Will Apple ever sell officially unlocked iPhone in the US?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by pika2000, Jan 15, 2011.

  1. pika2000 macrumors 68030

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    Jun 22, 2007
    #1
    The previous argument about Apple not selling unlocked iPhones in the US was due to AT&T exclusivity. Well, that exclusivity is over, yet I don't see any changes. The thing is, the alternate carrier is not another GSM carrier, but Verizon where the iPhone will also be provider locked. Even worse, Apple seems to tighten down their supply to countries where they are selling them unlocked like Singapore, HK, etc, where iPhone 4s that are supposed to be available online are not anymore, and supplies in retail seems to be drying out. Only the 3GS is widely available.

    The alternatives are even worse (Android, WP7). The OEMs that make Android and WP7 phones are only making handsets with dual-band 3G for the unlocked markets (eg. Singapore) without US 3G support. This really limits one's option in buying these phones for use in the US. Apple and Nokia are the only companies that have quad-band (penta-band in case of Nokia) 3G support.

    Frustrating. :mad:
     
  2. Apple... macrumors 68020

    Apple...

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    #2
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPod; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_2_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8C148 Safari/6533.18.5)

    I predict not.
     
  3. fertilized-egg macrumors 68020

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    #3
    Time to take a trip to the friendly neighbors north of the border. In Canada the iPhone unlocks you!
     
  4. jplusc macrumors 6502a

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    #4
    I think that if the iPhone 5, or whatever the name is, uses a dual CDMA/GSM radio that we will finally see an unlocked option in the US.
     
  5. InsanelyApple macrumors 6502

    InsanelyApple

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    #5
    In Soviet Russia, iPhone unlocks Apple. Yeah, but in all seriousness, no, not until T-Mobile gets the iPhone in the US.

    ~Peace :cool:
     
  6. Goldinboy17 macrumors 65816

    Goldinboy17

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    #6
    I don't think Apple will release an unlocked iPhone in the U.S. any time soon. Besides there's not many options here anyways. AT&T is be the only national GSM carrier an it already sells it. Unless Apple modified it's phone to use the 1700/2100 3G frequencies I don't see the huge need for it.
     
  7. Demosthenes X macrumors 68000

    Demosthenes X

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    #7
    iPhone 4 is still available unlocked in the Canadian Apple online store... So if they're worried about people buying them unlocked and selling them in the US, they don't seem to be doing much about it.

    If I had to guess, I'd say they're more worried about people buying them to resell in China, which I know was happening a lot even here in Canada at launch. Now that iPhone 4 is available legitimately in China, though, I would have expected that resale to slow down...

    As to your question, I think Apple will offer an unlocked device in the US. They're in the business of selling hardware, and the more avenues people can buy an iPhone from, the more iPhones Apple will sell. If it's worth their time and effort to make a CDMA version, it's worth their time to sell an unlocked one...

    (Although, IIRC AT&T and T-Mobile use slightly different tech, so Apple would need to design a new radio for a universal US iPhone... or something?)
     
  8. SDAVE macrumors 68040

    SDAVE

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    #8
    So can you order from the Canadian Apple store and get it shipped to the U.S.?
     
  9. Rajani Isa macrumors 65816

    Rajani Isa

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    #9
    It's a case of what frequecies the device operates on - the GSM signal used by AT&T is different than T-mobile, but not the edge. So that's why you can get EDGE on the iPhone to work on T-Mobile.
     
  10. deannnnn macrumors 68000

    deannnnn

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  11. urbanleopard macrumors member

    urbanleopard

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    #11
    You Americans sure get a rum deal. A duopoly of incompatible technologies and carriers, multiple sub-flavours of GSM, no wonder unlocked phones are a no-no.

    Imagine a world without CDMA, where you can walk out of an Apple store with a factory unlocked device, then buy a cheap SIM-only voice/data plan from any of four national carriers, all of whom use pure GSM - some even share base stations.

    And when the next model comes out, you just eBay your "old" phone and some guy will give you nearly what you paid and ship it to faraway lands.

    If that's nirvana, then UK is where it's at.
     
  12. mrkramer macrumors 603

    mrkramer

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    #12
    We won't see one until either Apple decides to add support for t-mobile's 3G, or Verizon and ATT are both on LTE and you don't need CDMA or GSM fallback. so it'll probably be a few more years.
     
  13. Goldinboy17 macrumors 65816

    Goldinboy17

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    #13
    A time where we won't need either a GSM or CDMA fallback? Take me there. I still get EDGE service occasionally. Even worse is the fact I honestly still see GPRS at least once a day!
     
  14. mrkramer macrumors 603

    mrkramer

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    #14
    I didn't say it was going to happen any time soon. It will probably be several years, I think verizon said they were planning to have their network fully upgraded to LTE by 2013. Once that happens Apple could at least get rid of the CDMA antenna and sell one device even if they still need GSM for fallback.
     
  15. blackberrypilot macrumors 6502

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  16. pika2000, Jan 16, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 16, 2011

    pika2000 thread starter macrumors 68030

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    #16
    I'm afraid so too. I mean really, you would think with the AT&T exclusivity ended, there's nothing else preventing Apple selling the iPhone unlocked, but no. So I'm afraid you're probably right.

    Actually, correct me if I'm wrong, but I think you can only buy unlocked iPhones in Canada online, straight from Apple. Retail versions are provider locked. And no, Apple Canada online store doesn't ship outside Canada (neither do any of the other countries' online store like HK and Singapore, not that it makes any difference right now as the iPhone 4 is listed as not available).

    Actually, hybrid CDMA/GSM phones are already available for quite some time, but that doesn't mean they are unlocked. Eg. Verizon world phones like the Droid 2 Global, it's still provider locked. If future iPhones have GSM and CDMA radio in them, I bet it would still be provider locked, respectively to AT&T and Verizon. God forbid US carriers sell an unlocked phone, especially the likes of Verizon.

    Nope. If you could, I would've done it and never posted this. ;)
     
  17. old-wiz macrumors G3

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    Mar 26, 2008
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    #17
    The telcos own enough Congressmen so that this would never happen. The telcos do not want customers to take their phones to other carriers, and they pay enough money to congress to make sure it doesn't happen. We have the best (?) government money can buy.
     
  18. pika2000 thread starter macrumors 68030

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    Jun 22, 2007
    #18
    Or Singapore, or Hong Kong, etc etc. Ironic isn't it, especially for Apple, which is an American company. I mean really, Apple sell the iPhone unlocked in Canada and Mexico, both countries within the borders of the USA, but not in the US. It's really depressing.
     
  19. iMJustAGuy macrumors 68020

    iMJustAGuy

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    #19
    Maybe by the time iPhone X launches but I don't expect so in the foreseeable future.
     

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