Don\’t buy these smartphones through your carrier

Don\’t buy these smartphones through your carrier

BARCELONA — Most of the smartphones on display here at Mobile World Congress 2018 lack a common ingredient commonly found in U.S.-market devices: a carrier’s stamp of approval.

In much of the rest of the world, a wireless carrier is a bystander to a wireless-device purchase. People buy unlocked phones and then pop in the SIM card of the carrier of their choice. Sometimes they don’t even have to choose just one, thanks to dual-SIM phones that can switch to whichever service has the better deal at the moment.

The U.S., however, is still waking up from a different regime in which carriers decided the phones you buy. Although AT&T (T), Sprint (S), T-Mobile (TMUS) and Verizon (VZ) have all given up selling phones at low prices subsidized via higher service fees, they’ve kept themselves in the phone-procurement loop with installment-payment plans and lease arrangements.

You, however, don’t have to keep buying into that system. And three families of unlocked Android phones introduced at Mobile World Congress could be your reason not to.

Nokia

This old name in phones resurfaced last year when the Finnish firm</span><a href=

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