Apple to Offer Unlocked U.S. iPhone 4s Starting at $649?

Discussion in 'iOS Blog Discussion' started by MacRumors, Jun 13, 2011.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    We're not sure the motivation behind it, but it appears that Apple will be launching unlocked version of the iPhone 4 to Apple Retail stores sometime this week. The rumors started with some confusion over the weekend when there was a claim that Apple would finally be releasing the new MacBook Airs this Wednesday.


    As it turns out, there was a misinterpretation with the parts numbers that Apple sent to retail stores. The part numbers actually correspond to unlocked iPhone 4s, not new MacBook Airs. Apple has sold unlocked iPhone 4s internationally but never in the U.S. Unlocked mobile phones are simply less in demand in the U.S. due to the fragmentation in service amongst U.S. carriers.

    "Unlocked" simply means that a mobile phone is not tied to any particular carrier. In Europe, customers can buy an Unlocked phone and easily switch between carriers by simply replacing the SIM card. In the U.S., users could theoretically switch between AT&T and T-Mobile in this manner for voice calls, but 3G service is not compatible between the two carriers. This is what makes the sale of unlocked iPhone 4s in the U.S. so strange.

    But the word we've received is that they've shipped to Apple Stores this week and that they will be priced at $649 and $749 for 16GB and 32GBs, respectively. The higher price reflects the lack of long term contract that normally accompanies a mobile phone purchase.

    Article Link: Apple to Offer Unlocked U.S. iPhone 4s Starting at $649?
  2. QuarterSwede macrumors G3


    Oct 1, 2005
    Colorado Springs, CO
    Honestly, I'd rather have at&t/Verizon offer an unlocking service when the contract is up (and they've more than recouped the subsidy).
  3. grapes911, Jun 13, 2011
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2011

    grapes911 Moderator emeritus


    Jul 28, 2003
    Citizens Bank Park
    My thought exactly. Why now? For what purpose? Will it support T-Mobile 3G frequencies?
  4. bohbot16 macrumors 6502a


    Mar 22, 2009
    I wonder if the locked phones were a part of their iPhone 4 deal with AT&T and had a 1 year term.
  5. atomwork macrumors regular

    Jun 5, 2001
    Miami Beach
    That price point is ridiculous. An iPad sells for 499 and I would expect AT&T to pay at most 100 for the phones in whole sale. It's another slap for US customers. Just came back from Germany and the iPhone sells there subsidized for 1 Euro. Flat fee for mobile and landlines + text + internet is 50 - 80 bucks.

    600+ is just too high and a rip-off.

    Just my 2 cent.
  6. guru_ck macrumors 6502

    Jan 24, 2005
    Bay Area, CA
    They are probably just trying to unload the remaining inventory before the iPhone 5 hits.
  7. cloroxbleach4 macrumors 6502a


    Dec 28, 2007
  8. bruinsrme macrumors 601


    Oct 26, 2008
    Is this a result of the ATT CEO hnking the company was already selling them?
  9. appleguy123 macrumors 603


    Apr 1, 2009
    15 minutes in the future
    What other networks will this support? T-mobile edge only? What about Sprint?
  10. QuarterSwede macrumors G3


    Oct 1, 2005
    Colorado Springs, CO
    Plural. Confusing I know.
  11. haruhiko macrumors 68040


    Sep 29, 2009
    iPhone has been unlocked forever in some markets like Hong Kong and the prices have been about US$640 (HK$4988) and US$754 (HK$5888) (although the subsidised price is as low as $0).
  12. BenRoethig macrumors 68030


    Jul 17, 2002
    Dubuque, Iowa
    I don't know if this makes much sense right now. Its not like you can take your iPhone to a carrier other than AT&T unlocked or not. The vast majority of the handful of the other GSM carriers are using T-Mobile's band which is not supported. I could see this in a couple years when everyone is using LTE, but not now.
  13. tgsmith98 macrumors newbie

    Jun 13, 2011
    Jacksonville, FL
    Would rather have the new MacBook Air come out this week. Who cares about an unlocked iPhone 4? Its not worth using on T-Mo Edge anyway.
  14. pittpanthersfan macrumors 6502


    Jun 7, 2009
  15. Nermal Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 7, 2002
    New Zealand
    This could be good for frequent travellers that may not wish to buy an iPhone overseas.

    Edit: Doh! See above... :p
  16. Analog Kid macrumors 68040

    Analog Kid

    Mar 4, 2003
    For those who travel internationally, this is a boon. My next iPhone will be unlocked.

    Yes, it's expensive, but this is what the rest of the world has been paying for their iPhones and it's probably close to what AT&T has been paying. If you spend enough time traveling and your phone is locked to AT&T, you'll almost certainly want a second phone for travel so you can put a domestic SIM in it. Then you have to deal with the fact that your travel phone isn't your usual phone...

    Edit: Doh!, Doh!
  17. fkhan3 macrumors 6502

    Apr 28, 2010
    About time! More power to us consumers. Presently its not fair that a customer pays full price and still ends up with a locked phone.

    If iPhone 5 is a true world phone, factory unlocked one is the way to go for world travelers.
  18. plumosa macrumors regular


    Mar 17, 2007
    I personally can't wait because the pricepoint is even lower (with lower taxes as well) than here in Canada. I'll probably pick one up the next time I come down :) And this is also a boon for people that travel internationally so they don't have to pay the high international rates charged by AT&T.
  19. tb2me macrumors member

    Jan 8, 2005
    Think again: the parts *alone* cost Apple just under $200. While nobody knows exactly how much AT&T pays for each iPhone, it is significantly more than what they charge the end-user signing up for a new contract; that's why it's called a subsidy. They are selling you a product for significantly less than they paid for it so that they can make money off of you using their services.
  20. rmanbike macrumors newbie

    Aug 5, 2009
    quote"They are selling you a product for significantly less than they paid for it so that they can make money off of you using their services."

    Thats the key, they are making loads of money off you by locking you into a contract, T-mobile has a plan for $30.00 a month 1500min talk n text and 30 mb data, more than enough for me, plus international calling n texting. A similar plan with the other 2 would costs 40.00 more a month, so Im easily paying for my iphone I purchased in SG for $650.00 last year. And I can use it where ever I travel using local carriers at a tenth costs of roaming.

    Thats a no-brainer!
  21. elchuster macrumors newbie

    Jan 13, 2011
    Still need data plan?

    Can I cancel my ATT data plan and only use wifi? Otherwise, what's the use?

    I thought international travellers can already call up ATT and get their iPhones to work in other countries.
  22. RafaT97 macrumors newbie

    Jun 13, 2011
    Price too high.

    In the country where I live in South America you can get an iPhone 4 32gb from our "Att" to say that way. without a contract for about 600$. So i think the price is way too high....

    Also i dont agree with the idea of an Iphone 4 being more expensive than an ipad 2
  23. rmanbike macrumors newbie

    Aug 5, 2009
    Its called international roaming at about 2.00 + a min and doesnt work in every country.
  24. iRobby macrumors 6502a


    Mar 22, 2011
    Fort Myers, FL USA

    Not understanding the purpose of releasing the iPhone 4 UNLOCKED since 3G service not compatible on same phone by both carriers brings my question:

    "Once the next generation iPhone world phone compatible for both carriers CDMA/GSM comes out in September will the prices go up like in Europe since it will be unlocked?"
  25. striker33, Jun 13, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 13, 2011

    striker33 macrumors 65816


    Aug 6, 2010
    The US gets EVERYTHING dirt cheap compared to the rest of the world.

    An unlocked iPhone in the UK goes for the equivalent of $820, and for substantially more in the rest of the EU and other areas of the world.

    How anyone can complain about that price point when they'd be spending a fortune on a AT&T contract or a Verizon contract that gives you a crappy CDMA phone is beyond me.

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