There’s a reason Sprint has stopped selling SIM unlocked versions of the iPhone 4S today, and it’s not just because of the pleasing parallel symmetry of the digits in the date 11/11/11. It’s because today is also the day that Apple has started selling unlocked, contract-free iPhone 4Ses to customers willing to pay a premium.
If you go to Apple’s “Select an iPhone 4S” page on the official site, US customers can now select the “Get iPhone unlocked and contract-free” option, which allows them to pay $649 for a 16GB iPhone 4S, 32GB for a $749 for a 32GB iPhone 4S and a whopping $849 for a 64GB iPhone 4S.
All unlocked iPhones are sold in GSM flavors only, which means that in America, they will only work on AT&T and T-Mobile’s networks (and on the latter network, without 3G data speeds). Abroad, however, an unlocked GSM iPhone 4S will give customers a lot more options, so the unlocked iPhone 4S is a great choice for frequent travelers who don’t want to deal with exorbitant roaming fees.
All iPhone 4Ses are sold without a micro-SIM card, so you’ll still need to sign up with a wireless service provider. However, by bringing your own iPhone to the table, you may well be able to dodge the necessity of signing up for a two-year contract. For $649, you’re really buying yourself a bartering chip in your negotiations with the big wireless carriers. Not for everyone, certainly, but a nice option to have.