Mobile device connectivity has been locked into specific carrier networks, at the time of purchase, for years, but solution providers are finding big opportunities selling unlocked devices to customers who prize flexibility and freedom.
"The reason [customers] might want an unlocked phone is if they have a big distribution of users across the country, it would give them more flexibility in not having everyone stuck with one wireless provider," said Billy Merchant, senior account executive at United Data Technologies, a Doral, Fla.-based solution provider. Merchant, markets cost effectiveness, better service, and an overall superior experience that can come with unlocked phones to the CIOs and CTOs he works with.
He also sees opportunities to target unlocked phones at customers who want low-cost devices to run only on Wi-Fi.
"One type of customer that might be interested in this solution is a hospital, where they just need Wi-Fi for their applications and systems, and have no need for wireless service," Merchant said.
By adding unlocked devices to their lineups, solution providers can open up a new world of flexible customized mobile offerings to customers. Research from Strategy Analytics shows a new generation of unlocked smartphones is emerging, with U.S. shipments growing 140percent annually in 2015, hitting a record 14.6 million units.