This looks like a stupid question. But in Asian countries like Hong Kong, China, Singapore, Thailand etc, people typically choose from hundreds of models of handsets of any brand, and even phones not even officially released in that country. They then spend a few bucks on a SIM card and is free to dump the card and switch to a different carrier the next day, for the cost of the SIM card only. These prepaid or non-commitment postpaid SIM cards come with many different options of data/voice text for different demands. People simply don't have to buy a cell phone from a carrier. And it's free of any commitment. (There are Best Buy in the US, but there is no difference from buying an iPhone at Best Buy or from a carrier) iPhones sold in those countries are also officially unlocked. Why the US carrier can force you to have a two year commitment, if you simply want the handset? What happens if you are a frequent world traveler and do not like the international roaming charges? What if you simply want your iPhone and want to insert a local SIM card whichever country you go to, for reasonable local rates? That's simply impossible in the U.S.