A case for an unlocked iPhone?

Gene Steinberg laments that AT&T, or any other US carrier, does not offer reasonable international rates, and would not unlock his son’s iPhone to use in Spain, either.
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I had a similar problem when I went overseas for three weeks last October. After a long to-and-fro with AT&T’s international ‘advisor’, she finally told me that under contract with Apple, AT&T cannot ‘SIM unlock’ the iPhone (I had the 3GS then), like they can any other handset when requested. I was forced to use another phone that I bought unlocked from Amazon.com, because I did not want to jailbreak.
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I did use Skype over Wi-Fi since all my contacts were on the iPhone, praying that nobody will place a call to me from the US when I was talking on VoIP. The 3GS did not have a separate disconnect for Wi-Fi and Cellular, and it didn’t occur to me to take out the SIM!
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I did write to Steve Jobs, then, to please issue an unlocked version of the upcoming iPhone. Apple has done so, but not in the US.
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This is indeed preposterous; I know a couple of my friends had their SIM unlocked in other cellphones. Using a prepaid SIM in the country you’re traveling is the best option for voice and data. This is especially true in Asia, where rates are very cheap.
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I had one other revelation: Carry an Airport Express on travels, especially overseas. While ethernet is available in homes and hotels worldwide, a Wi-Fi router is not that common everywhere. If you want to use Skype to place calls, you would need Wi-Fi.

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5 Responses to A case for an unlocked iPhone?

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