Apple’s iPhone 5 was just announced amidst lots of hype and rumors. Innumerable leaks this time ensured that the announcement doesn’t sound as exciting as many were hoping it to be. But that doesn’t make iPhone 5 worse than the competition. It is still a force to reckon with in the smartphone market. Taller, thinner, lighter & faster than ever.

iPhone 5 is available for pre-order starting Sep 14th in US, Canada, UK, France, Germany, Australia, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and will start to ship on 21st September. Then, a week later, it will be available in 22 more countries. The problem with iPhone 5 in many countries including US, is that Apple ties up the iPhone purchase to a local cellular provider like AT&T, Verizon, T-mobile, Orange 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. Some of these carriers do offer iPhone unlocking, but that comes with lots of restrictions.

In some countries like Canada, Singapore, Hong Kong & Australia, Apple is forced to sell the factory unlocked iPhone 5. These factory unlocked iPhones are nothing but legally unlocked iPhones which are NOT tied to any one service provider as in US or Japan. You are free to use these factory unlocked iPhone 5 devices with any cellular service provider ANYWHERE in the world, without voiding your Apple warranty.

Buy Factory Unlocked iPhone 5 for Cheap

Traditionally, unlocked iPhones are sold the cheapest in Hong Kong. This is majorly due to the fact that there are no import duties & additional taxes for gadget sales in Hong Kong. Things are pretty much the same for factory unlocked iPhone 5 as well. The 16GB iPhone 5 starts from HK$ 5588 (approximately US$ 720 / INR 39800). As for other countries,

in Singapore, unlocked iPhone 5 starts from S$ 948 (approximately US$ 770 / INR 42600)
in Canada, unlocked iPhone 5 starts from $699 + taxes (approximately US$ 716 / INR 39500) + taxes
in Australia, unlocked iPhone 5 starts from A$ 799 (approximately US$ 837 / INR 46200)
in UK, unlocked iPhone 5 starts from £529 (approximately US$ 852 / INR 47000)

Though Canadian prices look more attractive, adding the taxes would take it to around US$ 760, which is much higher than HK prices. Typically, Apple announces factory unlocked iPhone in US after a couple of months. Expect the same to happen this time around as well. Going by the past precedents, factory unlocked iPhone 5 in US should start from $629 (excluding taxes), which is still cheaper than Hong Kong prices. But then, one needs to wait for an indefinite time for unlocked iPhone 5 to arrive in US. So for now, Hong Kong is the best option for carrier unlocked iPhone 5 if you know someone from there.

Also note that, unlike iPad & other Apple products, iPhone 5 will not come with international warranty. If you are planning to get an unlocked iPhone 5 from anywhere other than your home country, do consider this with utmost priority.

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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