Unlocked iPhone 4S Will Be Available in the U.S. From November & Is GSM Only

Unlocked iPhone 4S Will Be Available in the U.S. From November & Is GSM Only

Apple’s iPhone 4S is available to pre-order today, but if you’re ordering in the U.S., you’ll have to purchase it with a commitment from either AT&T, Sprint or Verizon. Those wanting an unlocked device will have to wait until November, and they won’t get a world phone.

After updating its website to begin pre-orders early this morning, Apple also offered information regarding the contract-free iPhone 4S. The device will be “Coming in November” and will start at $649 for the 16GB model. The 32GB model will cost an additional $100 at $749, and the 64GB is $849. Yeah, that’s $250 more than a Mac mini.

Furthermore, unlike those device that are accompanied by a contract, which support both CDMA and GSM networks, the unlocked iPhone is GSM only:

The unlocked iPhone works only on supported GSM networks, such as AT&T in the U.S. When you travel internationally, you can also use a micro-SIM card from a local GSM carrier. The unlocked iPhone 4 will not work with CDMA carriers such as Verizon Wireless or Sprint.

That’s bad news for those of you who stayed up late to pre-order an unlocked iPhone 4S, and even worse new for those of you hoping for an unlocked iPhone 4S to use on a CDMA carrier.

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  • oakdesk23

    That says iPhone 4, not 4S and I don’t think that’s a typo on Apple’s part. I believe the unlocked phones Apple will be selling in the US are last year’s model with the addition of a 64GB option.

  • oakdesk23

    I’ve read the site more carefully and it’s confusing. It says “The unlocked iPhone 4 will not work with CDMA carriers such as Verizon Wireless or Sprint.” and “CDMA available only if iPhone 4S is sold and activated for use on a CDMA network.” 

    My best interpretation is that they’ll be offering both the 4 and 4S as “unlocked.” The CMDA portion of the 4S will be carrier locked, but possibly you can put in a micro-sim and use it as a GSM phone when outside the US. The iPhone 4 that is unlocked would be GSM only with no ability to use it on a CDMA network. 

    If I wanted an unlocked phone I’d wait until it was in stores before buying to make sure I knew what I was getting.

  • Primo

    Yes, I believe you’re correct. This is only for the iPhone 4 I think which bumps the memory up to 64GB. NOT for the iPhone 4S. Let’s wait for some clarification…

  • Mblank911

    No they don’t have an iPhone 4 in 64GB, they will start selling the unlocked iPhone 4S’s next month in the 16,32,64GB models! And the phone is still a World phone because all you are doing is changing out the micro sims for the carrier you will be using. I work in Afghanistan and have an unlocked iPhone 4 that works on a local tower here using a local sim cut down to a micro. You can’t ever use the CDMA as a World phone because the ESN is locked into a specific carrier!

  • David Harris

    “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 unlocked iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S will not work with CDMA-based carriers such as Verizon Wireless or Sprint.”

    It’s both for the iPhone 4 and 4S. 

    This is basically a bone for T-Mo customers. I’m guessing that Apple told T-Mobile what the contract price was going to be for the iPhone 4S and T-Mobile said no dice. So Apple is giving us the option to get a phone that will work on that network.

  • Ibf

    I reside near Apple in California and have a friend who works for Apple who was able to let me test out the 4S with the number one selling stylus in the world: STYLUS-R-US. I’m happy to say for those of you who love SRU stylus, the 4S works marvelously with the SRU stylus. Wheww!

  • DonnaThompson

    ….This is crazy….My best friend’s mom makes $77 an hour on the computer. She has been out of job for 9 months but last month her check was $5487 just working on the computer for a few hours.. CashMany.com …..

  • oakdesk23

    Where did you get that quote from? I’ve checked the pre-order page again just now and it says “The unlocked iPhone works only on supported GSM networks, such as AT&T in the U.S. When you travel internationally, you can also use a micro-SIM card from a local GSM carrier. The unlocked iPhone 4 will not work with CDMA carriers such as Verizon Wireless or Sprint.” Apple needs to make it more clear exactly what you’re getting with an unlocked iPhone. The fine print at the bottom makes it seem like you could get an unlocked iPhone 4S, sign a Verizon or Sprint contract, and use it as a GSM phone outside of the US.

  • CharliK

    NOpe. you can’t. 

    Basically with a dual mode phone, the CDMA carriers use the GSM for roaming and thus lock it to only work in that system. You could try to jailbreak it and unlock it 

  • Excitebuzz

    I think it’s interesting that the unlocked 4S costs so much more than
    the unlocked 4 did, and that the unlocked 4 is the same price as it was
    originally. More expensive than the iPad 2! Great phone though, I will
    get one but probably with a contract since I can’t fathom spending $800
    out of pocket!
    http://www.excitebuzz.com/

About the author

Killian BellKillian Bell is a freelance writer based in the UK. He has an interest in all things tech, but most enjoys covering Apple, anything mobile, and gaming. You can follow him on Twitter via @killianbell, or through his website.

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