Why does it cost more to buy unlocked?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by Macaroooon, Sep 14, 2012.

  1. Macaroooon, Sep 14, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2012

    Macaroooon macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2012
    #1
    This might be a ridiculously stupid question/ observation, but for a 64GB iPhone 5, it costs $399 in the US, which is what, £250? And here in the UK it costs £700!
     
  2. joey561 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2010
    #2
    Thats the price on a contract in US - similar to how it may cost around £250 with a contract on a carrier here.
     
  3. Macaroooon thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Sep 9, 2012
    #3
    Ah right, I see. So unlocked it would cost more?

    I'm only curious :)
     
  4. mattopotamus macrumors G4

    mattopotamus

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    Jun 12, 2012
    #4
    unlocked US 64gb is $849
     
  5. OSMac macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2010
    #5
    Apple should promote the unlocked price at the event not a 2 year US contract price.

    They start at $699 here unlocked, $899 for the 64GB in Canada.
     
  6. joey561 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2010
    #6
    Yep! Not sure how much more, but probably around $1000? Not sure though - check the unlocked sale price of a 4S for a rough idea.
     
  7. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem

    GoCubsGo

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    Feb 19, 2005
    #7
    Yes. Don't you buy that off contract?
     
  8. Macaroooon thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Sep 9, 2012
    #8
    I don't know. I'm in the Uk, and buying it unlocked for £699, then getting a sim only contract for about £7 a month
     
  9. mattopotamus macrumors G4

    mattopotamus

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2012
    #9
    looks better to consumers. Who wouldn't want to see $199...with the little * :p
     
  10. korbui macrumors newbie

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    Sep 14, 2012
    #10
    Agree but Apple don´t seem to even be offering it unlocked yet in the US.
     
  11. KPOM macrumors G5

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2010
    #11
    It's primarily an event for the US media from a US company. Here phones are rarely sold off contract so if they quoted a phone for $649 people would fall out of their seats. Nokia tried that approach here a few years ago. Ask them how well it worked out.
     
  12. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem

    GoCubsGo

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2005
    #12
    Super. Try spending a moment now to change your thread title to something slightly more descriptive. Might I make a recommendation or two?

    • "Why does it cost more to buy unlocked?"
    • "How come it is cheaper to buy unlocked in the U.S.?"
    • "Pricing for in contract phones is cheaper than unlocked? Holy hell OMGWTFBBQ!!one!!11!"
     
  13. KPOM macrumors G5

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2010
    #13
    No, not for a few weeks, like last year. You can get it at full price if you are still on contract and not eligible for an upgrade. With AT&T you can then request that the full-priced version be unlocked.

    Actually, if you go to the Apple retail stores next week and buy the AT&T version at full price, it will also be unlocked (to be more precise, it will never be locked in the first place). Apple doesn't advertise that fact, but that's how it worked last year and how I got my unlocked iPhone a few weeks before it went on sale here.

    ----------

    Our carriers aren't into that so much. About the closest we have is T-Mobile has a $30/month prepaid plan with "unlimited" data (throttled after 5GB) and messaging, and 100 minutes. It isn't advertised much (you can only get it online or at Wal-Mart, the latter only with a throwaway phone purchase). Some MVNOs have $45 deals with unlimited everything (again with throttling after 1-2GB).

    T-Mobile actually does have "Value" plans and "Monthly 4G" prepaid plans that are $10-20 less per month than comparable plans with subsidies, but they aren't particularly popular. They made a huge push a few years ago to try to go away from subsidies (they called them the "Even More Plus" plans), but it was largely a flop and so they ratcheted back the advertising.
     
  14. LFSimon macrumors regular

    LFSimon

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2010
    Location:
    Illinois
    #14
    Cell phone companies subsidize contract phone purchases in USA

    Here in the USA the cell phone companies subsidize cell phone purchases so the bulk of the phone cost is being paid for by the cell phone company. For example right now you can get an iPhone 4 for free.

    Does it work that way in the US too?

    In order to do this the cell phone companies do two things: First they require you to enter into a 2 year contract with financial penalties if you cancel early and second they lock the phones.
     
  15. Macaroooon thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Sep 9, 2012
    #15
    I see, thanks for all explaining. I didn't understand it all, but do now!
     
  16. korbui macrumors newbie

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    Sep 14, 2012
    #16
    Thanks for this info... i will defenetely give it a try. I´m visiting the US on the 26th - 1okt so it would be a dream to get 2 unlocked phones for me and the wife :)
     
  17. jclardy macrumors 68040

    jclardy

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2008
    #17
    They don't because nobody else does. Mainly because in the US there is little incentive to buy off contract, the monthly plan prices are the same subsidized or not.
     
  18. KPOM macrumors G5

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    Oct 23, 2010
    #18
    Where in the US? I'd check out www.apple.com/retail when you are about to arrive. Last year Apple set up a reservation system after the first day in which you logged onto the site at 9:00pm and selected the phone you wanted to buy the next day in the store. You still needed to wait in line, but as long as you got there by 6:00pm the phone was waiting for you. If it's the same then reserve the AT&T version. As long as you pay full price it will be unlocked.

    Note that although AT&T stores will also sell the phones at full retail, you have to request them to unlock it. They claim they will do it with a receipt from a non-customer showing a purchase from an authorized site, but it takes up to 7 days to process and so by that time you'd be out of the country. I'd stick with Apple stores.
     
  19. korbui macrumors newbie

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    Sep 14, 2012
    #19
    Ok :) Thanks again. I´ll keep tabs on the store and reserve one if that becomes an option.

    I´ll be in Boston
     
  20. braindead5400 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2010
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    #20
    Apple also did the off contract pricing with the original iPhone but they didn't have a problem selling a bunch of them.
     
  21. KPOM macrumors G5

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2010
    #21
    If you are renting a car, try the store in New Hampshire. The suburban stores tend to be less crowded than the city stores (that's particularly true here in the NYC area), and there's no sales tax in New Hampshire, so that $649 phone will cost you $649 (plus gas). I think sales tax is 6.25% in Massachusetts.
     
  22. Moccasin macrumors 6502a

    Moccasin

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2011
    Location:
    Newcastle, UK
    #22
    If you do the sums on sim-free phones and contract phones, the overall cost over 2 years seems to be about £100 different this year.

    O2 Simplicity £20 (unlimited calls/txts/1G data) is £480 and then £529 for the 16GB phone is £1009.

    The cheapest O2 contract deal is £624 (26 x24) + £250 for the handset = £874

    So either O2 are subsidising the cost by about £100 or Apple is charging the operators less - or probably a mixture of the two.

    Not sure how that compares to the US?
     

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