring the SIM card in my Samsung to a Pixel 8 Pro & saving $35! Maybe I can get few bucks trade-in. The Samsung would have to have a factory reset. Can the reset be done with or without the SIM card? But then the Samsung would need a SIM card. Does the Samsung become an unlocked phone? I know that all Verizon phones come locked for the 1st 60 days, then Verizon unlocks the phone.

You state:
You can hook up to any WiFi.
That's what confuses me. Does the unlocked come with or without WiFi? How do I hook up to "any" WiFi? Wouldn't I need Verizon WiFi specifically?

I'm sorry that I'm asking so many questions! I'm eager to get my new phone.

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Wi-Fi is built in to every phone and is not carrier specific. You access it through the phone's network/internet/Bluetooth/Wi-Fi settings. It scans for a signal and you connect to it. I'm assuming you are connected to your cable company's Wi-Fi in your home? The phone will find that and ask you to sign in. I have Spectrum Internet and use Google WiFi/mesh extenders. No Verizon anything needed.

If you're selling/trading the old phone then sign out of it (Google/Samsung accounts) and factory reset it. Whoever gets it next will have to worry about a new SIM card/carrier.
Thank you for clarifying.

That makes sense to me. My phone will search for nearby WiFi. It may be AT&T or Verizon or T-Mobile. For example, I go to a doctor's office. Their WiFi may be Verizon or AT&T or T-Mobile, correct?

How does AugieTN's phone have both AT&T & Google Fi? Does the phone have both a physical SIM card & an eSIM? I think that an eSIM can support more than 1 carrier, is that correct?

I'm 1 step closer to getting my new phone!
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Wifi is not controlled by any phone carrier. So it's not Verizon, T-Mobile or whatnot. You are simply connecting to a "place" that has a wifi signal available, that's all.
For an example, your home is using xfinity for your internet. That internet signal is broadcasting wirelessly around your house. That's where wifi is available and you usually have to connect using a username and password.
So think of different places you visit. They usually offer wifi to connect to the internet with, nothing more.
Don't confuse internet availability with cellular data, those are 2 completely different things.
Your phone doesn't need wifi to make or receive phone calls, this is available to you as cellular data anywhere you go.
I hope my rambling helps...
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On my phone, SIM 1 is AT&T SIM 2 is my eSIM and is Google Fi.

I have had AT&T for many years. I added Google Fi because it works fine in France and data is only $10 a GB overseas, so I no longer need to switch to a French SIM card

I have read an eSIM can take multiple carriers, but I have never used more than one carrier on my eSIM. I get an option to use either carrier when making a call. It looks like this on my phone

Screenshot 2024-06-01 at 18-59-10 Dual SIM Pixel 7.png
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Thank you for your explanations. And your patience!

WiFi is WiFi. It's not carrier-specific. I guess that I can say that WiFi is carrier-agnostic. The same WiFi signal can be picked up by an AT&T-branded phone, a T-mobile-branded phone & a Verizon-branded phone.

I wouldn't be surprised if Verizon charges me $35 just to transfer the SIM card from the Samsung to the Pixel.
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I wouldn't be surprised if Verizon charges me $35 just to transfer the SIM card from the Samsung to the Pixel.
They shouldn't. I've never been charged and I've done it often. I have a family plan with a number of lines so they are changed a lot.


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