James Middleton

September 26, 2008

2 Min Read
Apple targets mass market with unlocked iPhone

Californian gadget maker Apple has made an unlocked version of the iPhone 3G available, direct from its own stores.

Unfortunately, the unlocked unit is only available to consumers in Hong Kong, where the iconic device began selling this week.

A 16GB version is retailing for HK$6,200 (Eur545), while the 8GB option is HK$5,400, which is in line with prepay units available in Europe. But the attractive thing about the Hong Kong offering is that a buyer can pop the SIM of their choice into the device, although it appears that once the registration process is completed, the handset is then locked to that particular carrier.

While this option probably won’t be available in the original iPhone markets like the US and UK, where the carriers have an exclusivity deal, it would help to make it available to a wider market if introduced elsewhere.

Over on the mainland, rumour has it that China Mobile is gearing up to launch the iPhone 3G, sans 3G. Local press reports that the device will be available shortly, but will be crippled, with no access to 3G or wifi connectivity. This makes a certain sense while China’s 3G plan is still up in the air, as China Mobile will probably end up with a TD-SCDMA licence, while the iPhone is WCDMA only. But the reason for killing wifi seems less clear.

In other iPhone news, Turkish operator Turkcell announced that it launched the iPhone 3G on Friday. Interestingly, Turkcell is making a contract free version of the phone available for Eur129 per month over five instalments (Eur645), which might also make it attractive to a wider marketplace.

Those signing a contract can get the device for TRY279 (Eur154) with an 18 month plan at TRY75 per month, or for free with a TRY145 per month plan.

About the Author(s)

James Middleton

James Middleton is managing editor of telecoms.com | Follow him @telecomsjames

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