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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