Apple said when it launched the iPhone 4S that an unlocked model would be available for purchase in November and, true to its word, the company today put the carrier-free models of its latest smartphone up on its online store. All three versions of the unlocked 4S are set to ship in 1-2 weeks, which isn't a shock considering that the locked models have the same shipping estimate, and pricing is set at $649 for the 16GB model, $749 for the 32GB version, and $849 for the capacious 64GB flavor. Apple notes that the unlocked 4S will work with any GSM network of your choice, but it can't be used with CDMA carriers like Sprint and Verizon. Just like previous iPhones here in the U.S., the commitment-free 4S will work with AT&T 3G but will be stuck on EDGE when using a T-Mobile SIM card.
While we're on the topic of the unlocked iPhone 4S, it's worth noting that Sprint has announced that it'll begin locking the SIM cards of all its 4S models starting today, November 11th. However, Sprint does say that customers can request to have their SIMs unlocked after being in good standing with the carrier for 90 days. The good news is that a memo leaked to SprintFeed mentions that iPhones purchased before today will not have their SIMs locked, so those of you that jumped on a Sprint iPhone 4S early can continue to revel in your SIM freedom. The official announcement from Sprint is below.
The unlocked iPhone 4S definitely isn't the ideal device for everyone just because of the expensive (at least compared to subsidized phones) pricing for all three models. Still, for folks that travel abroad or just want the freedom to pop any SIM card they want into their iPhone, it's nice to have the option to buy an unlocked 4S straight from Apple and avoid having to mess with jailbreaking/hacking their device to gain SIM freedom. If that all sounds great to you, the unlocked iPhone 4S is available right here. Just be prepared to help your wallet limp away from the transaction after you're done.
Sprint's policy is to have the iPhone 4S SIM locked to our network domestically and internationally. Beginning on November 11, the International SIM will be locked for devices provisioned on the Sprint network. Customers in good standing for at least 90 days can request to have their SIM unlocked for international use by calling Customer Care at 888-211-4727.
Customers can sign up for one of our international rate plans and use this phone in most countries all over the world. When traveling internationally, there is a setting that must be turned on within the device to connect to GSM. International voice and data charges are on a pay-as-you-go basis and vary based on the country where the customer is using their phone; a list of rates is available at www.sprint.com/international.
Sprint offers two international voice plans that customers can subscribe to for discounted voice rates:
· The Canada Roaming add-on is $2.99 per month and all calls placed from Canada are only 20 cents per minute. Without this add-on, calls from Canada are 59 cents per minute.
· The Sprint Worldwide Voice add-on is $4.99 per month and offers discounted rates in countries around the world. For example, calls from Italy are $1.69 per minute with this add-on or $1.99 per minute without the add-on; calls from Peru are $2.29 per minute with the add-on or $2.49 per minute without it.
Sprint does supply notifications of data roaming charges to help protect customers from high costs. Notifications are sent to the customer's preferred method, either text or email, and are sent once the device exceeds approximately $50, $250, $500 and $1,000. To protect the customer from additional charges, the device's international data roaming capability will be suspended after the customer exceeds approximately $500 of international data charges in a billing cycle.