Canadian iPhone to be sold unlocked

Canadians may finally have a minor reprieve from the clutches of their cellphone provider.

Apple has announced that it will be selling iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 unlocked in not only the UK, but Canada as well. Currently available for $CA549, the iPhone 3GS will continue to ship with 8GB of storage. Prices have not yet been announced for iPhone 4, but with historical Apple Canada pricing, we can expect prices to be marginally higher than those of the United States.

Canadian carriers are said to be part of an oligopoly. With only 3 main competitors covering the entire country, competitive pricing has been unknown to the Canadian market. With the availability of an unlocked iPhone, carriers may be forced to begin competing for customers, rather than setting prices/contracts that tend to be pretty well consistent regardless of who you choose.

iPhone 4 will be available in Canada starting in July. All three major wireless telcos, Rogers(GSM), Bell and Telus(HSPA) will carry the device. Bell subsidiary, Virgin Mobile has also confirmed that it will carry the iPhone 4. Virgin Mobile is a recent Bell acquisition; operated as an MVNO, Virgin still maintains its own discrete service policies and rate plans, while also offering their customer service and branding targeted at the young professional market. Whether or not Bell will competitively place Virgin in the market remains to be seen. Interestingly, Virgin is has also confirmed to be the first North American carrier of the HTC Legend.

iPhone 3GS and 4 will also remain available on contract, presumably the Canadian industry standard of 36 months.

American customers, will you be shopping up North this summer? American companies may soon get the hint.

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39 Comments

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This is only because the government explicitly states in the 'modernized' copyright act that any phone can be unlocked legally - so why should the carrier make an 'underground' market?

No deal with 3 years contracts. Pure BS... I like to hope all those who feel the pain like I do after getting roped into a contract roughly three years ago know the hardships. I've seen the mobile market change vastly in the past 3 years, and @#$% if I am doing another ridiculously long contract again.

What I don't understand is that the 32GB iPod Touch is $299 and the 32GB iPhone is $749-$799. Does it really cost $450-$500 more for the phone function?

JayV said,
What I don't understand is that the 32GB iPod Touch is $299 and the 32GB iPhone is $749-$799. Does it really cost $450-$500 more for the phone function?

In the world of Apple, yes...yes it does.

What I can't understand is that a 32GB iPod Touch cost $299 and a 32GB iPhone cost $749-$799. Does it really cost an extra $450-$500 for the phone function?

For Bell Customers this really isn't news. You can pay Bell $15 and get any UMTS/HSPA phone unlocked, even if your in a contract. However, your still bound to your contract. Their line of thought is that for people travelling oversea's or whatever. But I'd rather have Higher Data Caps.

You Americans think you have it bad with 2 GB? Try 500 MB. The max you can get out of Belus/Rogers is about 3 GB, and that's at $100 a month, not including taxes (13%).

Virtunate said,
For Bell Customers this really isn't news. You can pay Bell $15 and get any UMTS/HSPA phone unlocked, even if your in a contract. However, your still bound to your contract. Their line of thought is that for people travelling oversea's or whatever. But I'd rather have Higher Data Caps.

You Americans think you have it bad with 2 GB? Try 500 MB. The max you can get out of Belus/Rogers is about 3 GB, and that's at $100 a month, not including taxes (13%).

Actually right now the most expensive data plan from Rogers is $60 / 5GB

They used to have a special for iPhones at $30 / 6GB

neoxphuse said,
Wow, when in the world did phones come to 500? Geeses. . Thank god I got my $0 phone lol.

That's subsidized pricing you probably got by signing a term contract with your carrier. A subsidized iPhone 4 16GB would be $199 in Canada.

neoxphuse said,
Wow, when in the world did phones come to 500? Geeses. . Thank god I got my $0 phone lol.

Uh, the Nokia N97 is $600 contract free and the Blackberry Bold 9700 ranges from $450 to $600. Quite a few other smartphones are around that price range contract free.

Novaoblivion said,
Hmmm I dont suppose the Apple Online store in Canada will ship to a US address will it?

I don't think so. Keep in mind though Apple prices their products at a higher dollar value compared to the US. You'd be paying a lot more. Better off just buying a phone in the US and unlocking it yourself.

"iEvolution also reports that ALL new iPhones, including iPhone 4 will come unlocked in Canada, $649 for the 16GB and $749 for the 32GB and then you pick the carrier of your choice after purchase."

Source: iphoneheat.com / iEvolution.ca

There are now four main Canadian carriers: Bell/Virgin (UMTS/HSPA+), Telus/Koodoo (UMTS/HSPA+), Rogers/Fido (UMTS/HSPA+), and Wind Mobile (AWS). All (except for Wind) will give the $199/$299 pricing for the iPhone 4 16GB/32GB with a three-year contract, which is a year longer than the United States. If there was an iPhone 4 for AWS (i.e. a T-Mobile iPhone 4), then we'd see some real competition. Wind offers $35 unlimited talk plans and $35 unlimited data add-on. That's pretty sweet, and it will force the other carriers to really lower their prices. I don't see the unlocked iPhone 4 as having that huge of an impact, as EVERYONE locks in 3 years for the subsidized pricing, and they have to give an arm and a leg to switch to another provider.

sabrex said,
There are now four main Canadian carriers: Bell/Virgin (UMTS/HSPA+), Telus/Koodoo (UMTS/HSPA+), Rogers/Fido (UMTS/HSPA+), and Wind Mobile (AWS). All (except for Wind) will give the $199/$299 pricing for the iPhone 4 16GB/32GB with a three-year contract, which is a year longer than the United States. If there was an iPhone 4 for AWS (i.e. a T-Mobile iPhone 4), then we'd see some real competition. Wind offers $35 unlimited talk plans and $35 unlimited data add-on. That's pretty sweet, and it will force the other carriers to really lower their prices. I don't see the unlocked iPhone 4 has having that huge of an impact, as EVERYONE locks in 3 years for the subsidized pricing, and they have to give an arm and a leg to switch to another provider.
Wind isn't really competition yet, their "network" isn't mature and not ready for prime time

Rudy said,
Wind isn't really competition yet, their "network" isn't mature and not ready for prime time

Bell and Telus are on the same network as far as I know. And what's this Wind Mobile thing?
I think there's only 2 networks here in Montreal. Rogers/Fido and Bell/Telus/Virgin/Koodo.

PsykX said,

Bell and Telus are on the same network as far as I know. And what's this Wind Mobile thing?
I think there's only 2 networks here in Montreal. Rogers/Fido and Bell/Telus/Virgin/Koodo.


Wind Mobile (http://www.windmobile.ca), Mobilicity and Public Mobile are the 3 new entrants in the market. The first 2 won the 1700/2100 band auction. Videotron won that in Quebec and is expected to launch in September.

Wind is all great on pricing if you stay in the city. Otherwise you'll roam on Rogers and it will cost you.

sabrex said,
There are now four main Canadian carriers: Bell/Virgin (UMTS/HSPA+), Telus/Koodoo (UMTS/HSPA+), Rogers/Fido (UMTS/HSPA+), and Wind Mobile (AWS). All (except for Wind) will give the $199/$299 pricing for the iPhone 4 16GB/32GB with a three-year contract, which is a year longer than the United States. If there was an iPhone 4 for AWS (i.e. a T-Mobile iPhone 4), then we'd see some real competition. Wind offers $35 unlimited talk plans and $35 unlimited data add-on. That's pretty sweet, and it will force the other carriers to really lower their prices. I don't see the unlocked iPhone 4 has having that huge of an impact, as EVERYONE locks in 3 years for the subsidized pricing, and they have to give an arm and a leg to switch to another provider.

You forgot about Mobilicity.

linsook said,

You forgot about Mobilicity.

forget about Mobilicity, i've heard so much crap about them and dropped calls and lack of reception in major areas of the GTA it's not even funny. they also run on AWS so they won't have the iPhone

ArKeYa said,
Can't you just get the non subsidized phone if you don't want to be tied up that long?
Yes but then you're paying >$600 for your phone... and usually the phone is still locked so you might as well sign for a contract

(though looks like the new iPhone won't be locked...)

Rudy said,
Yes but then you're paying >$600 for your phone... and usually the phone is still locked so you might as well sign for a contract

(though looks like the new iPhone won't be locked...)

That's exactly it. The unsubsidized phone can be bought from Apple and used with any provider. "Canadian iPhone to be sold unlocked"

Brian said,

That's exactly it. The unsubsidized phone can be bought from Apple and used with any provider. "Canadian iPhone to be sold unlocked"

People can already unlock their iPhones, or if they don't know how, pay $15 to somebody on Craigslist to do it for them. Now the phone will be sold unlocked. It doesn't change the fact that anybody who buys the phone subsidized at $199 ($500 lower than unsubsidized) will be locked in for 3 years, and has to pay $500 to get out of the contract if they chose to do so.

sabrex said,

People can already unlock their iPhones, or if they don't know how, pay $15 to somebody on Craigslist to do it for them. Now the phone will be sold unlocked. It doesn't change the fact that anybody who buys the phone subsidized at $199 ($500 lower than unsubsidized) will be locked in for 3 years, and has to pay $500 to get out of the contract if they chose to do so.

I have a year left on my contract. I bought the 3G on launch day. They just told me last week I'd have to pay $25/month for voice plus another $5 or $10/month for cancelling the data contract too. They put you on seperate contracts for voice and data so you're screwed. It's $25/month to a maximum of $500 (voice) plus a max of $100 for the data. We're used to the 3 year contracts up here but yeah it is wrong and I only dream of having contracts like everyone else has and talks about. We do have 1 year and 2 year contracts too but for each year you take off the contract, you're adding $100 to the price of the phone.

betasp said,

Nexus One is $529 and come with only a 4GB card.

Yea, but you can easily upgrade it down the road if you need more space...unlike the iPhone.

A company can have you on contract for 3 years? Jesus Christ, that is insane.

Here I was thinking that my Government was crazy for increasing the maximum contract length from 6 months to 12 months.

MindTrickz said,
A company can have you on contract for 3 years? Jesus Christ, that is insane.

Here I was thinking that my Government was crazy for increasing the maximum standard length from 6 months to 12 months.

If you want a subsidized phone you HAVE to sign for 3 years....pretty outrageous