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back to article Online retailer offers Sim-free iPhone 3Gs

Play.com is punting unlocked iPhones for folk who don't fancy being tethered to O2. The downside: freedom from carriers doesn't come cheap. The 8GB iPhone 3G, for example, costs £550. Play wants £600 for the 16GB version, though it currently has no models of that capacity in stock, according to its website. Play claims the …

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Anonymous Coward

Funny that

Play.com are based in Jersey and Jersey Telecom have just got in a shipment of iPhones (SIM free) from Italy I believe. Wonder where Play.com got theirs from ?

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If they're 'obliged'

to offer sim free iphones in one EU country, shouldn't they be 'obliged' to offer them in all EU countries?

After all, I (naively) thought that was part of the EU's raison d'etre.

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Jobs Horns

Overpriced

It just goes to show how ridiculously overpriced the iPhone really is.

Queue long list of Apple fanboys to blindly defend it...

The only thing on an iPhone which interests me is the Apple dock connector, allowing it to copulate with my assorted iPod speaker systems. The adoption of ADC by the majority of electronics accessory manufacturers now restricts my choice of replacement mp3 player when my iPod eventually dies.

Bring on an anti-trust suit against the Apple for the ADC.

The time has come for it to be made legal for all phone/mp3 manufacturers to be able to produce devices with a built-in ADC (subject to a fair licence fee) so that the mobile phone market does not become so distorted as the mp3 player market.

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Re: If they're 'obliged'.

No. Said obligation is due to local legislation at work in the countries concerned.

What the EU does here is make it possible to then sell these in another EU country, whether Apple, O2 or whoever like it or not. Watch for fun and games as Apple and their telco stooges try to shut the barn door with the horse already off over the horizon.

It'll probably end with Apple sitting in the "anticompetitive" chair in Brustrasellsbourg usually reserved for MS.

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The ability to unlock should be enforced

I mean, carriers get the subsidy they applied to the phone back, and quite a bit on top, buy locking you into a contract for up to two years. Why should they be able to dictate that you must stay with them forever? Surely that's incredibly anti-competitive?

Then again, since when has competition law been applied to benefit consumers?

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Re: If they're 'obliged'

"to offer sim free iphones in one EU country, shouldn't they be 'obliged' to offer them in all EU countries?"

They do. That's the whole point of the 'single economic community' aspect of the EU- if they sell it in the EU, it is purchasable from anywhere in the EU- it's no more complicated than that. You might have to use a French web site to get one, but there's nothing stopping you from doing it.

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Bod

EU legislation

About bloody time that Apple were brought to book over this one. As much as they stomp their feet about unlocking and messing about in any way with their beloved phone being illegal, they cannot ignore the EU legislation that most if not all other phone manufacturers comply with.

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Working it out over 18 months...

...this would cost you £31 a month. Makes the £3.50 extra you'd pay for 600 minutes, 500 texts and unlimited* data on O2 sound not too shabby. Unless of course you were already in a contract etc.

*yeah, yeah, I know

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02 have to unlock it

I believe that once a contract has ended, a person can phone 02 and say "please unlock my mobile phone" which 02 are obliged to do, and charge a fee of around £15 for the "honour", they can't say "nope!". However, if Apple then go around re-locking phones through itunes then maybe a class action is brewing, we can hope so anyhow.

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Bronze badge

hmmm

de ja vou !! :D

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Er, what about the cost of data?

I'm no shill for O2 (God forbid) but isn't half of the attraction of the iPhone deal the unlimited data? Why would anyone pay £550 and then fork out for data usage on top?

(I can understand why someone wouldn't want to be tied to an O2 contract, but not why they would splash out this much and then pay for calls, texts and data on top. I mean, I like my iPhone, but I'd happily switch back to my Nokia E51 rather than pay those kind of numbers.)

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Paris Hilton

@Andrew Bush

Insignia (Best Buy's brand, I believe) made a Bluetooth audio received which mates with an iPod dock. Works on most devices I have tried.

Additionally, there are quite a number of Bluetooth audio receivers, like the SonyEricsson MBR-100 (out of production, but still available from online retailers) which have a standard 3.5mm jack output. Almost all of the iPod speaker systems I have seen also include a 3.5mm input.

So your choices are not so limited if you have Bluetooth or 3.5mm output.

Now, the one thing that neither of the devices I mentioned have are the AVRCP, which would allow you to control your player via buttons on the dock. Small price to pay, I believe. Maybe newer versions of the Isignia or a-likes will.

Paris, 3.5mm input??

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Sick of it

The new trend to lock phones to carriers in Europe needs to end, it hurts consumers and sales too. I have *zero* problem to commit for two years if the carrier offers both a good monthly rate and a decent subsidy of the device. On the contrary, I have a lot of problems not being able to choose the carrier in the first place if I am after a specific device (especially if the exclusive carrier demands absurd rates, see T-Mobile in Germany), even more problems if the device is locked so even after the two years it likely involves hassle or feature-loss to switch carriers, and maximum problems if I cannot simply buy it full price and use it to my liking. Carriers & phonemakers can apply this strings-attached-permashaft to Americans as much as they like (as it seems) but over here it simply means that I take my money elsewhere.

So thumbs up for unlocked iPhones. Now give me subsidized iPhones (and Pres and whatnot) from every carrier who wants to sell them.

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Anonymous Coward

@Lionel - I'm being a pedant, but...

...it's "déjà vu" if you mean seen already, or "déjà vous" which literally means already you, although I've never heard it uttered before. If you are going to be clever, at least take the effort to get it right, it's not hard if you use teh interwebs. Either that or I've missed a joke and now look like a dick.

To the lad that is 'cue'ing (you people have access to dictionaries, don't you?) the fanboi's, typically I can only see Microsoft style fanbois shilling/trolling. Go away.

£600 seems very steep, but then compare that to an N96 (which retails sim free for £499.99) or a BlackBerry Bold 9000 (sim free for £449.99) or the HTC Touch HD (£499.99), et c. £600 seem's on the money, given Apple's normal pricing behaviour. Perspective free "journalism" from The Register since 1994.

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Does this mean.....

That HMV will start offering this? As a Guernsey citizen, all iphones are unlocked even when bought from the networks (They even give you a charger adaptor!) and as HMV direct is based there, don't suppose they'll be doing the same to bring the prices down?

Although, guess they don't want to hurt their ipod sales in store.

Oh, and FYI, Jersey isn't in the EU so that's not the relevant legislation. Is due to their status as crown dependencies and access to the common market, not the Union.

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No good for local SIM outside EU

I went to Brazil recently and found a local pay-go SIM in my generic firmware Nokia N95 cost effective for keeping in touch with local friends and for 3G internet. For this situation, the EU-only SIM iPhone would be no good. Can't understand the reason for it.

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@Alistair

"They do. That's the whole point of the 'single economic community' aspect of the EU- if they sell it in the EU, it is purchasable from anywhere in the EU- it's no more complicated than that. You might have to use a French web site to get one, but there's nothing stopping you from doing it."

You'd think so wouldn't you? Doesn't actually work that way in practice. I've been blocked from buying items of amazon.co.uk here in Ireland (logitech stuff last time it happened) which I thought was illegal.

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Jobs Horns

From Italy?

The only EU country IMHO where officially non Sim-locked iPhones are sold is Italy. If you do a bit of searching, you can get the 16GB one for as low as EUR 420 + VAT. With 20% Italian VAT this comes to EUR 504 (or £464). If you are a UK company, your cost is only £445 (with 15% UK VAT), so the £600 is pretty steep. And I am sure even the EUR 420 price is negotiable & goes down with quantity...

There is nothing stopping any of us to do a simple search on ebay.it for example...

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Bod

@Matt K

"I'm no shill for O2 (God forbid) but isn't half of the attraction of the iPhone deal the unlimited data? Why would anyone pay £550 and then fork out for data usage on top?"

Might be you have no O2 coverage, or you have a better "package" on another contract and don't want to change it, or you want to use the iPhone on PAYG, use worldwide or cheap local sims overseas, etc.

Though of course you could buy the O2 version and get it unlocked, but you are paying the same ultimately to be tied to a contract you may not want.

If this was any other manufacturer however the sim free price would probably work out cheaper than the subsidised price + contract, at least for some people depending on usage.

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Anonymous Coward

@bod

Did you not read the posts? Someone already listed the sim free prices of competitors and it about the same. Actually, a brief search with google reveals that the prices are indeed similar. So, is iPhone reasonably priced or are all mobiles a rip off?

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Jobs Horns

@ Alan W. Rateliff, II

You are being very naive if you can't see how the mass adoption of the Apple Dock Connector by a substantial sector of electronics manufacturers is the fruit of a calculated strategy by Apple to 'lock down' consumers to Apple branded mp3 players, and next, cellular phones. This can only lead to consumers having less choice in the future and thus the victims of Apple's demonstrated failure to innovate. Look at the latest Nano. Refined, filtered and extrapolated into utter crap in the name of profitability. This is the ultimate future for all Apple products. Once there's no credible competition left for Apple to copy 'only a bit better, a bit more stylish', Apple will simply run out of ideas and have no motivation to innovate.

The ability to output the audio from portable media devices via the headphone socket to 'iPod Compatible' electronics goods is a paltry consolation compared to the mating of two devices via the ADC. Apple know this and have used it to their advantage in the mp3 player market.

Now watch as they dominate and destroy the cellular phone market.

Apple have thus far priced and contract-tied and the iPhone to 'cream off' the most profitable cellular phone users from the market. They will slowly work their way down the user base until they reach customers providing their lowest acceptable call revenue. Although this does not appear to impact other phone manufacturers, it does. The subsidised prices of other brands of cellular phones will be forced to rise as the more lucrative air-time contracts defect to Apple, resulting in less profit for the manufacturers. As those manufacturers make less profit, they have less funding for R&D and the downward spiral commences.

As for the unlocked price of the iPhone, look at the Nokia 5800 for comparison. Similar hardware at less than half the price with the same Jersey retailer, only it's not Apple, so no me-too sheep factor.

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This is good news.

Unlocked phones are a good thing - the only issue is the price. £550 is a *lot* of money to be throwing at a phone that'll be obsolete in a few months.

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Stop

unlimited

"Working it out over 18 months...

By Tony Chandler Posted Tuesday 24th March 2009 15:39 GMT

...this would cost you £31 a month. Makes the £3.50 extra you'd pay for 600 minutes, 500 texts and unlimited* data on O2 sound not too shabby. Unless of course you were already in a contract etc.

*yeah, yeah, I know"

I'm under the impression it is actually unlimited on iphones now. it was a fairuse policy of up to 250mb per month (more than enough for most people) but it is now only limited by the hours you can stay awake

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