August 28, 2008

Second–hand iPhones?

I’ve been trying out a few different phones recently, partly to try and figure out what kind of phone would be the best bet to offer people at Warwick who want mobile email and calendars. More on that topic another day, but what it’s left me feeling for myself personally is that the phone that would suit me best is an Apple iPhone.

Unfortunately for me, though, I’m also mean, and reluctant to shell out the thousand pounds-plus that an O2 contract would cost me. It would also be rather inefficient, because apart from my family, almost all my calls, texts and data usage are work related, so it makes sense for my phone to be a work phone, and for work to foot most of the bill, and for me to be on the same network as all my work colleagues. It also lets me take advantage of the fact that Warwick’s deal with Vodafone makes all my calls to any Vodafone number at all, not just to Warwick people, free.

But there’s the snag: Warwick’s network carrier is Vodafone, and you can’t buy an iPhone which will work on Voda. Or at least, not a brand new one. But what about a second-hand v1 iPhone? The only two significant hardware additions to the v2 iPhone were GPS, which I’m indifferent to, and 3G, which I concede is useful, but I consume data over the cellular network (as opposed to wifi) very infrequently – once or twice a month, perhaps – and when I do, it’s mostly email, which is not very data intensive. So maybe 3G wouldn’t matter that much to me. Everything else was a software change which can be pushed on to v1 phones just as well as v2 ones.

So can you get v1 iPhones which are SIM unlocked? There’s a place in the US which has them for about £260 which seems reasonable (apart from UK Customs, perhaps), though they don’t say explicitly whether the phone is SIM-unlocked or not. Anyone know any other good sources (within the EU, ideally) of v1 unlocked iPhones?

- 6 comments by 3 or more people Not publicly viewable

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  1. Mathew Mannion

    It’d probably be cheaper to offer to pay for a v1 iPhone user in the UK (hello!) the cost of a v2 iPhone and then take the v1 iPhone as “payment” – but you’d have to get it unlocked yourself, I guess.

    28 Aug 2008, 09:58

  2. John Dale

    Yeah. What I’m really hoping for, I guess, is a v1 phone which has been “officially” unlocked – that is, it was bought somewhere which sells SIM-free phones – France, Italy, Belgium, etc. – or it has outlived its original contract and been unlocked by the carrier, rather than by hackery.

    28 Aug 2008, 10:03

  3. Steve Rumsby

    I read yesterday of a guy that bought an iPhone in France and had it officially unlocked. Then he went to another country, bought a local PAYG SIM for his visit and found it didn’t work. Alledgedly the phone was only unlocked for carriers in France, and not in other countries. The message on the phone said the SIM was for the wrong country! That’s not “unlocked” by my definition and I’d be quite, er, cross if that happened to me. But, the point is, be careful. On planet Apple, “unlocked” might not mean the same as it does here on Earth.

    28 Aug 2008, 10:22

  4. John Dale

    I notice also this site selling contract0free and SIM unlocked 3G iPhones for £400. Good deal if it’s genuine, but they don’t say anythign about how they’re acquiring these devices; if they were importing them from Italy, say, then that would make sense. But nobody has released SIM free-ifying software yet, as far as I know, which makes the site seem a little bit dubious, especially since they say that you musn’t upgrade the phone from v2.0.2 of the OS or you’ll brick it.

    02 Sep 2008, 17:26

  5. mark

    ive just been given a legit ist gen i phone how do i get the bloody thing to work will an o2 payg sim work ?? cheers

    03 Oct 2008, 15:58

  6. Nick

    free shipping to uk too :)

    22 Nov 2008, 12:09

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