This really is a guide for anyone living outside the five countries (US, France, Germany, UK and Japan) where the iPhone is currently available. But, since I’m based in Bombay it will be from my perspective.
In the past 48 hours I have fielded about 20 questions about the iPhone. So this guide is to summarize the challenges/hurdles of getting an iPhone to work in India. I also got sick of hearing the following from people:
– My phone guy said I can get the iPhone in US and he will unlock it. YOUR phone guy is probably some Nokia loving jackass working from Heera Panna
– Damn, the iPhone costs $200 in the US. FAIL…that’s if you sign-up for a 2 year contract with AT&T. Are you planning on living in the US for the next 24 months, didn’t think so.
– I heard the current price for the iPhone 4 in Bombay is $2000….yeah probably, if people are stupid enough to pay $1000 a sq/ft for sub-par home construction they will blow 2 square feet of their housing budget on a phone.
On with the info. Right now, you face 3 challenges and I’ll go through each one.
1. Getting the actual phone. In the US you can buy the phone from Apple, AT&T Wireless and a handful of big box retailers (read Best Buy, Wal-Mart, etc…). The AT&T Wireless Stores sell a “no-commitment” iPhone 4 for $599 (16GB) and $699 (32GB). This means if you are an AT&T customer and want to buy the phone you can. No commitment does not mean unlocked, we’ll get to that in a minute. All of this assumes there are ample iPhone’s in the supply chain.
2. You got the phone, now how do you unlock it? The guys at iPhone Dev Team have come out with a jailbreak/unlock for the iOS 4 for the iPhone 3GS. BUT, they have not tested the jailbreak/unlock on the iPhone 4 hardware since it’s been out for only 24 hours. If they can’t issue a jailbreak/unlock right away, you will have yourself a very expensive paper weight.
3. If you have cleared the first 2 issues then the last one is easy. The iPhone has a new micro SIM card format, which means you will need to cut your existing SIM card to the new format. Luckily, there are tools that accomplish this and honestly you can even do it without a tool.
So what am I going to do? Funny you should ask. My wife landed into NY on the day of the launch and will spend the next 10 days there, so enough time to try and get an iPhone from AT&T Wireless and hopefully by then the iPhone Dev Team will issue a jailbreak/unlock. But, I’m not holding my breath…I’m more positive of getting an officially unlocked and non-contract iPhone from the Hong Kong Apple Store and not deal with all this jailbreak/unlock crap I’ve had to “enjoy” with my first gen iPhone.
Update: Apple Store unlocked and non-contract prices:
France – 16GB @ €629 ($750), 32GB @ €739 ($885)
UK – 16GB @ £499 ($722), 32GB @ £599 ($866)
Update 2: Apple Stores in the US are selling without a contract for $599 (16GB) and $699 (32GB). Thanks @pjain