Unlocked iPhone 4 Now for Sale in USA
Apple is now selling carrier unlocked iPhone 4 GSM models in the USA, making it the first time the devices have been legitimately offered through the primary market in the country. An unlocked iPhone can be used on any other GSM network, in the USA or otherwise, assuming you have an active micro-SIM card for that network.
How Much Do the Unlocked iPhones Cost?
Unlocked iPhones don’t come cheap in the USA or anywhere else for that matter. The price is the same for both black or white models, the cost differentiation relates to storage capacity:
- Unlocked iPhone 4 16GB – $649
- Unlocked iPhone 4 32GB – $749
If you’re wondering why the prices are high, Apple answers:
Carriers typically subsidize the purchase price of the phone when purchased with a service contract. By purchasing your iPhone unlocked, you are not committing to a service contract up front, so you can use any micro-SIM card from a supported GSM carrier, including your current one.
What are the Advantages to an Unlocked iPhone?
There are several answers to this, but the primary reasons to own a factory unlocked iPhone are:
- No Carrier Contract – you pay full price for the phone, but the iPhone is not bound to a carrier contract, meaning you can start and stop service at will without any penalties
- Move from Carrier to Carrier – want to use T-Mobile? No problem. AT&T have better reception? Switch. There’s no hassle, no fees, nothing that voids the warranty, just plug in a new carriers SIM card and go
- International Travel – the same carrier transportation mentioned above applies to international travel, forget about roaming charges and instead grab a local SIM card
All you need is an active compatible micro-SIM card from a GSM carrier and the phone will use that network.
Why Now? AT&T & T-Mobile Merger or Another Jailbreak Killer?
Carrier unlocked phones are somewhat of an anomaly in the United States, but they are ubiquitous elsewhere in the world. It’s not clear why Apple is choosing to sell the unlocked devices at this point, but there is some speculation that this move is intended as preparation for the AT&T and T-Mobile USA merger. Others are suggesting this is intended as another blow to the jailbreaking scene, since carrier unlocks are a popular reason for users to jailbreak their iPhones.
Nice find by MacRumors!