What's the point of the contract-free AT&T iPhone 4S?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by ThomasJL, Nov 26, 2011.

  1. ThomasJL macrumors 6502a

    Oct 16, 2008
    Why the hell does anyone even buy a full-priced contract-free AT&T iPhone 4S??? There is absolutely no good reason to buy a full-priced AT&T iPhone 4S, especially considering that it costs the exact same price as the factory unlocked iPhone 4S.

    AT&T iPhone 4S will cost the exact same price as the factory unlocked iPhone 4S, but the AT&T version will have a much lower resale value.

    I know some fanboys will argue that there are rumors saying that AT&T phone may be unlocked. Who cares??? AT&T can lock it at any time in the future, and you can bet that they likely will. AT&T has never unlocked any iPhone in the past, ever. Also, Apple can release a software update in the future that can lock the AT&T iPhone 4S. But AT&T and Apple will never lock an factory unlocked iPhone.

    So, is there even one advantage to buying the full-priced AT&T iPhone 4S over the exact same-priced factory unlocked iPhone 4S???
  2. razorbeard, Nov 26, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2011

    razorbeard macrumors newbie

    Nov 26, 2011
    Can't really see any advantages for someone in the states.

    What if someone from outside the states bought the full priced phone when they were visiting here and brought it back to their country to use with a foreign sim. ATT's lock wouldn't affect them, right? Their advantage would be saving on the price/currency differences.
  3. TM WAZZA macrumors 68000

    Sep 18, 2010
    Hamilton, New Zealand
  4. b24pgg macrumors 65816

    Jan 28, 2009
    Bought one for $712 after tax. Took it for a relative abroad where it is currently selling for $888.

    So, there's a good reason.

    Also for people who are grandfathered with really old and cheap contracts, buying at full price prevents the need for a new more expensive contract
  5. Phil A. Moderator

    Phil A.

    Staff Member

    Apr 2, 2006
    Shropshire, UK
    Wirelessly posted (iPhone 4: Mozilla/5.0 (Linux; U; Android 2.3.5; en-gb; GT-I9100 Build/GINGERBREAD) AppleWebKit/533.1 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0 Mobile Safari/533.1)

    A locked phone is locked in all countries
  6. wordoflife macrumors 604


    Jul 6, 2009
    When you buy an AT&T 4S at full price, it automatically comes unlocked.
  7. illini71 macrumors member

    Dec 28, 2010
    Are you sure about that? I would think any iphone bought from ATT would be locked. Cant you you purchase them unlocked through apple.
  8. Daytona 360 macrumors member

    Apr 29, 2010
    Please stop spreading inaccurate information. As indicated in this thread:

    Someone has chatted with Apple Store support, and support said once a phone is unlocked, it will remain unlocked:

    Also, what if an Apple Store runs out of the factory unlocked model? Instead of losing a sale, they can sell you an AT&T device only model, which is unlocked as well:

    Someone may ask: "What's the point?"
    The physical (in the box anyways) difference is that the AT&T phone comes with an AT&T micro SIM, but no SIM eject tool. The factory unlocked model comes with a SIM eject tool but no SIM card.

    The AT&T sells the micro SIM for $15 (you can find cheaper online though).

    The SIM eject tool costs...10 cents maybe? And you can replicate the same functionality with a paper clip or a 0.9mm screw driver.

    If someone is already on AT&T (either still in contract or going month-to-month) and they don't already have a micro SIM, and they do not want to renew a contract for whatever reason, they can just get the AT&T device only model, and simply call AT&T to make a SIM transfer.
  9. Jordan921 macrumors 601


    Jul 7, 2010
    Bay Area
    Why do you care what other people do? It's their money and if they want to buy an unlocked phone they can.
  10. Ccrew macrumors 68020

    Feb 28, 2011
    Best answer yet! :D
  11. bluemonkeyguy, Nov 26, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2011
  12. fizzwinkus macrumors 6502a

    Jan 27, 2008
    the biggest advantage i can think of is they wanted the phone before the unlocked model was released. i usually get a new iPhone on launch day but waited a month for the unlocked model.
  13. NikeTalk macrumors 6502a

    Apr 5, 2010
  14. iSayuSay macrumors 68040


    Feb 6, 2011
    Yes .. that may be right, unless you go abroad often, well then an unlocked iPhone would certainly help.

    Unlocked iPhone is popular in countries that has less carrier-contract system as we do. Many other countries just use prepaid data plan for their phones, which can be quite fun too, just simple "pay to play" rule.

    The downside is you have to pay full priced iPhone upfront (well you can still have your credit card to reduce the burden) but still, you don't get data plan with your purchase yet.

    So, you won't understand how hard it is for people outside to enjoy an iPhone because they have less supportive system for iPhone. You'll be amazed out there where only rich people can show off their expensive iPhone just because there are no contract for it.

    And the funny side is, Apple market iPhone price with subsidized price, starts from $199 :eek: .. so some dude out there often misunderstand and thought the original price of an iPhone is $199 - $399 while they have to pay $800 - $1000 for their gray market iPhone. And then they often feel bad about it, bashing U.S for getting iPhone on extremely "lower" price. Well .. can't blame them, but yeah .. "fine prints matter, heh?" :D
  15. wordoflife macrumors 604


    Jul 6, 2009
    Only 4S' bought at full price come unlocked.(AT&T)
  16. AttilaTheHun macrumors 65816


    Feb 18, 2010
    so let me give you a small advice
    buy your iphone 4S 64GB at ATT for $399.00 sell it for $600 ( some one with not 2 year upgrade will buy it)
    go and buy the unlock one for $849..
  17. Irock619 macrumors 68000


    Sep 16, 2011
    San Francisco, CA
    Hahaha, probably because he is considering buying an unlocked phone and is tying to make sense of it all.
  18. ThomasJL thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Oct 16, 2008
    And since they can do the exact same thing with the factory unlocked iPhone for the exact same price, what's the point of buying the AT&T model? How is it even in one way a benefit to buy the AT&T model in that scenario?

    With the AT&T model, you pay the exact same price and lose hundreds of dollars of resale value. Plus, you have to go through the hassle of telling the Apple store clerk to ring up the AT&T model up as "device only" so it can then be unlocked (because it doesn't come unlocked) and most of them will have no idea about what you're talking about. What is the benefit of going through that hassle?

    Please tell me: Can you name even one benefit of purchasing the full-priced AT&T model instead of the exact same-priced factory unlocked model?


    Because, probably unlike you, I actually travel overseas a lot, and I'm sick and tired of going through so much hassle because it's the norm in America to keep iPhones locked.

    Why do you care what other people write, that you have to troll on their thread? Go ahead and spend your money on a full-priced locked AT&T iPhone 4S, and enjoy the moment when it comes time to sell your device and you get hundreds less in resale than someone who bought a factory unlocked version. And in the case that you do travel overseas, enjoy the moment when you arrive overseas and discover an AT&T or Apple software update re-locked your phone.

    I don't care if trolls like you get shafted by AT&T and Apple, but I do care if friendly people who don't know any better do, and that's why I wrote this thread.
  19. AbyssImpact macrumors 6502a

    Aug 6, 2010
    Well I got my unlocked 4s on launch day while you waited for the factory unlocked version that came one month later. I am one month ahead of you while you are one month behind.
  20. iSayuSay macrumors 68040


    Feb 6, 2011
    And for now .. it doesnt matter anymore since in the end people can get factory unlocked iPhone official from Apple. One problem with your phone is you dont know whether ATT will eventually locked your phone or not, IMEI numbers can be registered to them, who knows.
  21. vitzr macrumors 68030


    Jul 28, 2011
    I see it as just another alternative choice. Generally those who choose this route argue it's a money saver & it saves them from being locked into a certain carrier.

    Conversely I have personally done the math, and it's more expensive with no distinct advantages. You've got to use a carrier anyway.

    In addition you're on your own if a faulty phone gives you trouble. I have lots of experience in this arena also since over half of my phones I buy unlocked via a distributor I know in Hong Kong who supplies me with phones unavailable in the USA.

    In my case the additional expense is worth it since I'm such a mobile enthusiast.
  22. Jordan921, Nov 26, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2011

    Jordan921 macrumors 601


    Jul 7, 2010
    Bay Area
    It's just funny that you care what other people do with their money. If they want to buy a device only phone then let them. Most of the people that are doing this are getting unlocked ones.
  23. Daytona 360 macrumors member

    Apr 29, 2010
    If my AT&T device-only phone is unlocked, what resale value do I lose? An unlocked phone is an unlocked phone. There are no AT&T logos or markings on the phone itself.

    When you normally buy an iPhone from an Apple Store, the specialist will need to scan the bar codes on the box (the serial number, ICC ID, and the IMEI), then ask you your phone number, your last name, and last 4 digit of your SSN. Then s/he will wait for the computer to response to determine if you are eligible for any upgrade pricing.

    When I bought mine (AT&T device only), he just checked the option that says device only, scanned the bar codes, and asked for my credit card.

    I hardly find that a hassle at all.

    My friend did exactly this: He had an iPhone 4, and his wife is on the 3GS (both on AT&T). He is upgrading to the 4S and giving the 4 to his wife. So he bought the 4S device only, took out the SIM from the 4 and put it into the 4S. Then he called AT&T to transfer his wife's mini SIM to the micro SIM from the 4S. Plugged that SIM into the 4 and it worked as expected.

    And also a point that I have said before: what if a store runs out the SKU of the factory unlocked model? A specialist can ring up the SKU of the AT&T model, sell it as device only, and it will still be unlocked.
  24. fizzwinkus macrumors 6502a

    Jan 27, 2008
    that's your advice for why someone would buy a 850 att iPhone over a 850 unlocked iPhone?
    let me give you some advice. buy a 850 unlocked iPhone. go on with your life and stop futzing around for a mere 200.
  25. Shadyriley macrumors 6502

    Mar 27, 2009
    The att&t iPhone4S is the only one that has hspa+ making it the fastest iPhone 4S available, also having it unlocked means you can travel outside the country and not get charged roaming fees

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