Cost Of An Official Unlocked 3G iPhone: $1,649 - InformationWeek

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8/27/2008
09:39 AM
Eric Ogren
Eric Ogren
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Cost Of An Official Unlocked 3G iPhone: $1,649

If you want to buy an officially unlocked 3G iPhone, be prepared to dig deep. Really deep. Wireless Imports, a wireless retail Web site that specializes in selling unlocked phones, is charging up to a whopping $1,649 for the 3G iPhone.

If you want to buy an officially unlocked 3G iPhone, be prepared to dig deep. Really deep. Wireless Imports, a wireless retail Web site that specializes in selling unlocked phones, is charging up to a whopping $1,649 for the 3G iPhone.Yowza. That's a lot of money.

Keep in mind, unlocked phones also are usually unsubsidized phones. That means no discount on the price, you have to pay the full retail amount. But $1,649 for a black 16-GB 3G iPhone? That's almost as much as the MacBook Air. It's certainly more than any other phone on the market. The 8-GB model costs $1,500.

Why does it cost so much? Wireless Import states, "This iPhone comes from a country that states it is illegal for anyone to sell a locked phone. Therefore, Apple is required in these countries to sell iPhone's without a software lock. Because of this law, Apple has also raised the price in the home countries where they come from."

I'll say. As we all know, in the United States, you can buy the 3G iPhone locked to AT&T's network for $300. If you really, really want an unlocked iPhone, you could pay the $300, and then immediately cancel your contract at a cost of $175. That's a total of $475. But then you'd have to jailbreak and unlock the iPhone yourself, which entails risks.

The 3G iPhone being sold by Wireless Imports is unlocked by Apple where it is manufactured. Even so, I'd bet there are still inherent risks. What happens when you update the firmware of an unlocked iPhone? Are the locks reinstalled? No one knows for sure. Wireless Imports strongly cautions against updating it. It says on the product page, "Please note that you should under no circumstance attempt to restore your phone or perform any updates. Doing so may relock your iPhone which we can not be held responsible for. If your iPhone insists on having a restore performed please contact us prior to taking any steps." There's a disclaimer for ya!

Since both methods entail about the same amount of risk, you're probably better off spending around $500 than you are spending $1,649. But hey, if you have the money to burn, go for it.

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