Unlocked iPhone 3G being sold in Italy and Hong Kong

iPhone 3G

iPhone Atlas is reporting that they have received multiple reports that unlocked iPhone 3G is being sold in Italy and Hong Kong.

Telecom Italia Mobile in Italy and Hutchison Telecommunications in Hong Kong are selling unlocked iPhone 3G.

It means that iPhone 3G users can use the SIM card of any GSM carrier.

iPhone Atlas reports that "as per the Office of the Telecom Authority in Hong Kong, carriers are not allowed to SIM lock a phone for the purpose of solely tying customers to their network. However, carriers can SIM-lock a phone to protect the handset subsidy or to enforce mobile plan contracts."

However, as one would expect there is a catch, users can buy an unlocked iPhone 3G that can be used with any GSM carrier but for that they still need to sign a two-year contract. So its quite pointless if you are in Italy or Hong Kong, as it makes no sense to use a cheaper carrier option as that would still mean an incremental cost.

But it can be an interesting option if you can use the unlocked iPhone 3G bought in Italy or Hong Kong in a country where it is currently not available. I believe the hurdle to get it to work would be iPhone activation. Any thoughts?

As for everyone else, I guess we will need to wait for the iPhone Dev team to release their Pwnage Tool 2.0  to jailbreak and unlock iPhone 3G.

In case you are from Hong Kong or Italy do let us know if you have more information.

[via iPhone Atlas]


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  • benhan

    Telecom Italia Mobile appears to sell prepaid versions too, without a crontract.
    heres the 8GB model for 499 Euros, and it says on that page "prepaid card included" (TimCard con 5 euro di traffico prepagato incluso). the 8GB model starts from 0 euros to 199 euros when you sign a contract.
    wouldnt that mean you can get an ulocked phone in italy for 499 (569 euros for the 16 GB model)?


    that would be ok, unless its not completly unlocked.
    i've heard about phones that can be unlocked, but you can still only use them in that country. like the iphone would say "only supported sim cards are accepted" which would be all italien carriers, but not the ones outside italy. does anyone know more about this?

  • Hi,
    yes its true they are unlocked but you have o prepay $4000 hk dollars first!
    anyways anyone who got one get cool property news right to your iphone form us at http://www.852realestate.com
    we have a cool iphone widget for you guys on our site

  • Michalis.Neo

    iPhone 3G is also sold in Cyprus fully unlcked by iPelagos:

  • Jay

    If the carriers do really sell unlocked iPhone 3g's without a contract, then Apple would be very stupid if they would not also sell a contract free, unlocked version via the Apple Online store ! Why give all this hardware margin to a carrier when Apple could keep for themselves ?

    I still believe we'll see the 3g's sold via Apple online within the next 6 months.

  • matthé

    Belgium only sells unlocked iPhones as it is forbidden to do otherwise – price is steep though (536€ or something)
    no catch/contracts

  • Louis

    That's a lot of money for an unlocked phone. I will play lotto tonight. If I win the mega millions I'll buy the Apple Company and sell unlocked iphones to the rest of the world at an affordable price…

  • I have confirmed that the iPhone 3G sold at Hutchison Telecom's mobile carrier "3" (Three) is indeed unlocked. I have also confirmed that SIM cards from other carriers can be used in the iPhone 3G and the APN is editable with all functionalities operational.

    There are several different tariff plans offered by Three. With the lowest tariff plan, the initial layout for the iPhone 3G at Hutchison is:
    HKD4680.00 (cost of the iPhone 3G)
    HKD188/month x 24 (2-years contract)
    HKD12/month MTR fee (over 2 years of the contract)

    -HKD1742.00 (rebate over the 2 years)

    So anyone reselling a iPhone 3G purchased at Three will have a minimum cost of HKD7738.00.

    Most reseller in Hong Kong would normally include a markup of about HKD1000.00 in their list price. Although, in this case each holder of the original contact at Three will receive a total of HKD1742.00 rebate from Three over the 2 years contract period. Therefor it is uncertain if these resellers will still charge the HKD1000.00 markup.

    If they do, the grey market price of an unlocked iPhone 3G from Hong Kong will be about HKD8738.00 (approx. USD1,120.00)

    More details of the tariff plans and my comments on my blog


  • vPhone

    Here in Portugal they ONLY sell unlocked iPhones [€499 – 8Gb, €599 – 16Gb]. You can sign a two year contract if you wish, or use your regular sim card on it. The thing is, if you want to use 3G intensively, you better have an 'iPhone 2year contract' because the telecom prices here (I shit you not) are the most expensive in the world.

    Be that as it may, android is coming so hold on to your seats..

  • michel lavaerts

    hi, I'm from Belgium, here it is also prohibited to sell a phone with a contract, it is always seperate and unlocked! Ofcourse iphones are more expensive here but they are without contract so that way you actually can call them cheap.. They are sold for 525€ (8gb) and 615€ (16gb) and as i told they are completely unlocked and without contract! You can buy them at official apple resellers and in mobistar stores, but you can use it with any carrier! All functions are available etc. It's the same phone as around the world, app store etc. It all works! Currently they are sold out ofcourse 😉
    hope this posts helps, grtz Michel

    Owyeah they have 2year warranty duhu 😉

  • Ryan


    I live in the uk and I'm thinking of getting a unlocked iphone from Belguim or Italy, does anyone know if the phone can be used in any country? Is it the same phone other than the language? What about if it goes faulty…do you think apple uk would accept it back if it was bought elsewhere ie. from another country?

    Your comments pls!!

    Thanks guys/girls!

  • ryan

    Also, what does this "2 year contract" mean for an off contract iphone? I plan you use my current Orange sim in it? I presume its a 2 year contract for the new sim….which I will discard anyway?? Bit confused!

  • As mentioned by Louis above, the 3G iphones from Hong Kong are unlocked; however, "service units" – units that Hutchison Telecom's mobile carrier "3" (Three) provides you with if you have a defective iphone, ARE LOCKED.

    One of the 2 iphones I purchased earlier this week had a problem with the top of the screen, & when I took it in for servicing, they exchanged it with a "Service Unit" which they claimed was "new".
    I found this unit to be network locked & not able to function with any other sim card other than "3" sim cards.

    My guess is that they have some service units from australia or japan, possibly repaired iphones that were defective like one of the units I had.

  • Hi Warren,

    That comment you referenced was made by me (Vinko).

    I don't believe the "Service Unit" you received is from Australia or Japan. If it was, then it will be carrier locked to the respective carrier in those countries. For example, Japan locked to SoftBank, Australia locked to Vodafone, Optus or Telstra, whom are all current exclusive resellers of the iPhone 3G in the respective countries.

    I think you should complain to Three that your iPhone 3G is carrier locked to the Three network. You can tell them that you need to use your phone with a local carrier's SIM card when you are away from Hong Kong. For example, Globe in the Philippines. That is a perfectly valid reason to have the phone carrier unlocked.

    Please do share your experience with readers of my blog also.


  • it's great for crack iphone 3G

  • hi

    i have purchased a iphone3g for australia i some market it was activated and unlocked but here in india unknowing i was been restored so can any one solve this problem

  • Hey Shankar,

    You can follow our step by step guides to first jailbreak your iPhone 3G:

    For Mac:

    For Windows:

    And then this step-by-step guide to unlock iPhone 3G:

  • Whitecyborg

    I bought my iPhone on May 4, 2009 @ Changi Airport on my way back from Washington to Indonesia.
    As soon as I arrived, I inserted may local SIM card and the iPhone go life/activated. I don't know why I don't need to go thru activation process. Maybe the seller has been very generous to have it activated before selling it to me. I thing the phone was meant to be sold in Italy as all documentation found inside the box in Italian language.
    When I connect the phone to iTune in my PC, it checked the update and updating the system from 2.1 to 2.2.

  • Whitecyborg

    Sorry, forgot to mention that it cost me SIN$ 1,300.- (approx. Euro 640.-) for 16Gb model.

  • royalst.john@gmail.com

    looking to buy an unlocked iphone in italy or france (monaco) have service in both areas and can get one for 99 euros (two yr. contract) here in monaco? all confused about cost of getting on the net, etc. while in other countries (including the u.s.)any suggestions.


    what does the serial number for and iphone in italy or hong kong stay with what are the number i am in the usa and mine is :

    serial number: 87915WJXY7A

  • nj

    hi guys im working in italy and just bought an iphone 3gs today. It is oficially unlocked and i can use my tim sim (italy) and my o2 sim card. It has 3.1.2 software on it but ill upgrade and still have a unlocked phone! It cost 619 euros…pretty expensive! but worth it!

    Hope i helped!