Online retailer offers Sim-free iPhone 3Gs
They don't come cheap, though
Play.com is punting unlocked iPhones for folk who don't fancy being tethered to O2. The downside: freedom from carriers doesn't come cheap.
The 8GB iPhone 3G, for example, costs £550. Play wants £600 for the 16GB version, though it currently has no models of that capacity in stock, according to its website.
Play claims the untethered handset is "a genuine Sim-free mobile phone and therefore unlocked to all UK networks. It is not unlocked from a UK or European network and is available due to EU legislation ensuring the sale of Sim-free mobile phones".
Apple, O2 and Carphone Warehouse currently offer pay-as-you-go 8GB iPhone 3Gs for a less wallet-busting £342, though these handsets can only be used on O2's network.
Unless, of course, you use a tool like Yellowsn0w and other tools from hackers the iPhone Dev Team to open and unlock the handset yourself.
You can have it even more cheaply if you're willing to buy into a monthly O2 subscription.
Play.com's move will surely spur speculation that Apple's working to reduce iPhone stocks ahead of the anticipated introduction of a third-generation model in June or July - a year after the debut of the 3G.
However, we'd expect it to punt cheaper handsets through its main channels if that were the case. More likely, Play is simply acquiring iPhones from a continental Europe country where Apple is obliged to offer unlocked handsets. ®
"Working it out over 18 months...
By Tony Chandler Posted Tuesday 24th March 2009 15:39 GMT
...this would cost you £31 a month. Makes the £3.50 extra you'd pay for 600 minutes, 500 texts and unlimited* data on O2 sound not too shabby. Unless of course you were already in a contract etc.
*yeah, yeah, I know"
I'm under the impression it is actually unlimited on iphones now. it was a fairuse policy of up to 250mb per month (more than enough for most people) but it is now only limited by the hours you can stay awake
This is good news.
Unlocked phones are a good thing - the only issue is the price. £550 is a *lot* of money to be throwing at a phone that'll be obsolete in a few months.
@ Alan W. Rateliff, II
You are being very naive if you can't see how the mass adoption of the Apple Dock Connector by a substantial sector of electronics manufacturers is the fruit of a calculated strategy by Apple to 'lock down' consumers to Apple branded mp3 players, and next, cellular phones. This can only lead to consumers having less choice in the future and thus the victims of Apple's demonstrated failure to innovate. Look at the latest Nano. Refined, filtered and extrapolated into utter crap in the name of profitability. This is the ultimate future for all Apple products. Once there's no credible competition left for Apple to copy 'only a bit better, a bit more stylish', Apple will simply run out of ideas and have no motivation to innovate.
The ability to output the audio from portable media devices via the headphone socket to 'iPod Compatible' electronics goods is a paltry consolation compared to the mating of two devices via the ADC. Apple know this and have used it to their advantage in the mp3 player market.
Now watch as they dominate and destroy the cellular phone market.
Apple have thus far priced and contract-tied and the iPhone to 'cream off' the most profitable cellular phone users from the market. They will slowly work their way down the user base until they reach customers providing their lowest acceptable call revenue. Although this does not appear to impact other phone manufacturers, it does. The subsidised prices of other brands of cellular phones will be forced to rise as the more lucrative air-time contracts defect to Apple, resulting in less profit for the manufacturers. As those manufacturers make less profit, they have less funding for R&D and the downward spiral commences.
As for the unlocked price of the iPhone, look at the Nokia 5800 for comparison. Similar hardware at less than half the price with the same Jersey retailer, only it's not Apple, so no me-too sheep factor.
Did you not read the posts? Someone already listed the sim free prices of competitors and it about the same. Actually, a brief search with google reveals that the prices are indeed similar. So, is iPhone reasonably priced or are all mobiles a rip off?
No good for local SIM outside EU
I went to Brazil recently and found a local pay-go SIM in my generic firmware Nokia N95 cost effective for keeping in touch with local friends and for 3G internet. For this situation, the EU-only SIM iPhone would be no good. Can't understand the reason for it.