Apple sells unlocked iPhones in U.S.

Apple sells unlocked iPhones in U.S.

Summary: Want a GSM iPhone but hate AT&T? Now you can buy an unlocked phone from Apple for $649, and get it to work with any carrier's microSIM card.

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Apple on Tuesday began to sell unlocked iPhone 4 GSM models to customers in the United States from its online store. The phones cost $649 for a 16GB model, $749 for a 32GB model. Black or white models are available.

"Unlocked" iPhone 4s arrive without an active micro-SIM card in place. Customers must first obtain a micro-SIM card from a supported GSM wireless carrier before the phone will work.

The unlocked iPhone could also work on T-Mobile's U.S. network, which operates using GSM like AT&T. But because of differences between the carrier's networks, an iPhone 4 operating on T-Mobile's network will only work using slower EDGE data technology, rather than at 3G speeds.

This new unlocked phone is primarily useful for U.S. iPhone customers traveling internationally who want to use local carriers rather than incurring "roaming" fees from AT&T.

Unlocked GSM iPhones are a great deal more expesnive than phones purchased through AT&T. Buying a GSM phone through AT&T costs $199 for a 16GB model, $299 for a 32GB model. But doing so also requires the customer to agree to a two-year contract that incurs large fees if the customer terminates the contract early.

Customers in many other countries have been able to purchase unlocked iPhones, in many cases, depending on the law, right from the start. But unlocked phones are still something of a rarity in the United States, where cell phone carriers exercise much tighter control over how cell phones are sold and distributed.

Topics: Apple, Hardware, iPhone, Mobility, Smartphones, Telcos, AT&T

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56 comments
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  • RE: Apple sells unlocked iPhones in U.S.

    I don't think that the fact that the iPhone is locked stopped anyone from buying it

    and the people who had a problem with that, already jailbroke/unlocked the phone
    adham.elnawawy
  • RE: Apple sells unlocked iPhones in U.S.

    Anyone know if they will work in EU ?
    MorbusB
    • RE: Apple sells unlocked iPhones in U.S.

      @MorbusB Certainly. You'll need a microSIM card from a local carrier, of course, but these GSM phones are the same "world phones" that AT&T sells, just without a carrier lock or microSIM card.
      flargh
    • RE: Apple sells unlocked iPhones in U.S.

      @MorbusB
      Yes, because the iPhone sold in Europe is basically the same sold in USA except in Europe the iPhone is Unlocked due to EU law!
      Too bad America doesn't have same law banning locking phones!!!!
      mchan1
  • RE: Apple sells unlocked iPhones in U.S.

    Isn't that more than what the first gen iPhones sold for originally?
    LoverockDavidson
    • RE: Apple sells unlocked iPhones in U.S.

      @LoverockDavidson It's a bit more. The original iPhone cost $499 for a 4GB version, $599 for an 8GB version.
      flargh
      • RE: Apple sells unlocked iPhones in U.S.

        @flargh Still cheaper than a Motorola "Q", tho? :D
        His_Shadow
  • Sadly

    Sadly, they sell for far more on Ebay... the iPhone is hot! even the antenna issues coudn't stop it.
    Hasam1991
    • That does not seem sad at all....

      @Hasam1991
      All it means is the "antenna issue" was in fact not an issue.

      Pagan jim
      James Quinn
      • RE: Apple sells unlocked iPhones in U.S.

        @James Quinn

        Actually all it means is that Apple people will buy pretty much anything with an Apple logo on it....
        Doctor Demento
      • RE: Apple sells unlocked iPhones in U.S.

        @Doctor Demento

        And you'll believe anything the media tells you.
        observer1959
      • RE: Apple sells unlocked iPhones in U.S.

        @James Quinn , "the antenna issue" was a genuine issue, in fact. Why would Apple admit that they were developing a work-around for the antenna issue if it wasn't a genuine issue?
        nkfro
      • Message has been deleted.

        DeusXMachina
      • RE: Apple sells unlocked iPhones in U.S.

        @Doctor Demento
        1) The majority of iPhone Owners are Windows users
        2) you are an idiot.
        DeusXMachina
  • RE: Apple sells unlocked iPhones in U.S.

    There are very few GSM carriers and when AT&T takes over T-Mobile there will be even less. So what's the use?
    rdw551
    • RE: Apple sells unlocked iPhones in U.S.

      @rdw551 Ah no. There are very few CDMA carriers. The rest of the world is GSM.
      LarsDennert
      • RE: Apple sells unlocked iPhones in U.S.

        @LarsDennert He probably meant in the US....
        snoop0x7b
      • RE: Apple sells unlocked iPhones in U.S.

        @LarsDennert
        The rest of the world is NOT GSM. Tell that to Korea (or any of the other CDMA countries)

        P.S. CDMA is technically superior.
        DeusXMachina
    • RE: Apple sells unlocked iPhones in U.S.

      @rdw551 - Not only that, but T-M really sux at data as well.... Can not see any advantage for a costly unit to try & access sucky data streams... The EDGE is the most sucky of all - I can state from experience. Data rates comparable to dial-up. Just don't go there if you care about your money and time.
      Willnott
  • RE: Apple sells unlocked iPhones in U.S.

    Expensive is spelled wrong. But yea, I'd rather get it unlocked for Free-99 by jailbreaking it...
    Pratik.luhadiya@...