Photo: Associated Press
The rumours turned out to be true.Apple began selling an unlocked model of the iPhone 4 today, meaning it can be used on any GSM network in the world.
That’s great news for international travellers who find themselves using pre-paid plans from carriers overseas.
We put together a quick FAQ with everything you need to know about the unlocked iPhone. Should you buy it? Which carriers does it work on? How does it work?
Check out the answers below.
How much is it?
The 16 GB unlocked iPhone costs $649. The 32 GB unlocked iPhone costs $749. Both are available in black or white.
What does “unlocked” mean?
When Apple says the iPhone 4 is “unlocked” that means you can insert any micro SIM card from any GSM carrier into the phone. GSM is the standard used in most countries, and includes AT&T and T-Mobile here in the United States.
Can I buy a cheaper unlocked phone subsidized by my carrier?
Nope. You can only buy the unlocked iPhone directly from Apple at full price. You’re on your own if you want to strike a deal with a carrier.
Which carriers does it work on and in which countries?
Any carrier that operates on the GSM standard. In the United States that means AT&T, T-Mobile, and a few smaller local carriers. Overseas that includes China Mobile, Vodafone, and Orange. (To name a few.)
For a full list of GSM carriers all around the world, check out this list from Apple.
What kind of SIM card do I need?
iPhone 4’s can only use micro SIM cards, which are smaller than the standard SIM card found in most phones. You can request it from your carrier when you sign up for a plan.
What if my carrier doesn’t offer micro SIM cards?
There’s still hope. Request a full-sized SIM card from your carrier and cut it down to size. This takes some skill. The best thing to do is buy one of these fitted tools that will cut the SIM card down to the exact size.
Can I use my iPad’s micro SIM card?
No. Your iPad’s SIM card is tied to a data-only plan and won’t work in your iPhone.
How do I use the unlocked iPhone in the United States?
You have two main carrier choices: AT&T or T-Mobile.
However, T-Mobile operates on a slightly different frequency, meaning you won’t be able to get 3G speeds. Instead, you’ll be stuck on 2G or “EDGE.”
Prepaid plans for each carrier vary.
AT&T starts at $2 per day, which gives you unlimited nationwide calling and texting. Click here to see all your options.
T-Mobile has a slightly different structure. You can start out paying $10 up front and you’ll be charged $0.33 per minute. You can also get unlimited data for $1.49 per day. Click here to see all your options.
Why should I buy it?
The unlocked iPhone isn’t for everyone. At $649, it’s a hefty price to pay just to be able to use on any GSM carrier. Plus the iPhone 5 is only a few months away, so why not wait until then?
However, if you’re a frequent international traveller who is tired of paying insane prices for overseas data and voice, this is a great phone for you.
Don’t Miss: Our HUGE Screenshot Tour Of Apple’s New iOS 5 >
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