Almost one full year after the iPhone 4 first hit the streets, Apple has started selling unlocked iPhone 4 smartphones via its US store. This is the first time that we can remember when Apple has done this, and it represents a nice transplant of a European way to do things in the mobile business. In Europe, most iPhones, even those sold by operators on contract, come unlocked – so you can switch microSIMs anytime you want and use what is after all your device on another network. All rather unheard of in mainstream USA.
So it’s a good step forward for Apple, even if we don’t think many Americans will buy their iPhone 4 unlocked, as the price is a lot steeper than what they’re used to paying upfront for smartphones when signing carrier contracts.
The 16 GB white or black iPhone 4 costs $649 unlocked, and the 32 GB versions are $749. Those prices are both a very long way from their subsidized counterparts of $199.99 and $299.99 respectively. But, if you’re in the US and would like an unlocked iPhone 4, now you can officially get one. Or many.
For those of you unfamiliar with mobile network standards, you can not use these devices on CDMA networks such as those operated by Verizon and Sprint in the US. You can use these phones on T-Mobile’s network, but you won’t get any 3G or “4G” signal, since the phones don’t support T-Mobile’s non-standard 3G and 4G bands. However, the unlocked iPhones work very well, 3G included, in most of the world.
So perhaps the best suited to get unlocked iPhones are those of you who travel a lot internationally, and would like to use other SIM cards in your smartphone.
If you do feel like buying an unlocked iPhone 4 from Apple now, just go to its online store and place your order. Deliveries happen within 1-3 business days.
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