What are some reasons why people buy unlocked iPhones?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by macbook123, Feb 1, 2012.

  1. macbook123 macrumors 68000

    Feb 11, 2006
    I just got a brand new replacement iPhone 4 and am considering selling it and getting a new 4s. In order to help me make that decision, I'd appreciate folks input on the following questions:

    1) What are some reasons why people buy an unlocked iPhone? Are the data plans really cheaper when not under a contract? If so, why doesn't everybody switch to one of those cheaper data plans after their contract runs out?

    2) Will I be able to sell my phone as unlocked? I bought it when the iPhone 4 originally came out, so that's less than 2 years ago. However I know that I am upgrade eligible. If I upgrade, will my old iPhone (that is now a brand new iPhone 4) will become unlocked automatically?

    3) Can I change provider in this move, or does it require that I stay with ATT? My understanding is that my contract really only ends 2 years after I got the phone, unless I stay with ATT and upgrade.
  2. wordoflife macrumors 604


    Jul 6, 2009
    1) AT&T doesn't offer cheaper rates if you use an unlocked phone or AT&T locked iPhone.

    2) An unlocked iPhone stays unlocked forever, even when it is sold. AT&T iPhones cannot be unlocked officially, so no. Your iPhone 4 would still stay locked.

    3) You can physically take out the AT&T SIM and put in a T-Mobile one, but you still have a contract (until it expires) with AT&T that you will pay them. If it expires, then you can get rid of them completely. If it isn't expired, you still need to pay them.

    People mainly buy unlocked phones for international travel. For your needs, it sounds like an AT&T locked phone would be better for you (and cheaper).
  3. macbook123 thread starter macrumors 68000

    Feb 11, 2006
    Thanks. So even if I walk into the ATT store today to get a 4s, my iPhone 4 will still be locked into a contract, i.e., I won't be able to sell it as an unlocked phone?
  4. Shadowbech macrumors 68040

    Oct 18, 2011
    Planet iPhone
    Correct, you won't be able to sell the iphone 4 as an unlocked phone (you will have to sell it as a locked phone). AT&T does not offer carrier unlocked and does not unlock iphones on any circumstances.

    Only way to unlock the iphone 4 that is locked is by jailbreaking the phone.
  5. macbook123 thread starter macrumors 68000

    Feb 11, 2006
    Didn't jailbreaking just become a crime?
  6. 808? macrumors 6502a

    Aug 4, 2011
    Hong Kong
    You can't even buy a locked iPhone where I live. :D
  7. macbook123 thread starter macrumors 68000

    Feb 11, 2006
    OK, so if I jailbreak my iPhone I can sell it. But is this a criminal offense in the US or is it legal?
  8. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    International travel requires unlock.

    Higher resale value for unlocked phone.

    Other countries: cheaper plans for owning your own device.

    You can sell it without jailbreak. But unless you are on iOS 4.x or have taken precautions you cannot carrier unlock iPhone 4.
  9. macbook123 thread starter macrumors 68000

    Feb 11, 2006
    How much can I get, given that the buyer will be tied to ATT anyway? Why would they spend more than $99 if that is what the iPhone 4 costs at Apple now?
  10. Jordan921 macrumors 68040


    Jul 7, 2010
    Bay Area
    It only cost $99 if you sign a 2year contract. Most people buying second hand don't want to sign a new 2year contract to get the phone
  11. macbook123 thread starter macrumors 68000

    Feb 11, 2006
    How much would they be willing to pay? Also, will it be contract free if I upgrade to the 4s within ATT, despite the fact that my contract only expires in June?
  12. jaynone macrumors member

    Jan 2, 2012
    I bought an unlocked iPhone because....

    1. I travel to the states quite often and want to be able to use a local providers sim card

    2. I don't want to sign a contract at home, and from doing that I've been able to get a lot of free **** from my normal provider

    3. I want to deal with Apple for any warranty claims and not be stuck with dealing with the idiot repair department at my normal provider.
  13. Applejuiced macrumors Westmere


    Apr 16, 2008
    At the iPhone hacks section.
    With any iphone model you can go straight to apple for any warranty or repair issue.
    You dont have to go to your carriers repair tech even with a locked iphone.
    If you do they will just tell you to go to Apple.
  14. jaynone macrumors member

    Jan 2, 2012
    Yup, but its still a reason I bought an unlocked phone so I listed it.
  15. Jordan921 macrumors 68040


    Jul 7, 2010
    Bay Area
    Ummm iPhone 4 are going for 275-325 i think atm. If you want to buy contract free then you would have to buy the phone for full price.
  16. mattraehl macrumors 6502

    Feb 26, 2005
    In the US there are very few practical reasons to buy an unlocked phone.
  17. motoleo macrumors 6502a


    Jan 27, 2012
    I'm looking for an unlocked phone.

    Reason being, I don't want to have a carrier. When I go overseas, I may be able to use it.

    Also, it's the only way you can get an new iPhone without a contract. That's a big one!
  18. bandofbrothers macrumors 601


    Oct 14, 2007
    I prefer unlocked phones because

    I can use whatever network I choose.
    No imposed network software on an unlocked phone.
    Better price when I come to sell it on.

    Not with the iPhone but with Nokia if a global software update is released the networks like to delay the release of it whilst they strangle it with their own restrictions etc.
  19. pooleman Suspended


    Jan 11, 2012
    Eastern CT
    I just sold my nearly 2 year old iPhone 4, 16 gig, for $275 on ebay. I used the money to buy a new iPhone 4S, from AT&T, for $199.

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