Apple now selling unlocked GSM iPhone 4 in US, starting at $649

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
Apple updated its online store on Tuesday to begin offering unlocked models of the iPhone 4, starting at $649.



Both the white and black versions of Apple's bestselling smartphone are available, with the 16GB and 32GB versions selling for $649 and $749, respectively, in the U.S. Apple online store. The device is not eligible for international shipping.



Currently, the black versions of the unlocked iPhone 4 are estimated to ship within 1-3 business days, while white versions are listed as shipping within 3-5 days.



"The unlocked iPhone 4 requires an active micro-SIM card that you obtain from a supported GSM wireless carrier," Apple notes on the product description page.



As with unlocked iPhones sold internationally, the device will work on all Apple-supported GSM networks around the world. Apple also takes care to note that an iPad 3G micro-SIM card will not work in the unlocked iPhone 4.



In the U.S., customers with unlocked GSM iPhones can choose from AT&T and T-Mobile, though data transmission on the T-Mobile network will occur over the slower EDGE protocol because the carrier's 3G network is incompatible with the iPhone.



Over the weekend, reports emerged that Apple would begin sales of the unlocked iPhone 4 in the U.S., though the device went on sale a day earlier than sources had suggested. On Monday, various outlets noted that unlocked iPhones had been shipped to Apple Stores with a price tag of $649 and $749.







The release of an unlocked iPhone 4 comes as a blow to AT&T, which held an exclusive on the iPhone in the U.S. for more than three years, up until the release of the iPhone 4 on the Verizon network in February.



The iPhone 4 has quickly become Apple's bestselling iPhone. iPhone sales grew 113 percent year over year in the second quarter of fiscal 2011, reaching a record high of 18.65 million units. According to Apple COO Tim Cook, iPhone sales were "off the charts in the U.S" with 155 percent year over year growth, driven in part by the addition of the Verizon iPhone 4.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 90
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 5,857member
    Well well... hell froze over. Must go and put my jacket on!



    This is a fantastic moment. Now one can actively take their phone anywhere in the world (GSM areas of course) and put in the SIM of your choice.



    I'm happy with my 1-year old AT&T iPhone 4. When my 2-year contract is up, I see an unlocked 2012-2013 iPhone in my future!
  • Reply 2 of 90
    mgl323mgl323 Posts: 247member
    So iPhone 4S/5 unlocked this Fall? Will AT&T sell unlocked iPhone from now on? Maybe this is a clue that T-Mobile will get the iPhone this fall.
  • Reply 3 of 90
    nasseraenasserae Posts: 3,166member
    I wonder if Apple will unlock already sold iPhones in the US.
  • Reply 4 of 90
    whytoiwhytoi Posts: 43member
    It's almost HK price. Not bad... But wait. Forgot about state sales tax.
  • Reply 5 of 90
    asdasdasdasd Posts: 5,681member
    If they sell the 3GS unlocked we can actually have discussions on ow expensive iPhones are relative to other phones in the US. At the moment we are getting the "they are only $50" argument, as if that were the real price.
  • Reply 6 of 90
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,951member
    I was told I was a total idiot for suggesting that if Apple ever sold an unlocked phone in the US, it would be about $600 or so, even if you could jailbreak them. In that respect, it's nice to see that I wasn't wrong about the price. I'm glad I don't need this. Maybe I would get one if I got a discount on the service, but I don't see that happening, especially now that the other major US GSM service is probably going to merge with AT&T.
  • Reply 7 of 90
    matrix07matrix07 Posts: 1,993member
    Unlock is the only way to go. You can sell and update to your heart content.
  • Reply 8 of 90
    duoduo Posts: 26member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sflocal View Post


    Well well... hell froze over. Must go and put my jacket on!



    This is a fantastic moment. Now one can actively take their phone anywhere in the world (GSM areas of course) and put in the SIM of your choice.



    I'm happy with my 1-year old AT&T iPhone 4. When my 2-year contract is up, I see an unlocked 2012-2013 iPhone in my future!



    Me and you both! I can't believe this day finally came! I don't think I'll be updating this year, but when I do upgrade next year it'll be perfect!



    @mgl323



    I don't think AT&T will ever sell an unlocked iPhone even when they become widely available. The most I'd expect them to do is still offer to sell you a SIM-locked one at contract-free pricing. In that case, I'd just get it straight from Apple.
  • Reply 9 of 90
    peter236peter236 Posts: 254member
    Is there a special way of activating your unlocked iPhone 4 overseas?
  • Reply 10 of 90
    jcozjcoz Posts: 251member
    I don't understand, are they special plans for not having a phone subsidy here? Because at the moment I can't see any reason to offer this at all. The tmobile comment is the most ridiculous of all.... "come buy you $600-700 PHONE, not only will we not have 4g speeds waiting for you, but we're going back in time (cue Huey Lewis) to 2006 and the edge network!"
  • Reply 11 of 90
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,951member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Jcoz View Post


    I don't understand, are they special plans for not having a phone subsidy here? Because at the moment I can't see any reason to offer this at all. The tmobile comment is the most ridiculous of all.... "come buy you $600-700 PHONE, not only will we not have 4g speeds waiting for you, but we're going back in time (cue Huey Lewis) to 2006 and the edge network!"



    If you need to travel regularly, this is the best way to use your own phone at realistic rates, you just buy a SIM locally and pop it in.
  • Reply 12 of 90
    duoduo Posts: 26member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Jcoz View Post


    I don't understand, are they special plans for not having a phone subsidy here? Because at the moment I can't see any reason to offer this at all. The tmobile comment is the most ridiculous of all.... "come buy you $600-700 PHONE, not only will we not have 4g speeds waiting for you, but we're going back in time (cue Huey Lewis) to 2006 and the edge network!"



    No, unfortunately there aren't any plans that I'm aware of that gives you a discount for bringing your own phone. Apple offering an unlocked phone over here is still a big coup for consumers because this opens up the door for future iPhones being offered unlocked at launch. Just because Apple now offers factory-unlocked iPhones doesn't mean it's going to be ideal for everyone. There are some, like me, who prefer it for different reasons and frequent international travel being one of the most popular. And finally, who's to say future models won't be compatible with T-Mobile's AWS bands?



    On another note, I wonder if this opens up the door for either AT&T or Apple to finally unlock devices that are close to contract completion or whose contracts have already been satisfied.
  • Reply 13 of 90
    jcozjcoz Posts: 251member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post


    If you need to travel regularly, this is the best way to use your own phone at realistic rates, you just buy a SIM locally and pop it in.



    You mean overseas? This is for us customers who travel outside the country a lot? Can't anyone unlock their phone anyways now?
  • Reply 14 of 90
    duoduo Posts: 26member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Jcoz View Post


    You mean overseas? This is for us customers who travel outside the country a lot? Can't anyone unlock their phone anyways now?



    AT&T doesn't currently unlock iPhones like it does Blackberries for international travel. Also, there is no officially sanctioned way to unlock an iPhone.*



    *At least in the US. In Europe (and the rest of the civilized world), your carrier does it for you.
  • Reply 15 of 90
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,951member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Jcoz View Post


    You mean overseas? This is for us customers who travel outside the country a lot? Can't anyone unlock their phone anyways now?



    Yes. Anyone can unlock their iPhones using means of possibly questionable provenance, but you also lose your warranty and support. And you don't know if the unlock does things you don't want done to your phone, because it's largely an underground activity.
  • Reply 16 of 90
    wigginwiggin Posts: 2,265member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Apple also takes care to note that an iPad 3G micro-SIM card will not work in the unlocked iPhone 4.



    Is this because the iPad SIM is a data-only SIM (is there such a thing?). Could I get a SIM that would work for both? If not, that seems to defeat the whole purpose for SIMs in the first place for "swapability".



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by asdasd View Post


    If they sell the 3GS unlocked we can actually have discussions on ow expensive iPhones are relative to other phones in the US. At the moment we are getting the "they are only $50" argument, as if that were the real price.



    Of course, even though you aren't getting a subsidy from the carrier, you'll still pay the full price for the service plan, a portion of which was justified by the carriers because they needed to recoup the subsidy they provided when you bought your phone. Theoretically your service plan price should drop by $10-15/month if you paid full-price for your phone. But it won't.



    Hm, and now if they sell a world phone this Fall with CDMA and unlocked GSM...
  • Reply 17 of 90
    kiweekiwee Posts: 102member
    This could be a way for Apple to clear out inventory in preparation for a new model. No better way really..
  • Reply 18 of 90
    benroethigbenroethig Posts: 2,782member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Jcoz View Post


    I don't understand, are they special plans for not having a phone subsidy here? Because at the moment I can't see any reason to offer this at all. The tmobile comment is the most ridiculous of all.... "come buy you $600-700 PHONE, not only will we not have 4g speeds waiting for you, but we're going back in time (cue Huey Lewis) to 2006 and the edge network!"



    Yeah. If you stay in the states, this is a pretty terrible deal. You pay the same prices, you get basically the same choices in providers since most of the handful of regional carriers use T-mobile's AWS spectrum, and you don't get the $400 discount on the phone.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by matrix07 View Post


    Unlock is the only way to go. You can sell and update to your heart content.



    If you have an unlimited budget.
  • Reply 19 of 90
    asdasdasdasd Posts: 5,681member
    The US is an unusual market for smart phones and carriers. It seems like there is a cartel - which is nobody offering a PAYG voice and data plan, for instance. Common here (UK).



    Can be refilled in most shops.
  • Reply 20 of 90
    duoduo Posts: 26member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Wiggin View Post


    Hm, and now if they sell a world phone this Fall with CDMA and unlocked GSM...



    That would be nice, and if that were the case I'd up and take my business to Sprint! Although, the flashable imbedded SIM sounds fantastic if Apple can ever get it off the ground.
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