We knew it was going to come at some point during the month of November, but we didn’t know when Apple was going to officially start selling the unlocked iPhone 4S in the United States. Turns out, it was today.

With Apple already selling unlocked handsets on other countries, this is bringing the United States into line with everyone else. But if you’ve been waiting for the chance to buy an iPhone 4S without a 2-year contract, well, now you can!

All three capacities are available, along with both white and black models…

There is a price to pay for not being tied to a contract, and that’s a significant upfront cost. On Apple.com right now, the unlocked 16GB iPhone 4S will set you back $649. 32GB models weigh in at $749, with $849 required to pick up the top 64GB varient.

Apple also notes that the unlocked handsets will not work with CDMA carriers, meaning Sprint and Verizon in the United States.

“The unlocked iPhone includes all the features of iPhone but without a contract commitment. You can activate and use it on the supported GSM wireless network of your choice, such as AT&T in the United States.* The unlocked iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S will not work with CDMA-based carriers such as Verizon Wireless or Sprint.”

If unlocked is your preferred route, you’ll also need to wait 1-2 weeks for delivery, according to the Apple Store.

Who’s buying?

  • you know if they are also available in stores?

    • Rajan Tailor

      only available online for now !

    • Rajan Tailor

      only available online for now !!

    • I just chatted with an Apple rep online, and she said ordering online will be the quickest way to receive the unlocked 4S. There currently is no scheduled “in store” release for the unlocked 4S. However, wouldn’t surprise me (especially now that I’ve ordered online), that they show up on the retail shelves this afternoon.

  • Rajan Tailor


  • Anonymous

    This translates to a flat (and shocking) premium of $450 over any one carrier subsidy, regardless of the model’s GB capacity.

    Although the unlocked 4S can be used in the US serviced by T-Mobile (USA) prepaid, but only as a 2.5G device. [This because T-Mobile’s 3G UMTS band (1700MHz down/2100MHz up) is not supported.]

    That kind of sucks for me.

    But if cellular data speeds are of no concern (with WiFi taking most of your high-speed data load), there are significant monthly savings to be made by using prepaid with internet-bought refills (no tax, no E911 fees, no discretionary fees that may add to more than 25% of the monthly bill).

    Two extremes with T-Mobile prepaid:

    1. At one end, you have a $30-month plan (minus a 5% discount on refills with no taxes) which buys your 1500 min-month (1 text=1min), and 30GB cellular data (forcing you to keep you cellular data off most of the time).
    2. At the other end, you have a $70-month plan (again minus 5% internet-bought refills, and no taxes) which buys you unlimited talk/text and unlimited data (all at 2.5G speeds). (Unlimited because it rides over 2.5G service)

    I am considering a 4S unlocked for my wife. And seeing T-Mobile at 2.5G probably acceptable to her as she uses data sparingly today. I have my iPhone 4 on AT&T’s Go-Phone plan which requires some secret sauce to get activation (that may merit a post all by its own).

  • I still can’t believe it’s only a 2 year contract in the US… In Canada we’re locked in for a solid 3 years on a contract.

  • I’m buying unlocked and without a contract. Whats the final price going to be with US sales taxes added?

    • Anonymous

      Depends on sales tax in your state.

      • what are the sales tax in New York adn Washington?
        and anyone knows wen would it be in stores?

      • Ok, I see it differs from State to State. New York is 8.875% so a 16GB actually costs $707. Thanks.