When Apple announced the iPhone 4S last month, they said that off-contract, unlocked versions of the phone would become available in November. Sticking true to that, the devices can now be ordered from the online Apple Store, but they will cost you a pretty penny. As you won’t be picking up a subsidy on these you’ll be be looking at $649 for the 16GB, $749 for 32GB and $849 for the 64GB versions of the phone.
There is also some explaining that goes along with this:
The unlocked iPhone includes all the features of iPhone but without a contract commitment. You can activate and use it on the supported GSM wireless network of your choice, such as AT&T in the United States.* The unlockediPhone 4oriPhone 4Swill not work with CDMA-based carriers such as Verizon Wireless or Sprint.
If you don’t want a multiyear service contract or if you prefer to use a local carrier when traveling abroad, the unlocked iPhone 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. To start using it, simply insert the micro-SIM card into the slot on your iPhone and turn it on by pressing and holding the On/Off button for a few seconds. Then follow the onscreen instructions to set up your iPhone.
These prices are certainly not for the faint of heart, but if you plan use a pre-paid SIM card, or you just aren’t a heavy enough phone user to warrant even the lowest plan offered by carriers, you could actually come out ahead on the deal. It would take some careful management on your part, but it is definitely a possibility.
Do you have any interest in picking up an unlocked iPhone 4S?