Should I buy an iphone with or without contract?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by powelrainbow, Aug 23, 2009.

  1. powelrainbow macrumors newbie

    Dec 17, 2008
    These questions might sound ridiculous to some of you but since I've never owned an iphone before,
    they are of great importance to me in order to understand this matter, so take them seriously please! ;)

    I'm going for the new iphone 3Gs but if I should buy one bound to a carrier or not that's the question(risky considering questions 12-14).

    (P.S. I have an ipod touch 2G so I know some about jailbreaking)

    1. I live in Japan at the moment but planning on moving to LA, California next year so I wonder,
    in the long run, which would be the best option for me, buy with contract(one in Japan and one in US) or a carrier-free from ex. Hong Kong?

    2. if I buy an iphone with contract here in Japan(softbank), or any part of the world actually, can it be 100% unlocked, yes or no?

    3. if unlocked, can I later bring it to the US(or anywhere) and use it with ex. T-mobile?

    4. if I go for a contract, will I be able to keep the iphone(after the infamous 24 months of payment) or what else will happen?

    5. What will happen if I cancel a contract, will they take back the iphone?

    6. If I cancel a contract, how much(approx.) will I pay in fine, is it the remaining fee from the 24 months contract or more?

    7. Is there any difference in unlocking a carrier-locked iphone or a carrier-free iphone( from Hong kong)...just jailbreaking on the HK iphone?

    8. Is there any other carrier than T-mobile that has working GSM SIM for the iphone in the US?

    9. Any carrier(US) that can offer just the SIM card without a phone (if possible with data plan as well)?

    10. Read somewhere that if you use prepaid SIM, you can only call and receive calls and not receive sms/mms/mail...true?

    11. Can I receive sms/mms/mail on a contract based SIM?

    12. Some people have referred to a problem called "error 23", what is that?

    13. How can it get this error 23? Can it be fixed? How can I AVOID getting this error?
    (except lame answers like: -"Dude, don't hack your iphone then huhuhu"):confused:

    13. What does it mean the iphone gets "bricked"? Is it software or hardware related? Is it broken for all eternity and beyond?

    14. If I buy an iphone, unlock it and jailbreak it, how big are my chances of getting it bricked or the "error 23" message?

    15. If it's on contract and there is no way of "unbricking" of fixing any error, will apple see that it's been unlocked(considering warranty)?

    16. How can I make sure that my iphone is "empty" of all the "warranty voiding" evidence like apps, scripts, errors etc.

    17. Can it be "emptied" even in bricked mode?

    18. If I buy an iphone legally unlocked(HK, Belgium, Italy etc.) and it breaks, do I have to send it back to where I bought it or can
    I send it to apple(world wide warranty or what it's called...)?

    19. If I decide to buy iphone with contract(I won't travel anywhere for at least 10 months), would you say it is less risky(question 12-14) if I just
    jailbreak it and wait with unlocking it until I leave for US(maybe by then there should be safer measures to hack iphone 3gs)?

    20. Let's just say I've bought an iphone, jailbroke it, unlocked it and now I want to restore it, is it just plug in and restore it in itunes
    or is there something I have to be aware of about recovery mode(ex. have to use right OS so I don't brick it or get error 23 etc.)

    21. Should I avoid any kind of update while on a unlocked and jailbroken iphone?

    22. Read that some got "bricked" while uploading old backup to their iphones...what's the safest way to update(OS, carrier update etc.)

    23. Last question(for now)....something I can't understand is that people want to unlock their iphones so they can choose different carriers in different countries etc. right?
    But won't that be more expensive? For ex...either you buy iphone from HK(approx. 700 USD depending on size) and then get a subscription(because you need it anyway in order for the phone to have its fully potential powers) an iphone with subscription, unlock it and get another carrier...which leaves you with 2 carriers to pay monthly....either way it will be soo damn expensive!! Yes, you might go for pre-paid SIM card but then we have problem as in question "nr. 10"...or am I missing something else here??

    There might be more questions or things I haven't thought of yet but which are of great importance...if so and you spotted it, please let me know, thank you for all your help!! :)
  2. philgilder macrumors 68000

    Sep 30, 2007
    1. pprobably buy it from hong kong
    2. yes
    3. probably. i think there are some issues with t-mobile and at&t being on different frequencies but not being in the US i'm not sure.
    4. yes, the phone is yours
    5. they will either take it back, or make you pay the remainder of the contract, as part of that contract pays for the phone
    6. it won't be more, just look at the softbank website
    7. nope, unlocking is very easy to do. only thing is, unlock generally takes longer than a jailbreak, so there will be minor delays as to when you can unlock an iphone. however, with carrier free, it should be fine to update
    8. at&t
    9. look on the US carrier websites
    10. no idea
    11. yes
    12. no idea
    13. software, and yes, totally broken. although actually bricking an iphone is very hard
    14. very, very slim
    15. yes
    16. restore it in itunes
    17. no, although if bricked, it will be hard for apple to see if it has been unlocked
    18. look in the warranty t&c's
    19. it is perfectly safe to unlock now, but why unlock when you don't need to?
    20. nope, just a restore should be fine, although if you do it in DFU mode (google that) then it may work better
    21. yes, until you see that it has been unlocked. is a good guide site
    22. normally. they must have done something stupid

    by the way, all these can be answered by using search, either on google or this forum
  3. powelrainbow thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 17, 2008
    Thank you so much "philgilder" for fast reply, though I have spent more than 3 days on the internet trying to find a concrete answer to my questions which is somewhat problematic, hence my measures of writing down my bible of questions here...but hey, that's what forums are all about...helping each other out with information :D
  4. The Californian macrumors 68040

    The Californian

    Jan 17, 2009
    Surfers Paradise
    Wow, I really should have checked what I was getting into. haha. Hope this helps.

    PS: You have two question 13's. haha
  5. powelrainbow thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 17, 2008
    thanx xbuddycorex!!!! wonderful reply hehehe :D thank you so much! got some replies...

    1. Obviously it would make much more sense to buy one out of contract which you can switch over to when you get to LA or, better yet ... Just wait until you get to LA. By the way ... LA isn't that great of a place to live, look into good suburbs or Orange County.Just have to find a way to get to Hong Kong then and find an iphone that is probably already sold out.
    Any way to order one through internet? Haha thanks for the tip, but I just go where the jobs n money is…LA, SF etc…but my wife was born in Orange County so who knows…you live there?

    2. It can be 100% unlocked a la a software unlock but this may prevent you from updating the iPhone Operating System when they release firmware updates because it may break the unlock and you don't want to be without a phone. This official Apple list will show you what countries sell officially unlocked iPhones.But I guess the updates will not be installed automatically?

    8. Actually AT&T is the only official iPhone carrier in the US. If you have an unlocked iPhone through T-Mobile some features will not work, like Visual Voicemail. Ah who wants visual bastards hehe

    13. Another question 13? It means the iPhone is most likely stuck in DFU (restore) mode like I mentioned above. It is usually a software problem, but Apple has made if almost impossible for someone to fix this on their own. Yes, you usually can't do anything about it. yeah sorry about that hehe...13 keeps haunting me..gaaah! anyway...then the "brick mode" can only happen to the iphones that are "carrier-locked(AT&T)" right? Or can it happen to the legally unlocked(HK, Italy etc.) phones as well? (quoting you on quiz 7 - "the unlock can be broken by an Apple iPhone update.") You can probably understand that it's not nice to buy an expensive trip to china and buy an expensive toy that will later break(brick?) down, and no store will take it in.

    14. You're more likely to get hit by a car.I see the car coming towards me...that's a good sign then right?

    20. You're really worried about error 23 aren't you? haha. Yes, you can just plug it in and restore it NOT using the Jailbroken packet.oh you have no idea! after the horror stories I've read about error 23, and after the Jim Carrey movie "The number 23" I will have nightmares about it hahaha...i'm like a true yankee...paranoid n defensive...even though I'm swedish...

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