Unlocked iPhone 5 Now Available In Apple Stores: Starting At $649

By Alexandra Burlacu | Dec 03, 2012 08:52 AM EST

Share This Story

  • Print
  • Email

Apple has released the unlocked version of its new iPhone 5, making it available for sale without a contract on the company's Web site.

The unlocked iPhone 5 costs $649, $749, or $849 for the 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB models, respectively. The handset is available in the same black and white colors as the on-contract, subsidized models.

Follow us

The Cupertino giant did not mention when the retail stores will start carrying the unlocked models for sale, but early reports indicate the handset is beginning to reach inventories. The unlocked iPhone 5 models are GSM only, which means good news for AT&T and T-Mobile customers in the United States, but a potential drawback for Sprint and Verizon customers.

The subsidized iPhone 5 is available for purchase starting at $199 from AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon Wireless, or even less on a contract with a small regional carrier. The unlocked version starting at $649, however, comes with added freedom.

Unlocked handsets are excellent options for international travelers who use the device on GSM-based networks worldwide. Most countries usually get unlocked units right from the start, but the U.S. always has to wait a while after the iPhone launch to get unlocked versions, and that's thanks to the carriers.

The fact that the unlocked iPhone 5 model works on GSM, not CDMA networks, means that customers will not be able to use it on Sprint's or Verizon's network, hence the drawback mentioned earlier. Instead, the handset is limited to GSM networks, which in the U.S. means AT&T or T-Mobile USA. When it comes to connectivity, the unlocked handset can get LTE service from AT&T, but only 3G service from T-Mobile in a few markets.

Besides being able to roam free when traveling abroad, an unlocked handset also appeals to those who do not want to be tied to a contract for a couple of years. While the $199 price tag is considerably less than $649 for the unlocked versions, a two-year contract with a wireless network operator will add plenty of costs. Most post-paid carriers charge at least $70 per month for voice, text, and data packages, and two years means roughly $1,700 in carrier fees.

Getting a handset contract-free means that users can choose a month-to-month service that costs less. T-Mobile, for instance, offers a prepaid plan with unlimited 3G/4G data, unlimited messaging, and 100 voice minutes for a $30 monthly fee. Spanning over two years, T-Mobile's prepaid plan would amount to $720. Ultimately, it all comes down to whether users prefer to pay a larger sum up front, and less as they go, or pay a small amount at first, and catch up later in carrier expenses.

Get the Most Popular Mobile&Apps Stories in a Weekly Newsletter

© 2014 Mobile & Apps All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

Join Our Conversation

Smartphones
Motorola Nexus 6 with Android 5.0 Lollipop Google Nexus 6 UK launch reportedly delayed until December
Surface Pro 2 tablet quietly goes off sale on Microsoft Store
Samsung Galaxy S5 Plus ready to launch in Europe with Snapdragon 805
iPad Air 2 benchmarks praise A8X chip: ‘Fastest multi-core iOS device by a large margin’
Tablet / Laptop / PC
Dell Venue 7 and Venue 8 Dell unveils Venue 7 and Venue 8 Android 4.3 Jelly Bean tablets
Retina iPad Mini facing delays, may not launch until early next year
Refurbished 128GB iPad with Retina Display now available on the Apple Online Store
Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 – 2014 Edition: Pricing and availability now official
Gadgets
Amazon Logo Amazon reportedly to launch ‘Firetube’ set-top box before 2013 holidays
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy Gear India launch: Pricing and availability
Samsung Galaxy Gear Android smartwatch now up for pre-order in Canada
Samsung Galaxy Gear 2 reportedly in the works already, may debut at CES or MWC 2014
OS / Software
HTC Logo HTC reportedly considering Android/Windows Phone dual-booting smartphone as Microsoft pushes for deeper Windows mobile integration
iOS 7 Chrome Incognito mode leaks private searches due to bug
Sprint HTC One Android 4.3 Jelly Bean already rolling out, AT&T, T-Mobile & Verizon to follow
Microsoft Windows 8.1 now available for pre-order
Internet / Social Media
Google Downtime Google blacks out for two minutes, causes 40 percent drop in world’s Internet traffic
Xbox Music web player is live and ready for Xbox Music Pass subscribers
Facebook Android app collected phone numbers even if users never logged in
Firefox 22 brings support for web video calls, 3D gaming, and Unreal Engine 3
What's App
Flipboard for Windows Phone Flipboard for Windows Phone finally available, but requires 1GB of RAM (VIDEO)
Vine gets major update, lets you upload previously-shot videos & more (VIDEO)
BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) finally hits Windows Phone – Available as a free download now
Instagram releases Bolt ephemeral messaging app in select markets to challenge Snapchat
Copyright © 2014 Mobile & Apps All rights reserved. mobilenapps
Real Time Analytics