Purchasing an unlocked cell phone smartphone can be a much easier—and more reliable—option than attempting to unlock a previously locked phone. You'll typically pay more for the phone--sometimes several hundred dollars more--but you're not relying on anyone to unlock the phone for you.
Some cell phones and smartphones are only available in unlocked versions--many Nokia phones, for example, are only available unlocked. You can purchase them from Nokia stores or third-party resellers. You also may find unlocked phones available from cellular carriers. Sometimes, they will offer unlocked versions of their phones without service, though you'll pay more for the handset itself.
Before buying an unlocked phone, you should research the type of handset that you want. Read reviews of various smartphones (both locked and unlocked) and find one that meets your needs.
If you decide that an unlocked phone is for you, you should shop around. Prices can vary--greatly--and you should look for the best deal. You also should research the company that is selling the phone; just because someone is selling a brand-name smartphone, that doesn't mean they're necessarily a reputable shop.