Apple announced iPhone 4S earlier this week. It is now available for pre-order in US, Canada, Australia, UK, Germany, France & Japan and will be available starting Oct 14th. The problem with iPhone 4S in many countries including US, is that Apple ties up the iPhone purchase to a local telecom provider like AT&T, Verizon, Vodafone or O2. The service providers in turn subsidize the price of iPhone 4S 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 some countries like Canada, UK, Hong Kong & Australia, Apple is forced to sell the factory unlocked iPhone 4S. These factory unlocked iPhones are nothing but legally unlocked iPhones which are NOT tied to any one service provider as in US and Japan. You are free to use these factory unlocked iPhone 4S devices with any cellular service provider ANYWHERE in the world, without voiding your Apple warranty.

Buy Factory Unlocked iPhone 4S for Cheap

I had earlier written an article about buying factory unlocked iPhone 4 for a cheap price. There I had mentioned how and why buying legally unlocked iPhones in Hong Kong Apple store is the best and saves you money as well.

iPhone 4S purchased at the Apple Online Store can be activated with any wireless carrier. Simply insert the SIM from your current phone into iPhone 4S and connect to iTunes to complete activation.

Though Apple has not announced the launch of iPhone 4S in Hong Kong, we know that (from our sources) that Hong Kong is among the 70+ countries scheduled to get iPhone 4S by the end of this year. And surprisingly, Canada seems to be the best place to get factory unlocked iPhone 4S for cheap.
Update: Hong Kong is still the cheapest place to get iPhone 4S, as I had not taken into account the sales tax (12-15%) applied at Apple store in Canada & US. Thanks @duak!

Update 2: Apple will begin selling iPhone 4S in Hong Kong from 11.11.11! Pre-orders start from 4th Nov 2011.

Factory Unlocked iPhone 4S Prices

Officially, Apple has announced the prices of iPhone 4S in seven countries alone. Of these seven, Canada, UK, Germany, France & Australia will be getting unlocked iPhone 4S, while US & Japan will be getting the carrier locked versions. Though we don’t know the prices of unlocked iPhone 4S in countries like Hong Kong, New Zealand etc, it is very obvious that Apple will ensure that the prices of the newer models are just the same as the older ones.

Going by that logic, the expected prices (now confirmed prices) of factory unlocked iPhone 4S in Hong Kong will be-

iPhone 4S – 16GB (factory unlocked): HK$ 5,088 i.e USD 655 (or 477 Euro) *no taxes*
iPhone 4S – 32GB (factory unlocked): HK$ 5,888 i.e USD 758 (or 550 Euro) *no taxes*
iPhone 4S – 64GB (factory unlocked): HK$ 6,688 i.e USD 861 (or 623 Euro) *no taxes*

Mind you, there are no sales taxes (or VAT/duties) in Hong Kong! And hence these prices are slightly better than the official prices announced for unlocked iPhone 4S in Canada-

iPhone 4S – 16GB (factory unlocked): $649 + taxes i.e USD 627 + taxes (or 467 Euro + taxes) *approx*
iPhone 4S – 32GB (factory unlocked): $749 + taxes i.e USD 725 + taxes (or 539 Euro + taxes) *approx*
iPhone 4S – 64GB (factory unlocked): $849 + taxes i.e USD 821 + taxes (or 610 Euro + taxes) *approx*

Singapore, which is scheduled to get iPhone 4S on October 22nd is also a decent option for factory unlocked iPhone 4S-

iPhone 4S – 16GB (factory unlocked): S$888 i.e USD 685 + taxes (or 510 Euro + taxes) *approx*
iPhone 4S – 32GB (factory unlocked): S$1048 i.e USD 809 + taxes (or 602 Euro + taxes) *approx*
iPhone 4S – 64GB (factory unlocked): S$1208 i.e USD 932 + taxes (or 694 Euro + taxes) *approx*

The official prices of unlocked iPhone 4S in UK are astonishingly high, considering high VAT and import duties over there –

iPhone 4S – 16GB (factory unlocked): £499 i.e USD 775 (or 577 Euro) *approx*
iPhone 4S – 32GB (factory unlocked): £599 i.e USD 930 (or 692 Euro) *approx*
iPhone 4S – 64GB (factory unlocked): £699 i.e USD 1086 (or 808 Euro) *approx*

Buy Factory Unlocked iPhone 4S in US

Unlike the previous years, Apple will be releasing factory unlocked iPhone 4S in US as well. Apple had released unlocked iPhone 4 too, but it was months after the official release. The unlocked iPhone 4S will be available in November at these prices-

iPhone 4S – 16GB (factory unlocked): USD 649 + taxes
iPhone 4S – 32GB (factory unlocked): USD 749 + taxes
iPhone 4S – 64GB (factory unlocked): USD 849 + taxes

Though the unlocked iPhone 4S is GSM+CDMA ready, switching networks and operators is not so easy and straightforward. Read this article from Daggle to learn more about the limitation.

Keep a tab on this post for updates as and when official prices of iPhone 4s factory unlocked versions are announced.


Raju is the founder-editor of Technology Personalized. A proud geek and an Internet freak, who is also a social networking enthusiast. You can follow him on Facebook and on Twitter. Mail Raju PP. Follow rajupp


  • Mahesh

    Nice article. But it would also be helpful if you mention online shops for international buyers.

    • Soan

      Ya..even i felt that online shop links would have helped.
      But, only if you are in the same country! If you are in India and order one using online shop, it would again be subjected to import and custom duties making it equivalent to prevailing price in India.

      • bosh-777

        So if i live in australia and i want to purchase an iPhone 4s from hong kong via the apple store, would they actually ship it to me. or do i have to purchase one here for extra 200$

        • Raju

          @bosh-777 Sadly, they don’t ship it outside HK. If at all you are visiting HK or know someone coming back from there, you can get it. But then, iPhone 4S is not yet available officially there. Buzz is that, it should be available by this year end.

  • Dinesh

    iPhone 4s is the best phone ever … i will definitely buy it.

  • Ray

    Fantastic comparison. Thanks for the info :)

  • Arun

    Nice walk through about pricing, I think Singapore is best option who want buy urgently, and what about taxes in singapore?. Any guess about release date of HK?

    • Raju PP

      Singapore has nominal taxes on gadgets, need to check about iPhone though. As for HK release date, it should come in November according to my sources.

      • Arun

        If it is available in NOV in HK then we could wait for it..once it is available then price of iphone 4s in online store my slash down.

      • raghupro

        Also, tourists get a marginal refund of GST if purchased in Apple stores in Singapore. Just ask for GST refund form and they will provide it. Then you just need to go to the GST refund counter at singapore airport and get your refund by cash or cheque whichever is convenient.

  • yebhi

    hmm where to buy it factory unlocked iphone i request the author to please list reliable sources to buy unlocked 4s awaiting a list.

  • Cat

    FYI, Alberta province in Canada only charge 5%GST (sales tax)

    • Raju PP

      Good to know that Cat! What about other provinces?

  • EJ

    It would be great if you could possibly write the price in HK for iphone4s 64GB..and tell where to possibly buy it (online or retail store). That would be great. Thanks.

  • gourav

    great article, i was looking for the information….thanks for the share

  • raghupro

    Getting hold of iPhone 4S in hong kong is really difficult as most of the times it shows its sold out! The price in US is marginally higher than in Hong Kong so I would still say US is a better place to get hold of one.

    Moreover, Oregon in USA has 0% taxes (the only state in US) so it would cost cheaper in Oregon than in Hong Kong.

    • matsushima

      Isn’t Delaware also a sales tax free state in the US?

  • Jason

    OK, so my question is this. I have the iPhone 4s That I bought here In Japan from AU and the am looking to move back to The US. Do I need to jail break my phone to take it back to the US? ot unlock the phone?

    • Raju PP

      Most of the iPhones sold in Japan are locked to the carriers. But since you say that this iPhone 4S was bought from Australia, it’ll most probably factory unlocked. I have no way to confirm that sitting here in India. But the point is, *for now* there is no jailbreaking solution available for iPhone 4S, and hence no unlock as well. Just check if it is factory unlocked by inserting SIM from another carrier.

      • Lamda

        @Raju PP AU is not Australia but AU Docomo, one of provider in Japan.

        • Raju

          @Lamda In that case, it’s most probably locked to the carrier and hence can’t be unlocked

  • Elitasaru

    if i have iphone 4 wich locked whata should i do to unlock it ? and how much cost

  • Sweet

    im planning to buy the iphone4s once i stop over singapore airport.. any idea how much ill be paying, or are there any requirements like passport or such? any store in particular? thanks!

  • Paul

    I bought the factory unlocked in the US for a little less than $800. I love it and when the iPhone 5 comes out, I will be able to sell it for a premium price! Gosh I hope apple keeps selling the factory unlocked phones. I love no contracts!

  • Bhaskar

    Dear Paul, which iPhone did u buy? Is it the 16gb which costed around $800 or the 32 gb? If it is 32gb, could u pls let me know how much is the 16 gb.

  • kasz

    HI , My friend is returning back from us to India within a month . I can ask him to buy contract iphone 4s with at&t and bring it to India and I can get it unlocked in India.Just wandering if there will be any issue for violating the contract and anyway the phone will be used in India?

    • Raju

      @kasz iPhone 4S cannot be unlocked “as yet”

  • Raju

    No sorry. There is no Apple store in HK airport. Not sure if there is any Apple reseller operating there though

  • galax

    if you give 4s 16g on 400/420 euro i buy 50 for begining

  • kiran

    Hi, I want to buy a Iphone 4s 16 gb. Please let me know the price in USA

  • JJtecster

    Awesome stuff. Just a point of reference there is a company called Kogan I would suggest avoiding. They are very cocky in stating that they have they best price and a better service, but when you pull them up on this expecting them to at least match the better prices you have found they just tell you that they aren’t interested! This only equals a loss of business for them and a dissatisfied almost customer like me posting and informing about them all over the internet. So in summary Kogan = crappy service and worse prices 😛 avoid avoid avoid!!