ATT contract mandatory when buying iPhone?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by AJ.G, Sep 14, 2010.

  1. AJ.G macrumors member

    Jul 26, 2010
    you have to get an ATT account when buying an iPhone,
    i live in China and they are ridiculusly overpriced over here.
    i have a friend going to the US next week,
    and i wanna get an iPhone 4.
    but i dont wanna get an ATT contract because i wont be using it in America.
    so basically, is it possible to buy an iphone,
    without having to use the phone part?


  2. Derkatwork macrumors 6502


    Apr 8, 2010
    Yes. I am an example, having gotten mine from an auction site. You can buy iphones from various auction sites without needing a contract. Me personally, I can't currently afford an expensive AT&T bill, so I'm waiting a little bit before turning the "ipod" into a full iphone.
  3. goosnarrggh macrumors 68000

    May 16, 2006
    AT&T allows existing customers to purchase an iPhone with no-commitment pricing. This allows them to get the iPhone without extending their existing contract. After they've bought the iPhone in this way, they're free to do whatever they want with it -- either use it themselves, or else keep on using their old phone under their old plan, and give the new iPhone to somebody else.

    In theory, if your friend already had an AT&T account, then they could exercise this option to purchase an iPhone that isn't bound to any AT&T service, and give the phone to you.

    However, I do not believe AT&T offers this option to new customers who did not already have an account with AT&T before purchasing the iPhone. So if your friend doesn't already have an AT&T account, this option probably isn't available to you.

    And as the poster above mentioned, the aftermarket for used iPhones is quite healthy in the USA, as long as you're careful to buy it from a reputable source.
  4. Irish Rose macrumors 65816

    May 29, 2010
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/532.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0.5 Mobile/8B117 Safari/6531.22.7)

    You can not purchase an iPhone 4 directly from AT&T unless you have service with them.
  5. haub macrumors newbie

    Sep 3, 2007
    Yes, it's possible. I bought an unsubsidized iPhone 4 from the Apple Store. When you plug it into iTunes, I had no problems syncing it up. I'm currently using it as a skype only phone. I am not unlocked or jailbroken. Do some searching and you can find the answers you seek. But to answer your initial question, yes you can buy an iPhone 4 at an Apple Store without a contract.
  6. haub macrumors newbie

    Sep 3, 2007
    Also, be careful attempting to buy from a 3rd party. If that 3rd party bought the phone subsidized and then resold will get stuck in iTunes asking for that persons SSN and address. If you buy it at full retail (unsubsidized) you bypass that issue.
  7. dannysiu macrumors newbie

    Sep 4, 2010
    The iPhone 4 in China are overpriced because they are officially not yet released in the Country. Those on the market are very oftern smuggled into the country.

    But apparently according China's regulatory body's (equivalent to FCC in the US) website (

    Apple has apparently got all necessary approval/license to sell the handset in China. The gov also changed the rules and this time it will come with wifi. So its basically same configuration as other countries

    In fact rumor is that it will be officially available next weekend. The factory unlocked 16G iPhone without a contract will be RMB 4880 at Apple Store. ($717)
  8. netdog macrumors 603


    Feb 6, 2006
    You can buy a factory-unlocked iPhone 4 directly from Apple in the UK for £499 including tax.

    If you have a friend in the UK, you might want to think about going that route. It will always work with any international GSM/3G provider (with the exception of T-Mobile in the USA who use a weird frequency all their own) so long as your provider sells micro-sims.

    If you buy an unsubsidized phone from the USA, my understanding is that it is still locked to AT&T, so you'd have to play that game with them, and always waits for new unlocking software before upgrading each time a new revision of iOS comes out, a real hassle in my opinion.
  9. haub macrumors newbie

    Sep 3, 2007
    You can have prepaid while it is locked in the USA. It doesn't necessarily have to have AT&T branding, just their backbone.

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