New in OS X: Get MacRumors Push Notifications on your Mac

Resubscribe Now Close

Apple Now Selling Unlocked iPhone 4 in U.S.


As predicted, Apple has started selling unlocked (GSM) iPhone 4 devices in the U.S. early this morning.
If you don't want a multiyear service contract or if you prefer to use a local carrier when traveling abroad, the unlocked iPhone 4 is the best choice. It arrives without a micro-SIM card, so you'll need an active micro-SIM card from any supported GSM carrier worldwide.
Pricing starts at $649 for a 16GB model and $749 for 32GB model. Both White and Black models are offered.

The main advantage of buying an unlocked iPhone is for international travel, as the device is not dependent on any particular carrier. The U.S. only has one network (AT&T) which fully supports all the features of an unlocked GSM iPhone. T-Mobile is compatible with voice calls, but the 3G network is not compatible. The higher price of the iPhones reflect no-contract pricing as well as the unlocked status of the device. While the iPhone 4 had been sold unlocked in other countries, this is the first time Apple has offered them in the U.S.

Related roundup: iPhone 6

Top Rated Comments

(View all)

43 months ago
Phone contracts are like abusive relationships.
Rating: 25 Votes
43 months ago
I wonder when (if) AT&T will offer to unlock iPhones of customers who have fulfilled their 2-year contract.
Rating: 17 Votes
43 months ago

Who gives a **** how much it sells for (comparatively) in other countries?


Uh... People in other countries? There are a lot of them you know.
Rating: 15 Votes
43 months ago
So the USA is finally catching up to Australia on something! We've had unlocked phones for sale since the 3G ;)
Rating: 13 Votes
43 months ago

Geez, do unlocked phones usually cost this much?


What did you expect it to cost?
Rating: 7 Votes
43 months ago

Unlocked iPhone4 cost here:

16GB CHF 769.-
32GB CHF 899.-

in USD: 916.-/1'070.-

so for us swiss, this is VERY cheap...



In Czech Rep.:

16GB 16 499CZK
32GB 19 999CZK

in USD: 916/1052

Yep, very cheap... :/ USA has always everything cheap :/ And they think it is expensive... :D Try to living in Europe for a while, on average we have smaller salary AND more expensive stuff... Great combination.
Rating: 5 Votes
43 months ago
Wow about time; think how the eBay market just tanked for unlocked iPhone 4s
Rating: 4 Votes
43 months ago
[wishful thinking]

do u think Apple will let iOS 5 unlock all locked iPhones already purchased prior to this announcement?

[/wishful thinking]
Rating: 4 Votes
43 months ago

I think they have to do that by law, but I'm not sure. At least, here in Europe, it works that way (except we got 1 year contracts).

There is, unfortunately, no such law in the United States.

i'm leaving the country and paid at&t $205 in ETF fees. they wouldn't unlock it for me.

It really seems unfair. In exchange for subsidies a carrier should either lock the phone to their network (for a disclosed period of time), or require a contract with early termination fee. To charge $200 for an iPhone indefinitely locked to AT&T with 2-year contract seems indisputably unethical (not to mention redundant).

This was never AT&T's policy with any other phone (I don't believe). I wonder what was different about the iPhone in this respect. I presume it originated with an agreement between AT&T and Apple in the beginning, but I doubt this remains the case.
Rating: 4 Votes
43 months ago

Maybe in Europe but not America. In America you get a subsidized price for two years of loyalty. For someone who plans to stay on the same carrier (the majority of the population) the subsidized price becomes a straight up discount.


Actually in America (and Canada), the cost of the subsidy of the phone is recouped over the length of the contract (and actually built into the pricing model). The interesting part is that whether you sign a contact or not, you still pay the same price for your package, so in fact, the user who buy's their own phone unsubsidized is getting ripped off because the carrier actually makes more money off them over the same 2 year period. Carriers would love to get rid of subsidies, but the high cost of the phones is a barrier for most. Those laws are changing in Canada to force the carrier to only charge the penalty for the real remaining cost of the subsidy.
Rating: 4 Votes

[ Read All Comments ]