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macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
54,481
16,561



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.

iphone_4_side_shot.jpg


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?
 

bohbot16

macrumors 6502a
Mar 22, 2009
674
10
I wonder if the locked phones were a part of their iPhone 4 deal with AT&T and had a 1 year term.
 

atomwork

macrumors 6502
Jun 5, 2001
283
130
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.
Dave
 

bruinsrme

macrumors 604
Oct 26, 2008
6,637
2,411
Is this a result of the ATT CEO hnking the company was already selling them?
 

haruhiko

macrumors 603
Sep 29, 2009
5,762
4,346
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).
 

BenRoethig

macrumors 68030
Jul 17, 2002
2,729
0
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.
 

Nermal

Moderator
Staff member
Dec 7, 2002
19,191
1,701
New Zealand
This could be good for frequent travellers that may not wish to buy an iPhone overseas.

Edit: Doh! See above... :p
 

Analog Kid

macrumors 603
Mar 4, 2003
6,151
5,659
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!
 

fkhan3

macrumors 6502
Apr 28, 2010
383
0
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.
 

plumosa

macrumors regular
Mar 17, 2007
178
9
Australia
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.
 

tb2me

macrumors member
Jan 8, 2005
50
30
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.
Dave

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.
 

rmanbike

macrumors member
Aug 5, 2009
56
18
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!
 

elchuster

macrumors newbie
Jan 13, 2011
2
0
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.
 

RafaT97

macrumors newbie
Jun 13, 2011
18
0
Miami
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
 

rmanbike

macrumors member
Aug 5, 2009
56
18
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.

Its called international roaming at about 2.00 + a min and doesnt work in every country.
 

iRobby

macrumors 6502a
Mar 22, 2011
994
5
Fort Myers, FL USA
QUESTION:

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?"
 

striker33

macrumors 65816
Aug 6, 2010
1,098
2
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.
Dave
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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