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Apple, AT&T put an end to contract-free iPhone 4s [u]

updated 12:30 pm EDT, Thu August 19, 2010

US amongst most restricted countries

(Update with AT&T correction) The option of a contract-free iPhone 4 in the US has vanished from the Apple and AT&T websites, reports observe. It was previously possible to buy a 16GB phone for $599, or a 32GB model for $699. In an FAQ, however, Apple now states that all US iPhones require a two-year AT&T contract, which does at least lower the hardware price. No explanation has been given for the change.

The US has become increasingly alone in terms of restrictions on buying an iPhone. Most regions with the device now have multiple supporting carriers, and in countries like Canada or France, it's possible to buy an unlocked phone compatible with many GSM carriers around the world. The situation may soon change if rumors of future Verizon support prove true.

Update: An AT&T spokesman states that the wording on Apple's website has not changed, and it should still be possible to get an iPhone 4 without a contract by going to an AT&T store.






by MacNN Staff

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Comments

  1. aristotles

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +13

    Buy unlocked iPhone from Canada

    There is no real point in buying a locked iPhone for almost full price when you can buy an unlocked iPhone from Canada for only a little more and be able to use it with other sims around the world including SIMS you can rent from the airport in Japan.

  1. Zeeb

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +10

    comment title

    I'd rather have an unlocked iPhone than simply a contract free one. That way, I could take it across the border and buy pre-pay data and voice in the country I'm visiting and not worry about getting charged exorbitant rates.

    I never saw the benefit of a contract free iPhone that is still locked to a particular carrier.

  1. themacjedicali

    Joined: Dec 1969

    -6

    adroid

    WOW. NO wonder the droid phones are killing this incredible machine. I love the iphone, but ATT can kiss my oily rat a$$

  1. wg45678

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +8

    Have to agree with Zeeb

    And unfortunately, perhaps it's time for legislation to ensure US consumers have the same option of purchasing an unsubsidized, unlocked, phone -- from any vendor, irrespective of exclusive agreements -- as to folks in the EU.

  1. Athens

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +8

    NO! Stay out of Canada

    Don't buy your phones in Canada. We already have enough stock shortages as it is for the iPhone 4.

  1. martini

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +4

    AT&T Greed

    This is just AT&T trying to lock down more contracts before they lose the iPhone.

    Everyone talks about the CDMA version coming to Verizon, but the GSM version could (and by the looks of this, most probably will) be available to other carriers once exclusivity ends.

  1. MyRightEye

    Joined: Dec 1969

    -1

    Get screwed

    I was buying one TODAY!! Pissed!!!

  1. Le Flaneur

    Joined: Dec 1969

    -1

    this is a reaction to jailbreaking / unlocking

    Buyers of contract-free iPhones were circumventing the carrier lock, so now Apple / AT&T have erected another roadblock.

    Buying an unlocked iPhone in Canada requires a Canadian address, doesn't it?

  1. Marook

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +2

    ohh, the irony...

    The first year of the original iPhone, about 10% was bought IN the US buy people from OUTside the US.. now I will bet we wil see the reverse traffic.. ;-)

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +3

    Re: Have to agree with Zeeb

    And unfortunately, perhaps it's time for legislation to ensure US consumers have the same option of purchasing an unsubsidized, unlocked, phone -- from any vendor, irrespective of exclusive agreements -- as to folks in the EU.

    Wow, you'd think that buying a phone was a constitutional right, like buying a gun or something.

    Can we then try to get legislation to ensure US consumers can minitower Mac with some PCIe slots and, even better, built-in eSATA? And make ExpressCard slots mandatory on laptops?

    Oh, h***, why bother. Even if they did, Apple would find some way to lock them down and make them only work when they thought it was useful.

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