Apple Now Offering Unlocked iPhone 4 in the United States
No, pigs aren’t flying, but it’s pretty darn close. Apple has released the iPhone 4 (GSM model) completely unlocked for purchase in the United States for the first time. Unlocked iPhones in the United States have been somewhat of a rare find, existing either as jailbreaked phones or unlocked phones purchased overseas. So what’s all the fuss about, and more importantly, what’s the price tag? Read on …
iPhone 4, white or black, is available for $649 and $749, 16GB and 32GB respectively. There’s no contract and no SIM card, so if you’re buying this phone, you should know what you’re doing. The ideal candidate for this phone is the international traveler, and as most of them know, GSM is widely popular in pretty much every other country except the United States. You can walk into any phone store, buy a pre-paid SIM card and pop it in your phone. Done. And while overseas GSM carriers are plentiful, when the AT&T/T-Mobile merger is complete AT&T will be the only GSM carrier in the states.
Ah, so does that mean T-Mobile users can now get their hands on the iPhone 4? Yes, but with a caveat: The T-Mobile 3G network broadcasts at a frequency not supported by the iPhone 4 antenna. That means you’re stuck on T-Mobile’s EDGE network for all your data needs. Yes, it’s slow, but remember, the original iPhone was EDGE-only. An unlocked iPhone 4 is also a good idea for anyone who doesn’t trust AT&T enough to be locked in a two-year contract with the carrier. And if you’re just a little tech-savvy, you can use AT&T’s pay-as-you-go SIMs (I may consider this after my contract expires!).
Bottom line for everyone, and yes, the channel, is that things just got a little bit easier for everyone. If you’re an international company deploying smart phones and the AT&T lock was cause for concern, worry no longer (as long as money isn’t an issue.) In fact, it seems Apple has been making strides to make things easier every time we look, especially with its recent relaxation of developer rules.