If you've decided to get a Blackberry for your next phone, you should consider searching for an unlocked Blackberry from a third party vendor instead of purchasing from your cellular service provider. The advantages are many. This article mentions a few below, but there are many, many more.
More Freedom to Choose which Phone you Use - If you look for an unlocked Blackberry, you will open up the number of phones you have to choose from. While most cellular service providers do offer a fairly large selection of phones, they generally each only have a couple of phones available from Blackberry that are specific to the network. Thus, it's possible that your provider might not offer a Blackberry with all of the features that you desire. However, purchasing an unlocked Blackberry from a third party will open up a much wider variety, and activating the phone on your network is simple.
Freedom from Contracts - Cellular service providers are able to run specials on phones and offer them at discount prices by having you sign a contract, usually for two years. While the initial savings are sometimes significant, they are usually not much more than $50 and often involve a mail-in rebate that many consumers fail to take advantage of. Cellular companies recoup this money through service charges and through early contract cancellation fees, which are usually around $250 or more. You never know if you'll have to move to a new city where your current provider has poor service and will want to cancel your contract. If you purchase an unlocked cell phone up front, you won't have to sign a contract with a provider and thus won't have to pay early termination fees if/when unexpected changes arise.
Freedom to Shop Around - Since an unlocked Blackberry allows you to not have to sign contracts that involve early termination fees with cellular companies, they also give you the freedom to choose between all of the providers in your area. You can test them all out with an unlocked phone and see which one you like best at no risk. If you are not satisfied with service, simply switch to another provider without any additional fees.
Freedom to Travel - Cellular companies also make a lot of money on roaming fees. When you travel out of the country, for example, and use your phone, you are subject to some massive roaming charges. However, if you have an unlocked Blackberry, you can often purchase a prepaid SIM card made to operate on the network local to the city/country you are traveling to. Simply take the SIM card out of your unlocked Blackberry that operates on your home network and replace it with the temporary SIM card and you'll be able to operate on the international network without paying huge roaming fees. For those that do a lot of international travel, the savings can be significant.
by David Kraft