Apple has quietly confirmed that it will sell the iPhone 4 unlocked in Canada. A carrier-independent version will start at $659 CAD ($639 US) for a 16GB model and scale to $779 CAD ($755 US) for a 32GB version….
When the iPhone 4 goes on sale in Canada on Friday, it will bring with it something relatively new for Canadian wireless customers — the ability to pit the big three service providers against each other.Apple on Monday said it will sell its wildly popular device to customers online and through its own retail stores, as well as through Bell, Rogers and Telus.
The iPhone 4 is compatible with all three companies’ networks, so customers would only have to pop in a Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) card, which carriers generally sell for between $5 and $10, to make it work.
Apple’s plans are a rarity in not just North America but also much of Europe. While countries like France and the UK make it relatively simple to obtain unlocked devices, Canada is unique in having five carriers to choose from in the form of Bell, Fido, Rogers, Telus and Virgin Mobile. Fido and Virgin are child brands of Rogers and Bell but potentially supply an alternative for plans.
Customers will also be able to switch providers whenever they like and use the phone in other countries with SIM cards from local carriers, which will allow them to avoid roaming charges from Canadian providers.Industry analysts say Apple’s move puts a higher value on the iPhone 4 in Canada than in the United States, where customers currently have only one carrier, AT&T, as an option for the device.Not only does AT&T have an exclusive deal with Apple to sell the iPhone, but its network technology is also incompatible with most of the other big U.S. service providers.
While the unlocked iPhone has the potential to be a game changer in Canada — where phones are generally sold at a reduced cost in exchange for the customer signing on to a long-term service contract — it’s still too expensive to make a difference, said telecommunications consultant Johanne Lemay of Lemay-Yates Associates.”There’s room for prices to come down and eventually we might have a fairly large proportion of the market that buys phones up front,” she said. “Some people will want it and there will be a market for it, but on the other hand it’s still a very high price.”
We knew the of the option up north but not how much, and according to CBC News, that’ll be $659 for 16GB, $779 for 32GB, and $549 for the 8GB iPhone 3GS. All Canadian dollars, of course — the US conversion would be about $637 / $753 / $530, respectively. Carriers are still offering it up for a discount on contract, and to be perfectly honest, we think that’s probably the route most people will take anyway. All the same, gotta love having a choice.