Why are iPhones only available in some countries?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by mammadon, Dec 16, 2010.

  1. mammadon macrumors member

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    Dec 16, 2010
    #1
    Why is it that in some countries, unlocked iPhones are standard yet in other countries contracts are standard?
     
  2. darkside flow macrumors 6502

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    Toronto
    #2
    Depends strictly on the carriers.

    You'll probably never see an iPhone unlocked in USA while AT&T has exclusivity, while just north of the border you can buy iPhones unlocked and even Rogers will now unlock it for a small fee for contracted users.
     
  3. TruckdriverSean macrumors 6502a

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    #3
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/532.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0.5 Mobile/8B117 Safari/6531.22.7)

    Different business models work better in different places. Regulations, (or lack there of) play a big part too.

    In the U.S. for example, people have gotten used to the idea of buying a carrier locked and subsidized ($600 phone for $200) mobile phone and signing a two year contract. Switching phone carriers (while retaining the same phone) is difficult if not impossible in many cases due to the various technologies (CDMA & GSM) and radio frequencies in use in the States.

    In other countries, customers buy their hardware outright at full price, then pick a carrier, switching carriers when it suits their needs. This is fairly simple since European carriers use GSM phones of the same frquency bands (required by law, IIRC).

    While buying a phone at full price and without a contract really appeals to me personally, it is arguable that the practice would lock a large portion of people out of the market due to the high up front cost. Would we have such a large & ever rising proportion of US consumers using smartphones if the price had been $500-$700 each? It's hard to say exactly, but I think not.
     
  4. samab macrumors 6502a

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    #4
    At the same time, switching carriers in Europe and in Asia is difficult financially --- because they don't have Early Termination Fees (let alone pro-rated ETF's). You have to pay off the rest of the remaining contract in order to get out of your existing phone contract. Technically easy to switch carriers because they all use GSM, but financially much harder for them to switch carriers.
     
  5. kdarling macrumors demi-god

    kdarling

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    #5
    And just for info, here is Apple's list of their carriers around the world, also marked as to which ones will unlock the iPhone or not.

    http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1937
     
  6. mammadon thread starter macrumors member

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    Dec 16, 2010
    #6
    OK, thanks for that. :)

    Do any countries have iPhone on a pay as you go (non-contract) format?
     
  7. el-John-o macrumors 65816

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    Missouri
    #7
    Not to mention that very nicely sized number of free entry-level smartphones that AT&T has offered. Usually the lower-end blackberries, non-touch Windows Mobile phones (like the blackjack) and now even some android refurbs are absolutely free with contract. Where I live AT&T is the best service provider, in terms of signal strength and coverage, and I've been with them for almost 10 years. Why the heck wouldn't I sign on for 2 more years to get $400 off my phone? Yes please!
     
  8. vant macrumors 65816

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    Jul 1, 2009
    #8
    The US uses the contract method because we love going into debt to buy things. We love to get things at a lower cost, despite paying more for it later.

    The ideal method is buying a phone at a store, and selecting a carrier. The stupid method is going to a carrier, and then picking a phone. We end up with stupid situations like the iPhone being locked to only AT&T or the Droid X locked on Verizon only.

    Full price phones is not an issue. There are phones selling for as little as $25 off contract. It's the American 'borrowing dream' that has lead us to this unfortunate route.
     
  9. mammadon thread starter macrumors member

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    #9
    Perhaps. Smartphone sales are very high in countries that have predominantly non-contract sales, such as Europe, so I think it balances out.
     
  10. ACDeag macrumors regular

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    Edinburgh, UK
    #10
    The UK does on O2 and Orange. You can also buy the iPhone 4 unlocked and without a contract from Apple UK.
     
  11. samab macrumors 6502a

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    #11
    When the first gen iphone was first sold in France, the then exclusive iphone carrier, France Telecom, stated that about 5% of the people who bought the iphone from them --- bought them at full price without contract.

    In Europe, you have the OPTION to buy handsets at full price without contract --- but that's a very small (but vocal) population.

    The greater population gets a much better consumer experience the American way --- you can get out of contract relatively cheaply with pro-rated ETF's and your new carrier will give you a zero dollar free phone. Who cares if you are switching from a CDMA carrier to a GSM carrier when you are getting a free phone. CPU speed doubles every 18 months --- which means that my zero dollar free phone circa 2010 will be better than your $600 2 year old phone circa 2008.
     
  12. samab macrumors 6502a

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    Mar 27, 2006
    #12
    Of course, these people also thinks a glorified high-end feature phone from Nokia is really a smartphone.

    Smartphones are mainly sold with a contract in Europe now --- and the contract lengths approach the US in length. 3-4 years ago, nobody in UK ever heard of contracts exceeding 12 months. Now contracts with 18 months or longer have been 70-80% of UK contract market. Enterprise customers are getting 3 year carrier contracts in UK now.
     
  13. ACDeag macrumors regular

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    Edinburgh, UK
    #13
    New EU rules mean that customers must be able to choose from 12, 18 or 24 month contracts and that for personal customers no contract can be longer than 24 months. I believe they are effective mid-2011.
     
  14. samab macrumors 6502a

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    #14
    "Choice" means that consumers will ultimately choose the 18-24 months contract.
     
  15. iKrl macrumors regular

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    Jun 2, 2009
    #15
    In Mexico you can buy the phone locked to a carrier for full price and have gophone, you can also buy it for a further 30 dollars unlocked on the Apple online store
     

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