I'm thinking of getting a phone to use prepaid minutes with. If I pay the full "Prepaid" price, will I have an unlocked phone that I can use on any other providers nitwork (assuming the new network allows it)?
Can I terminate my account with Virgin and go elsewhere (assuming I'm at the end of a billing cycle)?
What I want to do is use the phone with my VOIP provider and limit my use for web, data, etc.
Phones purchased through the provider are locked to their carrier, however, you can get them unlocked if you pay full price for a small fee (all except iPhone at this time)
Terminating your account on prepaid is simple, as the account will automatically close down without any top up within 90 days. On a monthly postpaid plan, if you've purchased the handset at full price, you're on a month to month term, so if you do decide to leave, just give us a heads up 30 days before you do
Ummm, I think I misinterpreted the phrase "SIM card ready with global roaming". It seems that my assumption that simply changing the SIM card was the simple way to move to a new provider.
Do Virgin use other means to lock the phone to Virgin's network?
Any SIM-unlocked phone, with the proper radio bands supported, can be moved to another carrier by simply swapping SIM cards.
The big three and their subsidiaries all run their current HSPA networks on 850 and 1900 MHz.
The "little three" carriers (Videotron, Wind, Mobilicity) run on the 1700 MHz band, also referred to as AWS.
There are a few phone models out there that support those three bands and would enable you to choose between all the HSPA carriers in Canada. (Public Mobile runs a CDMA network, technologically closer to the legacy Bell and Telus networks.)
One thing to watch out for is that some models carried by both big and little three are different incompatible model numbers. E.g. the Nexus S GT-I9020A and 9020T. On the other hand, the newer Galaxy Nexus (GT-I9250) has a pentaband HSPA radio that supports most of the world on a single model.
Depending on your tastes and travel requirements; the Telus Galaxy S II X or the discontinued and relatively rare Nokia N9 also support all the North American 3G bands as well.
The weird, unfortunate thing with Canadian carriers so far is that except for the Nexus devices, all their handsets are sold SIM locked to their network only. Even if you buy outright. Even when the contract comes to an end and the device is fully paid for, by being completed or through proper termination, they don't give out the unlock codes.
There's nothing unusual about VMC's SIM locks. With the known exception of the Apple-enforced SIM locks on the iPhones and iPads.
A little birdie once told me that some models are much easier to unlock than others, provided you're willing to (temporarily) root your device. That same birdie inferred XDA or Rootzwiki would be good starting points. And last but not least, the little birdie strongly suggested avoiding "sharp" locked-bootloader devices, and instead gaze at the stars...
That's the kind of info I've been missing.
I am looking at getting a phone to use as we move west (to Vancouver area) and want to continue using it for a main phone when we settle in. I'm a little cheap so I want to use my account on voip.ms with the phone when I have wi-fi access. Once I get settled, I'll use it with my home wi-fi and use voip.
I think I've settled on the Virgin Mobile HTC WildFire S as it has known support for 3CX to do voip. I can limit my data costs as low as I want using wi-fi in lieu of the phone network.