Those in the U.S. who would like Apple’s latest smartphone but aren’t into commitment or contracts can now buy an unlocked version of the iPhone 5.
Unlike the units sold by telecoms, this version can be used with any GSM carrier just be inserting a micro-SIM card. This includes AT&T, T-Mobile, and many more. Apple warns it doesn’t support every type of 4G LTE, however.
Phones that are sold through carriers with contracts are subsidized — the carrier reduces the up-front cost and gradually makes its money back from the service fees paid by customers. When devices are sold without contracts, there are no subsidies.
That’s why the contract-free version of the iPhone 5 with 16GB of storage is $700, not $200. The 32GB version is $800, and the 64GB is $900.
This smartphone has been on the market for two months, but is only now being made available unlocked because demand for the carrier versions has been so strong that Apple couldn’t make units fast enough, while there were also production problems.
Don’t miss Brighthand’s review of the Apple iPhone 5.