Apple Begins Selling Unlocked iPhone 5 Units, Starts At $649

Just as the world expected, Apple has released unlocked iPhone 5 units available from its online store as of earlier this week. The unlocked device price range will fall in line with our anticipated price models beginning at $649, $749, and $849 for 16GB, 32GB and 64GB of storage, respectively. All three models are listed as shipping in one week.

There’s no word from Apple as to when their retail stores will begin carrying unlocked models for sale, though early reports show inventory has already begun arriving The unlocked models are GSM only, which is great for AT&T and T-Mobile customers in the US, but not so much for those of you on the Sprint and Verizon networks. Unlocked iPhone 5 devices are excellent pickups for international travelers who will use the device on GSM-based networks worldwide needing only to SIM swap to get up and running. While most countries get unlocked units right from the start, the US always has to wait until sometime after the iPhone launches. We can all thank the carriers for that.

Given that T-Mobile has activated over 200,000 new iPhone devices in the last 60 days, it seems likely that the opportunity to grab unlocked iPhone’s from Apple will lead to that number climbing higher. Throw in the continued efforts at network modernization and this could attract a few people to T-Mobile’s network thanks to lower pricing and better value.


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  • Renner5379

    12mbps down and 3 up on iphone 5 running on Tmobile in Chicago!! Only will go up from here once LTE is launched in 2013

    • Fabian Cortez

      Actually, it will go up once they launch 42 Mbps HSPA+ over PCS (1900 MHz). As it stands, all of the WCDMA PCS rollout has been limited to 21 Mbps HSPA+.

      On that iPhone 5, you should be seeing 25+ Mbps on T-Mobile’s 42 Mbps HSPA+ network.

      • bleeew

        What? And I thought that was 42Mbps. That should slap some of the Verizon, and AT&T fanboys thinking LTE is real 4G.

        • Trevnerdio

          My max is 30.18 on HSPA+ 42

        • Nearmsp

          upload speed?

        • Trevnerdio

          Heh too low to post…
          (Ok, like 3.7 max)

        • Nearmsp

          LTE gives better upload speeds compared to HSPA+42. With T-mobile barely doing well on 1 channel, to expect a dual channel HSPA+42 is not realistic.

        • bleeew

          But people download more than upload.

      • UMA_Fan

        I think over 10mbps down or so is what you’ll consistently get out of HSPA+ 42.

        You’ll see over 25mbps rarely

    • Moneyman

      Yep I’ve been seeing the 3g signal on my 4s in South suburbs of Chicago

  • archerian

    Now would have been the better time to launch the BYOD campaign which T-mobile had a few months ago ($50 prepaid card, free activation etc.) They even had fliers and small post-it sized cards prepared for it.

  • noelsito

    NICE X)
    I’ll be picking one up when my next two paychecks arrive, AKA, my birthday hahaha

    • eanfoso

      Awesome! I’m from December as well hehe although I don’t think I’ll get an apple product, I’ve been eyeing the xperia T though lol

  • mtmjr90

    Honestly, if you are a world traveler and only plan to use your iPhone 5 on TMo (or a GSM MVNO) in the US, you might well be better off buying the Verizon model off-contract (it comes SIM unlocked). It’ll support the same GSM/UMTS frequencies for voice/2G/3G and it’ll be compatible with worldwide LTE networks (minus Canada).

    • archerian

      for a T-mobile customer, it might be better to not go for the Verizon model (A4129) as it won’t support LTE when T-mobile launches it next year. Better to have DC-HSPA+ today (in refarmed regions), LTE next year and HSPA+ for roaming as opposed to DC-HSPA+ for the next two years and possible LTE on roaming (as it might not be available in all locations)

    • 21stNow

      Why would that person be better off? Aren’t they the same price?

      • mtmjr90

        I only meant that for most American TMo (or MVNO) users in the near term, we won’t see LTE and if such a person travels to Europe or Asia (semi)frequently, then the Verizon model might be better since they can use LTE abroad.

        That said, the unlocked AT&T model does support Canadian LTE if that’s where one primarily travels, so really it’s more about where one often travels.

  • wwwest1104

    My T-mobile store sent me to and I unlocked my iPhone 5 for $30. Seems much more reasonable than what apple is asking

  • fandroid

    Not exactly too sure why this is on a T-Mobile News site but you know what, it’s your blog. Do with it as you please.

    • thepanttherlady

      It’s on this site because it can be used with T-Mobile for those iPhone users that wish to.

    • Because the T-Mobile refarming program is being geared to getting customers who want to use devices like the iPhone on the network. I’d post this just as I would an unlocked Nexus device if it wasn’t being sold on the network. Which, btw is the very same reason I covered Galaxy Nexus news.

      • fandroid

        Like I said, its your blog. I don’t care if you start posting things about the Evos and Droids but I just didn’t know why you’d post stuff about the iPhone. A phone you can’t go anywhere and buy on contract for T-Mobile in the USA. The Galaxy Nexus I can understand because you could buy that on contract with T-Mobile.

        And trife, you misunderstood me. I am not mad at David for posting something about the iPhone. I had tons of them before the Nexus One and still think that they are great phones. I just think Android suits me better. If an iPhone suits you better than Android, WP7/8, BB, or any other device then fine. If you think a flip phone is better than Android, you know what? Thats your personal oppion and I am not going to fault you for it.

        I wasn’t trying to start a flame war. Lets all just act like civil adults (even though I am only 16) and drop this before it gets out of hand. Have a great day!

        • Ver

          > even though I am only 16
          You did not have to tell us that for it to be obvious. Almost fell outa my chair because I was thinking you must be about 5 and there it was: 16. You might just consider being quiet for a few years.

        • fandroid

          And what was it I said that so clearly expressed my adolescence? Please enlighten me as I’d love to know. Thanks.

        • Ver

          If you don’t know then no would could explain it to you.

        • eanfoso

          Just shut up dude, your opinion about an Android is better is your own opinion, I’m saying this as I’m typing from my note II, and this blog is about rumors and things that are related to t-mobile, I understand you’re young and you have opinions, but consider that the iphone caused a lot of people to leave t-mobile for other providers, so yes this is relevant to t-mobile since now someone with t-mobile will be able to use one with t-mobile and take advantage of all the goodies t-mobile offers, such as value and truly unlimited data, so reason a little man!

        • fandroid

          You clearly did not read my last couple of posts. I said nothing bad about Apple or the iPhone. All I said is that this was not T-Mobile news in my opinion. Before you start stating propaganda I suggest you actually read what I said.

        • For the very same reason the Windows Phone 8X unlocked on Verizon isn’t news either? Unlocked devices are something T-Mobile is going to make a HUGE play for in the future, that’s a major part of this network upgrade, so the way I figure at…any major high-profile handset that is capable of running unlocked on T-Mobile’s network deserves some attention.

        • MasterTan

          It’s completely TmoNews numbnuts. There are thousands of iPhone users on T-Mobile who have anxiously been waiting for this news. As a T-Mobile subscriber who has been using iPhones on T-Mobile since the very first generation, this is very important to know. You are the same kind of person who bitches about websites like Gizmodo who periodically reports on other stuff other than tech.

        • Ver

          Not just a troll but a miniature troll. Sit down, you might learn something.

        • od312

          Where can you get a Galaxy Nexus on contract with T-Mobile? That’s news to me. Did you mean the Nexus 4?

        • fandroid

          You can’t get it from anywhere now except for CDMA carriers. While Google was still selling it you could go to Googles page and use your T-Mobile upgrade to get it subsidized. T-Mobile may not have ever sold it on/in their stores but you could get it from Google, on T-Mobile, using a T-Mobile upgrade that would lock you in a contract for 2 years.

        • od312

          Weird. I was able to get my nexus s subsidized, but I never heard of the ability to get the galaxy nexus subsidized when it was available for gsm.

        • fandroid

          I don’t know, maybe I was wrong but I swore you could before. If not, I am sorry. My mistake.

        • You were never able to get the Galaxy Nexus subsidized for any GSM carrier in the US. Just Verizon, and we all know how that turned out.

        • Ur probably 30, but got owned because of your trolling – so you want to justify it by lying and saying ur 16. Lol

    • trife

      Your name says it all.

    • Enzowned

      Are you daft? It’s absurdly obvious why.

    • yozo

      Luckily TmoNews viewers are never forced to read an article or post to an article that they have no interest in. Usually TmoNews viewers start with the headline and decide from there what to do with their precious time. I don’t read every article posted, and don’t take the time to post that I am not interested in an article.

      In a restaurant, people don’t care if you don’t like everything on the menu. Leave the restaurant and never come back, if it doesn’t meet your every desire. Don’t sit there and tell the servers they should only sell only certain things on the menu and have only foods you like on the buffet. Bah-bye…


      This site is ran by a dedicated Apple loyalist, get used to it. He thinks the iPhone 5 and iPhone 4S are the best phones around today. I stopped coming here do a few months because the iPhone news got annoying.

      • Nearmsp

        There are a million iPhone users on T-mobile and there will be a lot more moving from AT&T to T-mobile, only if their refarming is done right, not as it is now.

      • Then why’d you return?

  • Josue

    like I said on a previous post watch how t-mobile will have more activations than all 3 carriers combined….it will happen lol

    • bleeew

      Don’t hold your breathe.

      • Josue

        lol agreed

  • jim

    when will chicago and schaumburg be done with the refarm??

    • bleeew

      T-Mobile doesn’t give exact dates.

  • Thats exspensive!!!

    • MacRat

      That’s what a real quality phone costs.

      If you are an Android user, you will find that an unlocked Samsung Galaxy SIII is $699.

      • MasterTan

        and you’ll also find them in cereal boxes…for free.

        • Trevnerdio

          Is this an attempted joke…? lol

        • MasterTan

          No. It’s true. Not this phone but last year a free android was given to those who bought honeycomb

        • Trevnerdio

          That’s awesome. But Android will always outdo iOS

      • Gavin Smith

        That is true, but you can already get the SIII on swappa for around $400. The iphone5, not so much.

        • Or the SII at Wal-Mart for $300 like I did back in Sept. I sold my unlocked 4S for it before the 5 came out while i was able to still get $500 for it.

        • Gavin S.

          Say what you will about the iPhone, but they hold their value like not other electronic device.

        • So do andriods !!!! The g1 still goes for 100 dollars

      • who in their right mind gone go to the maufatorer to get the unlocked device. I paid 450 for a 16gb GSIII and it cost around 35 dollars to unlock it so in the end i save 100 dollars. Ive seen people in my area selling the iphone 5 for 50 dollars less then what apple is charging

  • ash

    The Apple store in the Florida mall has been selling the iPhone 5 unlocked for quite some time now. They sell out of them each time they get shipments in. I work at a T-Mobile store right across from them so it works out beautifully. Keeping nano Sims in stock is the toughest thing to do. And we received those iPhone 5 cases early this week that was mentioned in another article.

    • unknown

      Yea sure you do work there.

  • Deihmos

    Why would I get this over a nexus 4 that works with T-Mobile and cost $350.00 less?

    • JWu

      Nexus 4 is definitely an attractive option but it might take a while before you get your hands on one. One thing that goes in iPhone 5’s favor is that it is better at retaining value. While the iPhone 5 costs $300 more out of pocket, it will also resell for more.

      • MasterTan

        Exactly. This phone, just like every other android phone out there will be dirt cheap in 3 months time and nobody will care. iPhone’s hold their value like none other. Everyone gets such a boner over these new Androids and then they are forgotten before you know it.

        • bleeew

          -Because it has a OS only on the iPhone.
          -People are willing to buy it.
          -Apple just reduces price by $100 once the new generation comes by.

          If Google were to set the Nexus 4 at $650, and lots of people bought it and sales never dropped, then it would retain its high value like the iPhone.

        • Well, that would never happen.

        • NinoBr0wn

          And obviously also if the Nexus were the only Android on the market.

        • NinoBr0wn

          I couldn’t care less what value a phone holds. I buy my devices for me and me only. I would never argue the quality of Apple’s products, but I also would never shackle myself to iOS and all its glorified handcuffs. I’m more than happy with my Nexus 4, and that’s not going to change.

        • True for most Android phone, not true for flagship Android phone like Nexus and Galaxy, both are the best resell android phone out there. S3 is still go for over $400 used (T-mobile version worth the most) and Old nexus able to keep good resell for while.

      • TBN27

        Also, guaranteed customer support that google isn’t great at providing.

  • Niuskb

    It’s crazy how expensive their unlocked devices are… I could get TWO Nexus phones for these prices. I know some people who will be excited about this though.

    • trife

      True, but keep in mind that the pricing of the Nexus isn’t the norm. If you want a brand new, unlocked smartphone for $300, you have exactly one option. The Nexus 4.

      Apple’s pricing isn’t too far off from the norm, IMO. At least with the 16 and 32 gig versions.

      • NinoBr0wn

        True enough. Someone just has to break down the math to me, with every SKU separated by $100, but with the storage differences at 16 and 32.

      • davedsone

        Google is basically subsidizing the Nexus to line sell them. They are losing big money doing it.

        • niftydl

          They are not losing money, they are basically selling it without the standard markup all manufacturers arbitrarily add to encourage you to get into a contract. In Apple’s case, they have no incentive to let you buy the phone without a contract since the won’t get a share of your data plan money – so they inflate the retail price. An unlocked device costs apple nothing extra.

          (edit: typos – mobile post, whoops)

  • audiospeedwagon

    If you order online, they give you the option of picking up in store. My wife picked one up yesterday.

  • Mr. Orange

    Just bought an unlocked iPhone 5 this morning here in Sacramento, Ca… just ran speed test & got 7.2 Mb down and 2.3 up. Kinda slow, but Im not a power user just want compatability with my iPad and iPods. Looking forward to Faster speeds soon!

  • You are crazy if you get one of these at those prices. Nexus 4 = $299 or $349, iPhone 5 = WAY TOO MUCH! You can get two Nexus 4’s for that price, horrible. Apple needs to bring their noses down, and be realistic.

    • cutienoua

      I had the nexus 4 and sold it on ebay. as of today I cancelled my tmobile account and use iphone 5 on verizon plus ipad mini on verizon
      you have to use both the nexus and iphone then you’ll understand
      my other line with tmobile went at straighttalk iphone 4s

      • I have every smartphone, so I DO understand. I would not comment if I didn’t, thanks.

      • 21stNow

        I’ve used both. I understand but I don’t agree with your choices in devices or carriers but as long as you’re happy, I’m happy for you.

        • cutienoua

          just a little background
          from 2007 I’ve used iphone with Tmobile for voice and some sort of mifi hotspot. back than 3g later got the first mifi lte on the big red.
          Now my ipad mini is also my occasional hotspot for the laptop.
          I’ve tried the nexus 4 for 24 hours ,that was more than enough. Battery life was so-so and I lost reception in places I would never lose reception with the 4s
          Nexus 4 looks pretty but didn t bring anything to keep me as a tmobile customer .

      • MinionInNC

        Had a iPhone once and sold it on ebay & went back to Android. See i basically wrote the same as you did, just reversed. It’s all in someones preference and opinion. Mine, I am a android fan for life. This was even using the iPhone jailbroken.

    • MacRat

      I guess you don’t consider Samsung to be realistic either as the Galaxy SIII costs $699.

  • kresk

    Even if you’re the most devoted iPhone fan. I could see how those prices would be hard to swallow with the Nexus 4 being a much cheaper option. Either way, choices are good, but $650 dang! I think I’m already spoiled :o

  • kresk

    I could see how even the most devoted iPhone fan would be torn since the Nexus 4 is a much cheaper option. Either way, choices are good, but $650! Dang! I think the N4 has me spoiled already :o

    • MacRat

      An Anroid fan would want a quality phone like the $699 Samsung Galaxy SIII.

  • Just for your information that the CDMA iPhone 5 ( Verizon&Sprint )
    Is an unlocked version and worked with GSM network on both Tmobile and AT&T HSPA+
    The CDMA version of model A1429 works on Sprint’s and Verizon’s LTE networks in the US, along with the KDDI network in Japan on bands 1, 3, 5, 13, and 25. The CDMA version also supports GSM bands, making the CDMA iPhone 5 compatible with GSM networks…

    • archerian

      all true, a quick note – the Sprint iPhone 5 is not unlocked by default

  • TBN27

    my Galaxy SII’s days are numbered. as soon as the re-farm hits the GNY area, it is an immediate swap.

  • no2apple

    where the hell its for 649. I see 699

  • no2apple

    can someone tell me who is giving unlocked for 649… apple site shows 699..

    • Guest911

      You are blind.

  • George

    a little too late…

  • Tyberious

    I forsee a great deal of butthurt at the Redmond T-Mobile store. Not from T-Mobile employees, but Microsoft employees waiting to get their lumia/8X phones behind customers getting nanosims for the unlocked iPhone they purchased around the corner.

  • Guest

    Picked one up yesterday. It’s great, I love it :D

  • Nearmsp

    I booked a iPhone 5 32 GB white and picked it up day 1 of being sold unlocked. On the way to the Apple store, I went in to a corporate T-mobile store and requested a nano SIM card. The guy said it is micro sim and sold it to me one for $10 (even though on their web site it is free). I then went to the Apple store only to be told that it needs a nano SIM. So I was back at the T-mobile corporate store not happy that in spite of the CEO welcoming iPhone users, their corporate store salesmen (Maple Grove, MN) have no clue about this. Anyway I was given a nano sim and it worked fine. Now comes the experience. The 3G coverage is very spotty. Driving all the way from the stores on the I-94 interstate NW, it was all Edge speed. Around my house in Rogers, MN, I was getting 0.08 Mbs. Outside my YMCA Gym in Elk River the speed was 9Mbs. Inside on level 2 near the class windows it was just 0.07 Mbs. So not only is the 3G coverage spotty, but the signal strength is too weak to get a signal inside buildings. For the first time in being 10+ years of being a T-mobile customer, I felt of moving to AT&T with my new iPhone 5 to get a better experience. Bottom line, T-mobile should not be talking of iPhone 5 etc until its network is ready to handle it. Otherwise it will lose more customers who are frustrated with the network. Anyone spending $900 cash for an iPhone 5 and accessories is not going to put up with worthless 3G coverage. So if you are sitting on the fence for an iPhone 5, my suggestion is to either wait or look for an alternative carrier. T-mobile is clearly not ready to handle an iPhone 5 in Minneapolis.

    • cutienoua

      same here.
      after 10 years,yesterday I did cancel my account. for now one line stays on straight talk due to iphone 4s and I got myself the 5 on the big red.
      I travel international thus verizon iphone 5 is a good fit.

    • Its all relative to your area. My moms unlocked iPhone 4 on T-mobile is getting 3G all over the city of Chicago now.

    • Nick Gonzalez

      I live in Denver. We are ready for the 5.

  • predation

    anyone here using tzones on an official tmo nano sim? you getting upsell messages?

    • Deadeye37

      You were able to keep your tzones data plan with a smart phone? They made me get rid of mine when I upgraded to the G2 from my MOTO Z5.

      • predation

        That’s because You upgraded to a T-Mobile branded phone.

      • predation

        thats because you upgraded to a phone that was offered by tmobile.

  • Bill Smith

    We had 2 Apple phones, weren’t happy campers. We now have an S3 & a Note 2…very happy!

  • terryjohnson16

    My only issue with people suggesting the Nexus 4 over the iPhone 5, is that the Nexus 4 only caps at 16GB storage, with no expandable memory. Many people use more than 16GB.

  • Bruce

    i picked up one and its running on 3g