We’ve told you that the iPhone 3G was going to make its debut in Taiwan via Chungwa Telecom, and now it’s official. But with Chungwa Telecom’s official release of the iPhone comes a bit of a surprise: its iPhone 3Gs are carrier-unlocked out of the box.
It was earlier believed that all Chungwa Telecom iPhone 3G units will be sold with a carrier-lock that would prevent the use of SIM cards from other networks. But a report from DigiTimes states that upon trying out different branded SIM cards with their iPhone 3Gs, early adopters in Taiwan have found that it works perfectly, without the need for any kind of software or hardware hack whatsoever.
The “SIM-unlocked out of the box” state applies for both prepaid and postpaid iPhone 3G units bought in Taiwan. Which is why, if this picks up, Taiwan could be a big source of gray market iPhones for those who don’t want to be stuck using it with a single carrier that Apple specified.
The catch, it seems, is that these SIM-unlocked Taiwanese iPhone 3G units will cost a hefty sum. The prepaid, contract-free units cost upwards of $800 USD. While those iPhone 3Gs with two-year contracts require a refundable deposit that can go up to nearly the price of contract-free units.
But an unlocked phone is an unlocked phone, and that’s what many people feel they need. With a setup like this, no wonder CHT was counting on selling quite a number of iPhone 3Gs in a short amount of time. To find out how sales really perform, though, we’ll have to wait for a while.
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