Please Help a Traveler: get an unlocked iP4 or a locked one?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by nyczrl, Jan 1, 2011.

  1. nyczrl, Jan 1, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2011

    nyczrl macrumors newbie

    Apr 10, 2008
    Hi all,

    Firstly I am thankful that this website offers a forum for discussion and solutions to problems... it's great and I'd appreciate any help from the members on the board.

    I currently have a Blackberry Bold with a regular AT&T phone/data plan (not under contract).
    I can either:
    - buy the iPhone 4 16 g for ~$650 USD in Hong Kong (I'm meeting a friend from there this week so it'll be easy to grab)
    - sign a new contract with AT&T for two years and get it for $200 USD

    Problem is that I'm going to be spending a lot of time outside the States for several months but am planning to return back afterwards... By paying the hefty factory unlocked price, I don't have to worry about jailbreaking/unlocking and I can simply change plans as I simply move. However, I'm deciding whether I should just sign the new contract and move outside of the country with the data plan...
    This post over at Apple Support forums scared me: is it true that I won't be able to get data on my iP4 with a factory unlocked phone within the US... or is this just specific to the pay-as-you-go plan? In other words, can I just pop in the AT&T sim card from my blackberry, call AT&T to tell them about the phone switch, and use it in the iPhone... then proceed to just stop the plan when I go abroad and use abroad carriers?

    I'm just a bit confused by this whole ordeal and frankly, I am a bit annoyed by Apple (or AT&T's) obsession with making it difficult for American travelers. What would you recommend the best route for me to go considering my situation? I want the best value with the least complications...
    I don't want to go through jailbreaking as it's annoying and may cause legal problems in the future (in terms of warranty/etc).

    Another small question: still worth it to get the iPhone now or should I wait a little bit? (is there heavy speculation that a new and much better upgrade will be coming out)?
  2. nyczrl thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 10, 2008
    Sorry to bring this back up, but thought it'd get more traction this way...

    Planning on buying the unlocked one tomorrow... any glaring things I should know about before doing so?

  3. X2thaP, Jan 2, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2011

    X2thaP macrumors member

    Nov 28, 2010
    1. In those months you're basically not really going to use the plan that much, so I'd say to go for the unlocked one and choose/change the plan or prepaid sim however you please whenever you please. I did/do the same thing when going to different countries, just get the cheapest or most interesting sim card deal for that country.

    2. I wouldn't call $650 for the 16GB model a hefty price actually. In most European countries (like here in Belgium for example) you're looking at the same price but in €€, so that's like $870 converted.

    This one will have to be answered by someone living in the US, can't help you there.

    Again, unlocked iPhone you can get from your friend, in my opinion. I had to go through the jailbreaking/unlocking process with my 2G and it became really tiring and annoying after a while, although it had some advantages as well. But I decided not to jailbreak my iPhone4 simply because I can get almost anything I want/need from the Apple app store and because the phone is factory unlocked.

    In my opinion it is still worth it for a couple of reasons. First of all, the new model won't come out until june or so, so that's half a year away.
    Second reason is that, for example, I had the 2G iPhone since the beginning and kept it until the release of the iPhone4, so I used it for almost 4 years without it having any troubles. Now I sold it to someone who is still using it! It is slower and has less functions, but it's still a kick-ass iPhone. So getting an iPhone4 now, doesn't mean you have to buy an iPhone5/4G when it comes out, nor does it mean the iPhone4 will become obsolete and useless, as my 2G story proves.

    Hope this helps you out a bit.
  4. oakie macrumors 6502


    Oct 16, 2008
    you will get data just fine on a contract plan with an officially unlocked iPhone4. that issue you reference is unique to people using the iPhone4 on a PAYG plan.

    i know this because i have an unlocked iPhone4 i bought in Canada and use it here in the US on a contract plan. i have absolutely no data issues.
  5. Aatos.1 macrumors 6502

    Dec 31, 2010
    True, a friend of mine travels between Canada and the US, has a setup like this and it's great.

Share This Page