Buy unlocked abroad & bring back to U.S.?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by OpenWheelFan, Jun 30, 2008.

  1. OpenWheelFan macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2007
    #1
    I'll be visiting Australia in July, and was wondering...

    Two carriers there are saying that they'll be selling an unlocked iPhone 3G. what if I bought one there, and brought it home to the U.S.?

    I'd still have to go with AT&T (right? -- since they're the only one with a GSM network that would accept new activations); but, would I have to get the 2-year plan? Would I be able to go pre-paid? would they insist that I get one of their announced iPhone 3G plans? (After all, I'd have a completely legal, unlocked iPhone 3G...)

    Just curious...

    OWF.
     
  2. pavvento macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2007
    #2
    Good question, I too will be in Australia and was hoping to swing by the Sydney store, but I don't know if it's worth paying a lot of extra money for the unlocked version to come back and use on ATT.
     
  3. tritonj macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2008
    #3
    that would be a silly thing to do, especially if you're going to end up using ATT anyways, the iPhone 3G will work on Tmobile why not just save yourself the headache and get the subsidy, if you're going to be using their service. might as well take advantage, but you get get the 3G service you would only get Edge

    also the cost of an unlocked iPhone will probably end up being more than the cost of an ATT one that you pay an EFT on.
     
  4. OpenWheelFan thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2007
    #4
    triton,

    that's exactly what i'm wondering! would there, in fact, be any advantage to buying one unlocked in Oz, then using it here?

    would i be able to go month-to-month with anyone? would i be able to get a better deal than AT&T is offering at point of sale?

    The FAQ here at MacRumors says that no carrier other than AT&T is activating new GSM accounts -- the other GSM carriers here are just enabling GSM roaming on their networks.

    So, if there's no advantage to buying there, then I just wait until I return home, but I was wondering whether there would be any advantage to it...
     
  5. QuantumLo0p macrumors 6502a

    QuantumLo0p

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2006
    Location:
    U.S.A.
    #5
    The only thing that might make it worth your while would be if the Oz phone doesn't get buggered up when updating it in the U.S.

    Sure you can jailbreak a phone from here and get it working on T-Mobile but it gets messed up every time you update. The same may become of an iPhone from Oz. I don't know for sure.

    I love the iPhone but I am getting a really sweet deal on T-Mobile minutes. Jailbreaking just doesn't cut it for me.

    Somewhere down the road, perhaps something on the Android or Openmoko platforms will beat the iPhone to market for a real T-Mobile solution.
     
  6. MacFanatic08 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2008
    #6
    Unless it's the same price, could you maybe get it and sell it on eBay for a ton of $$$?
     
  7. mobile23 macrumors member

    mobile23

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2008
    Location:
    Vancouver
  8. Scooterman1 macrumors 6502a

    Scooterman1

    Joined:
    May 15, 2008
    Location:
    Houston, Tx
    #8
    You never know, you could buy the unlocked phone there, and when you switch to AT&T (taking it into a store), that special Version of iTunes that they will have for Activating it, could LOCK it again. Who knows. We'll just have to wait and see.
     
  9. tritonj macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2008
    #9
    the advantage of an unlocked phone is to be able to use it on any carrier, so if you go out and buy an unlocked phone and then use it on the carrier it was locked to in the first place then you paid for an option that you aren't using, there is no way an unlocked phone will cost less than a subsidized phone, the only valid argument would be that you plan on having the phone for 2 years, so you don't want to be tied down to a contract, but realistically, who isn't going to be using a phone in 2 years, so no point going unlocked and paying the premium if you're going to just use it on ATT and use it over the course of 2 years. unless you want the coolness factor of saying you have an imported iPhone or something
     
  10. samab macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2006
    #10
    Whoever said that these iphones are going to be unlocked?

    Multiple carriers selling iphones mean multiple carriers selling iphones that are simlocked to their own network.
     
  11. TXCraig macrumors 6502a

    TXCraig

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2007
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    #11
    You are correct! You will NOT be able to get a unlocked phone in AU- it will be locked to the carrier. Plus you will need to sign a contact with that carrier and without you having a AU address and AU credit record- you would not get one anyway.
     
  12. paulej69 macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 5, 2008
    #12
    Optus has stated that the iPhone will be available on a pre-paid plan - I doubt this requires Australian residency or an Aussie credit card.

    Optus has also said that the pre-paid iPhones WILL be able to be unlocked for an $80 fee - but the actual price of the iPhone on pre-paid has not been released. It would certainly be possible to buy one, and have it unlocked instore and walk out with a totally unlocked phone.

    I'm sure the price of an unlocked phone will be approaching $1000 Australian - Telstra are selling the 16GB for $399 on a $30/month 24 month contract.

    Not worth it for US buyers unless they absolutely have to use a carrier other than AT & T - but possible
     
  13. OpenWheelFan thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2007
    #13
    Thanks! That, in essence, is what I was looking for: is this something that can be done, and if so, does it make sense? Today, AT&T mentioned that, in the future, they'll be selling the 3G with no commitment, for $599/$699. So, if I wanted to do that right away, and see if T-Mobile or someone else could service the account, then the only consideration would be the unlock price. I'm sure we'll find that out in the next week or so... ;)
     
  14. iphonequestion macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2008
    #14
    Clearly you guys are either foreigners who are unfamiliar with Australian law. The COURTS BANNED the use of "locking" on the iphone. However one can get a subsidized "unlocked" phone for cheap when combined with a data plan ;). I plan on seeing a ton of unlocked aussie phones being shipped overseas. Since I am traveling abroad, I plan on using one :)

    Sam
     
  15. TXCraig macrumors 6502a

    TXCraig

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2007
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    #15
    Your correct, I don't live in AU. I have purchased a prepaid phone from Vodaphone in Sydney that IS LOCKED to Vodaphone AU. I guess they are breaking the law...
     
  16. samab macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2006
    #16
    Optus is selling the prepaid 8 GB iphone for $729 Aus and it's simlocked. Unlocking fee is $80 Aus.

    I love how all these people said this country has this simlocking law and that country has that simlocking law --- they all turned out to be wrong.
     
  17. kamiboy macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 18, 2007
    #17
    A fully unlocked iPhone for 809AUD, I think that is the cheapest I've heard of so far.
     
  18. tcmacintosh macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2008
    #18
    Phones in Australia must have an option of being unlocked. Most carriers lock them from the beginning here in Oz. It is also generally free to unlock your phone once you have been using the phone on that carrier for a while.

    If you buy a prepaid iPhone from Optus here in Australia the unlocking fee is $80 but if you use the phone on Optus before you unlock it and you have recharged the phone with $80 (you can still use the $80 credit you recharged the phone with) or more they will unlock it for no extra cost.
     
  19. samab macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2006
    #19
    Do a search of "simlock" or "sim-lock" at the ACMA site and you will get exactly one page.

    http://www.acma.gov.au

    There is no "must unlock" option in Australia.
     
  20. AaronChiles macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2008
    Location:
    Raleigh, NC
    #20
    Optus announced that it was going to be $60 to unlock during the first 6 months of prepaid and free after 6 months (http://www.tuaw.com/2008/07/03/australian-iphone-pricing-announced/)

    I'm going to study abroad in Australia and am going to pick one up when I get there. Does anybody foresee any problems of bringing this back to the US and using it with AT&T?
     
  21. AaronChiles macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2008
    Location:
    Raleigh, NC
    #21
    Optus announced that it was going to be $60 to unlock during the first 6 months of prepaid and free after 6 months (http://www.tuaw.com/2008/07/03/australian-iphone-pricing-announced/)

    I'm going to study abroad in Australia and am going to pick one up when I get there. Does anybody foresee any problems of bringing this back to the US and using it with AT&T?
     
  22. adamerr macrumors 6502a

    adamerr

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2008
    #22
    its actually $80 to unlock....
    http://www.optusiphone.com.au/getdoc/fe459345-d9c4-437d-a665-f36ec10c7cb8/pre-paid-pricing.aspx
     

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