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I was a die-hard user of my Nokia 6015i mobile phone, an indestructible device with a pull-out antenna that my wife and I got in March of 2005.  If it wasn't for the CDMA mobile network becoming obsolete, I'd probably still be using it.

The broadcasting technology used by mobile phones is constantly improving and old technologies become disused as users upgrade their devices.  All Canadian mobile phone use GSM technology (see Canadian Mobile Phone Companies) and offer HSPA+ (3G) and LTE (Long Term Evolution) data speeds (see 4G vs LTE). Eventually, as cellular companies stop supporting legacy networks and smart phone apps require newer operating systems, old phones stop functioning.  No matter how much you like your mobile phone, you will eventually have to replace it if you want to continue having cellular communication and/or running your favourite apps.  Some things to consider when buying a new phone:

  • Consider getting an unlocked phone.  This will allow you to switch cellular carriers without having to pay to unlock your phone or to buy a new phone.
  • Make sure it's reliable.  Some phones are notorious for breaking down and it can be major inconvenience to be phone-less while your phone is being fixed.
  • Get as much storage as you can afford. With Android phones, even though you can add an SD card and configure it as internal storage, many apps will not use it.  If your phone can support this feature, since SD cards are cheap, get the largest capacity that your phone will support.  Not having enough storage means you need to be constantly downloading you photos and videos to your PC or your personal internet drive.
  • Operating system (OS) upgradability.  Apple iPhones are easy to upgrade until Apple considers the hardware too old.  Once this happens, it will become very challenging to find suitable apps.  Android phones are often customized by the manufacturer and their OS often does not keep up with pure Android updates.  Look for phones that run pure versions of Android.
  • Microsoft has abandoned Windows phones.  Only consider one if you want a basic phone and you can get it at a dirt cheap price.

In the long run, it's cheaper to bring an unlocked phone to a cellular phone service provider than to get one for "free" on a plan.  This also gives you the flexibility to easily switch plans.  If you were looking for an unlocked iPhone, pretty much the only place to get the latest new iPhone used to be an Apple store but Canadian law now requires all new phones to be unlocked.  Alternatively, you can get brand new Android phone for a lot less than an iPhone.

Smart Phones