updated 09:40 am EST, Mon December 15, 2008
Taiwanese iPhone unlocked
Buyers of the Taiwanese iPhone will find it unlocked, reports say. Although the phone's official carrier in the country -- Chunghwa Telecom -- has in the past insisted that the phone would only work on its network, in practice, the new iPhone will accept SIM cards from other carriers' networks without any hardware or software hacks. The only tradeoff, users say, is that Chunghwa's Hami services become inaccessible.
While unlocking cellphones is a common practice in Asia, Apple has traditionally fought any attempt to sell an open iPhone, preferring to collect royalties and subsidies from one or more carrier partners. This could in theory make the Taiwanese iPhone a popular gray-market export, but contract-free versions cost $800 US for 8GB, or $900 US for 16GB.
The Taiwanese market is however said to be sharply discounting Apple's iPod shuffle in recent days, pricing a barebones 1GB model -- without normal accessories such as earbuds -- down to $27 US. This is over 47 percent lower than the player's normal cost in the country, approximately $50 US.