Unlocked Doesn't Mean Jailbroken

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2011-06-14 Print this article Print

5. CDMA isn't supported

According to Apple, the unlocked versions of the iPhone 4 it's offering are GSM-only. That means that customers hoping to buy an unlocked device and run it on Verizon's or Sprint's networks won't be able to do so. So, right after buying the unlocked iPhone 4, consumers have only half the market to choose from. That alone might disqualify the unlocked iPhone 4 for some customers.

6. No 3G on T-Mobile

If consumers decide to buy an unlocked version of the iPhone 4, they won't be able to access T-Mobile's 3G network because of the way in which the smartphone connects to high-speed mobile networks. Users will, however, be able to connect to AT&T's 3G network. Considering how important 3G is, and the fact that AT&T is already selling locked versions for much less, it doesn't make much sense to buy an unlocked iPhone 4.

7. It's not jailbroken

Too often, people mistakenly believe that an unlocked device is also a jailbroken device. However, that's not the case. Even the unlocked versions of the iPhone 4 will be closed and not allow folks to run unauthorized applications. If users are after a jailbroken device, it's easier to buy a locked option and jailbreak it rather than go with the highly expensive unlocked device to get some of the same benefits.

8. The plans are still expensive

After paying $450 more for an unlocked iPhone, consumers will still need to invest in plans from AT&T or T-Mobile. AT&T currently sells prepaid plans, which would be used with unlocked devices that cost $2 per day for unlimited talk and texting. If users want to add 200MB of data to the mix, they will need to pay a total of $75 per month for talk, texting, and data. That's no deal when one considers that an unlimited national plan costs $70 per month from AT&T and 3GB of data will cost $35 per month. For $105 a month-$30 more than a cheap prepaid option-consumers can get the same experience and save $450 on the device. That plan sounds like a winner.

9. Convenience

Who really wants to deal with buying an unlocked iPhone 4, going to a carrier's store and signing up with a deal? By buying a locked version of the smartphone, consumers can have it all activated in a matter of seconds without all the hassle that goes along with an unlocked device. Convenience means something in the mobile marketplace and buying a locked smartphone is most convenient.

10. An iPhone 5 is around the corner

Though Apple didn't announce the new iPhone 5 at the Worldwide Developers Conference, the company will likely be offering a new version of its smartphone in the next several months. With that factor in mind it wouldn't be the best idea to opt for the unlocked iPhone 4 now. The iPhone 5 is right around the corner, and paying a premium on an expensive device that might be obsolete soon is a bad idea. 

Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.

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