Apple starts sales of SIM-free iPhone 6s, 6s Plus handsets

Posted:
in iPhone edited October 2015
Almost one month after the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus launch in September, Apple on Thursday started sales of factory unlocked SIM-free handsets that come unbound from carrier contract commitments.




As explained on Apple's iPhone 6s purchase page, SIM-free iPhones do not include the usual carrier-specific nano-SIM card, nor are they locked in to any one network, meaning customers are free to obtain their own card from a carrier of their choosing. SIM-free iPhone 6s models are designated A1633, while iPhone 6s Plus versions are labeled A1634.

"If you don't want a multiyear service contract, or if you prefer to use a local carrier when traveling abroad, the SIM-free iPhone is the best choice," Apple says.

The company adds that SIM-free iPhone 6s units will work on a multitude of networks including those run by AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint in the U.S. International support is also offered thanks to iPhone's multi-band LTE radio; a full list of supported networks categorized by country can be found on Apple's website. Upon receipt, customers can activate SIM-free iPhones on any compatible GSM or CDMA network.

As noted in Apple's fine print, SIM-free iPhones are not eligible for carrier incentives or payment plans, so customers have to pay the entire handset cost upfront.

The new U.S. edition comes as iPhone 6s and 6s Plus rolls out to 40 more countries, and ahead of this weekend's launch in Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The expansion continues next week with debuts in India, Malaysia and Turkey on Oct. 16. Apple is looking to get iPhone 6s into 130 countries by the end of 2015.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 33
    fallenjtfallenjt Posts: 4,034member
    What's different from Tmo iPhone? I order Tmo and used it with ATT SIM since day 1.
  • Reply 2 of 33
    gtrgtr Posts: 3,231member

    Welcome to the 21st century.

     

    On the left we have fire, on the right - the wheel.

     

    And just up ahead you should be able to catch a glimpse of a sim-free handset...

  • Reply 3 of 33
    lolliverlolliver Posts: 429member
    So does it stil need a SIM card from your carrier of choice? If so its no different than the way we've been able to buy iPhones in the rest of the world.

    It's crazy to think that some of Apple's biggest achievements in the US mobile phone space have been things that shouldn't have existed to begin with if the carriers weren't demanding so much control.
  • Reply 4 of 33
    netroxnetrox Posts: 1,054member
    Just curious - does a sim free iPhone work with ANY carrier? How is that possible? I remember that it requires different chipsets for different carriers. What happened? Is it all integrated into one chipset?
  • Reply 5 of 33
    Yes, so just what is the difference between the unlocked, sim free iPhone and the unlocked Apple Upgrade phone offer (which I took advantage of keeping my AT&at nlimited plan)???

    I was told my phone was unlocked and although it came with an AT&T sim, it could be switched to any other carrier at any time, AND it could be used worldwide outside of the US.
  • Reply 6 of 33
    @EMoeller, I just wanted to post the VERY same query! what's the diff between the new SIM-less 'unlocked' phones and the unlocked 'apple upgrade program' phones?
  • Reply 7 of 33
    So based on the description on Apple's website it's just an unlocked phone. You then need to get a SIM card from your carrier of choice. This would have been more interesting if it included a universal SIM that could be activated with any carrier. Of course I can't see the carriers agreeing to that any time soon.
  • Reply 8 of 33
    swp2swp2 Posts: 2member
    These are the same phones that are already being sold in U.S retail stores since the launch. The model 1633 and 1634 is the same phone as the iPhone 6s/ 6s Plus currently sold with AT&T chosen as the carrier. The 6s model phones are all already unlocked coming from the factory. The other model used is for Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon. The original use of the different model for AT&T is because AT&T uses an extra frequency band #30 for enhanced LTE service available only on their network.

    [URL]http://www.apple.com/iphone/LTE/[/URL]
  • Reply 9 of 33



    Here's the main difference (at least the way it was with the iPhone 6 and all before):

     

    The UNLOCKED iPhone was paid for full price, and could be used on other carriers, but ONLY if that carrier recognized the imei # in their system. Verizon would NOT allow unlocked iPhones on their network unless it was an actual Verizon iPhone (the tmobile version wasn't recognized). There was a verizon work-around for this, but it wasn't ready to go out of the box. Tmobile and ATT didn't care if you used it on their network, as long as it was unlocked.

     

    The SIM-FREE version is paid for full price, and has NO ties to any carrier. It can be used on ANY network with no problem. Verizon automatically included the imei # in their database (called "whitelisting"). Since everyone mostly just pops their sim card into a new phone anyways, the fact that it doesn't come w/ a sim card really doesn't matter.

     

    If given the choice, the Sim-Free version is the better one to get. If you never plan on going to Verizon, or a really cheap carrier, then the unlocked version will probably due you just fine.

  • Reply 10 of 33
    bobschlobbobschlob Posts: 1,074member
    I wondered why I couldn't find unlocked phone on Apple's web site. Sort of freaked out thinking I would be forced to buy T-Mob version, or something… I couldn't understand what was going on. I wonder why there was a lag in making this available (?)
    Doesn't it come with an "Apple SIM" (unlocked / universal SIM)?
  • Reply 11 of 33
    bobschlob wrote: »
    I wondered why I couldn't find unlocked phone on Apple's web site. Sort of freaked out thinking I would be forced to buy T-Mob version, or something… I couldn't understand what was going on. I wonder why there was a lag in making this available (?)
    Doesn't it come with an "Apple SIM" (unlocked / universal SIM)?

    Not according to Apple's website. It states you can obtain a SIM from your preferred carrier. Which is why they are advertising it as SIM free rather than Apple SIM or Universal SIM.
  • Reply 12 of 33
    They were selling SIM Free 6S's from day one . At least in Japan.
  • Reply 13 of 33
    The headline and story should say that the new phones have just begun selling on the Apple website. The Apple retail stores have been selling the unlocked, SIM-free phone since Day One. I got mine that Friday by walking into the Apple Store Millenia in Orlando.

    It is correct that you can't buy this phone on Apple's new Upgrade Payment Plan (I was hoping to get that)%u2014that purchase plan requires a carrier at time of sale. I just paid the full cost and slipped in my existing SIM from a prepaid carrier.
  • Reply 14 of 33
    The link to Apple's LTE page is wrong. Please remove the offending texts from the web address given above: (http://appleinsider.com/articles/15/10/08/www.apple.com/iphone/LTE)
  • Reply 15 of 33
    aplnubaplnub Posts: 2,605member
    I purchased a 6S + (outright) and walked out of the store. I decided to go to ATT and sign up for service. Apple said it was unlocked and would work on any network the iPhone supported.

    I did have to choose a carrier in the store so I chose att as they had the model phone I wanted.
  • Reply 16 of 33
    I just received the T-mobile phone (did not yet open the box) that I wanted to use in the UK! Should I return it and order the SIM-free model? Or does it make no difference?
  • Reply 17 of 33
    sphericspheric Posts: 2,093member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by fordee View Post



    They were selling SIM Free 6S's from day one . At least in Japan.



    Same in Germany. I received my unlocked 6s on September 25th.

  • Reply 18 of 33

    One difference with the non-carrier versions is that certain carrier features may not be available if you didn't buy the phone through them. For example, my "sim-free" phone is not supported for T-Mobile's wi-fi calling.

  • Reply 19 of 33
    customtbcustomtb Posts: 345member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by waterrockets View Post

     

    One difference with the non-carrier versions is that certain carrier features may not be available if you didn't buy the phone through them. For example, my "sim-free" phone is not supported for T-Mobile's wi-fi calling.




    That sucks.... just turned on my wifi calling on my iPhone 6 with ATT. Anybody know whether this problem will exist for ATT?

  • Reply 20 of 33
    Apple has actually been selling unlocked iPhones around the world for some years now. Nice to see the US Apple store is finally catching up.
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