If you are in US, India, UK and other countries, when you buy an iPhone, Apple ties up the iPhone 4 device you are buying to a local telecom provider like AT&T, Vodafone, O2 or Airtel. The service providers in turn subsidize the price of iPhone 4 by more than half of its actual price. But in turn forcing you to sign a contract (usually 2 years) to use their voice and data plans.
But in few countries like Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, NewZealand etc, due to government policies and restrictions, Apple is forced to sell factory unlocked iPhone 4. These factory unlocked iPhones are nothing but legally unlocked iPhones which are NOT tied to any one service provider as in US and UK. You are free to use these factory unlocked iPhone 4 devices with any cellular service provider ANYWHERE in the world, without voiding your Apple warranty.
Update: Buy Factory Unlocked iPhone 4S for Cheap
Buy Factory Unlocked iPhone 4 for Cheap
We had earlier written a guide on where to buy unlocked iPhone 3G/3GS for cheap price. There we had mentioned how and why buying legally unlocked iPhones in Hong Kong Apple store is the best and saves you money as well.
iPhone 4 purchased at the Apple Online Store can be activated with any wireless carrier. Simply insert the SIM from your current phone into iPhone 4 and connect to iTunes to complete activation.
As I mentioned earlier, since they’ve been unlocked at the factory, these iPhones can always be updated and they’re covered under standard Apple warranties. This is because, in countries like Hong Kong, New Zealand and Australia, it is illegal for Cell phone companies to mandate their customers to have a contract with any ONE service provider. So, if you ever touch down at Hong Kong airport or Australia or New Zealand for a holiday or business trip, don’t forget to grab a Factory unlocked iPhone 4 from the local Apple Online Store.
Factory Unlocked iPhone 4 Prices
The prices of factory unlocked iPhone 4 haven’t been announced yet by Apple. At the time of writing this post, Apple has announced iPhone 4 for five countries alone, and none of them have factory unlocked iPhone 4. Apple is expected to announce iPhone 4 in 55 more countries in July 2010 which might include countries like Hong Kong, Australia, Belgium etc which will definitely get legally unlocked iPhone 4 versions.
If we go by the prices of iPhone 4 in US, which are exactly same as those for iPhone 3GS models (whose prices were reduced after the launch of iPhone 4), we expect the cost of factory unlocked iPhone 4 in Hong Kong to be-
iPhone 4 – 16GB (factory unlocked): HK$ 5,388 i.e USD 695 (or 570 Euro) *approx*
iPhone 4 – 32GB (factory unlocked): HK$ 6,288 i.e USD 812 (or 667 Euro) *approx*
Beside HK, Apple stores in NZ and Australia might also get iPhone 4 but at not-so-cheap prices, as the service providers are only authorized to unlocked iPhone 4. The approximate expected prices of iPhone 4 are
iPhone 4 16 GB (factory unlocked):
New Zealand 1,150.00 NZD = 655.033 EUR = 791 USD
Australia 879.00 AUD, 617.287 EUR, 746.991 USD
iPhone 4 32 GB (factory unlocked):
New Zealand 1,349.00 NZD, 928.172 USD, 768.422 EUR
Australia 1,040.00 AUD, 882.469 USD, 730.121 EUR
Keep a tab on this post for updates as and when official prices of iPhone 4 factory unlocked versions are announced.
Update 1: Surprise!! surprise!! Apple has announced unlocked iPhone 4 in UK, France and Canada at not so pleasing prices
Factory Unlocked iPhone 4 16GB in UK – £499
Factory Unlocked iPhone 4 32GB in UK – £599
Factory Unlocked iPhone 4 16GB in France – €629
Factory Unlocked iPhone 4 32GB in France – €739
Factory Unlocked iPhone 4 16GB in Canada – $649
Factory Unlocked iPhone 4 32GB in Canada – $749