iPhone 4S FAQ: Network Switching, Roaming, Availability & Pricing Of Unlocked iPhone 4S

iPhone 4S

Apple’s new iPhone 4S was finally available for pre-order in the US, Cananda, UK, France, Germany, Japan and Australia earlier today.

Ever since the Let’s Talk iPhone event, when Apple unveiled their hotly anticipated fifth generation iPhone, readers have asked us about network switching, roaming, availability and pricing of the unlocked iPhone 4S etc.. So if you’re one of them, we hope this post answers some of your questions.

Network switching:

We thought that since iPhone 4S was a world phone, which means that it supports both GSM and CDMA network, switching carriers would finally be a viable option with iPhone 4S. But according to the iPhone FAQ on Apple’s website, it is not going to be possible.

If you choose AT&T as your wireless carrier, your iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S will use only GSM cellular technology for voice and data services, and it can roam internationally on 200 GSM carriers around the world.

Here’s another note in a small print on Apple’s website on the Compare iPhone webpage:

CDMA available only if iPhone 4S is sold and activated for use on a CDMA network.

You should also remember that you may not be able to switch network even if you’ve completed your contract obligations. The FAQ says:

The iPhone model you purchase is subject to your wireless service provider’s policies, which may include restrictions on switching service providers and roaming, even after conclusion of any required minimum service contract.


The world phone also doesn’t mean CDMA iPhone 4S user can buy a GSM SIM card in the country you’re travelling, so that you can pay cheap local rates instead of the expensive roaming rates. The FAQ says:

If you choose Sprint or Verizon Wireless as your wireless carrier, your iPhone 4 will use only CDMA cellular technology for voice and data services. An iPhone 4S activated on Sprint or Verizon Wireless will use CDMA technology too, but it also has the ability to roam internationally on GSM networks using the provided GSM micro-SIM.

This is expected as you’ve bought a subsidised CDMA iPhone 4S and hence it is locked to the network. But it will be possible with an unlocked iPhone 4S, but please note that there is no such thing as unlocked CDMA iPhone 4. The FAQ says:

If you have selected an unlocked GSM phone, you will need to acquire a micro-SIM from the supported GSM carrier of your choice and activate it in order to use your iPhone.


Apple revealed earlier today that the unlocked GSM iPhone 4S will be available in November. Contract-free GSM iPhone 4S will also be available in November.

Get iPhone unlocked and contract-free. Coming in November.


The 16GB unlocked iPhone 4S will be available for $649, 32GB unlocked iPhone 4S for $749 and 64GB unlocked iPhone 4S for $849.

Unlocked iPhone 4S

Hope this answers all your questions. If you’ve any other questions feel free to drop us a line and we’ll try to answer it.

[via Daggle]

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  • Micah

    You have 749 for the 64gig by mistake.

  • mchunu

    I think you misread our misunderstood what you touted in the roaming section about the 4s. The FAQ says that iPhone 4 users will only be able to use CDMA but an iPhone 4S WILL be able to roam internationally with an international micro Sim card! So it’s only iPhone 4 users who cannot roan internationally on gsm networks!

    • mchunu

      Or maybe I read it wrong and you can only use the Sim that comes with the phone and not another Sim which would suck!

    • Adam

      This sounds correct. Their statement says:

      An iPhone 4S activated on Sprint or Verizon Wireless will use CDMA technology too, but it also has the ability to roam internationally on GSM networks using the provided GSM micro-SIM.

      Sounds to me like the CDMA phone is more versatile than the GSM version.

  • AC

    Rubbish LOL

  • Baka

    The prices for outright in Australia is

    16GB – AUD$799
    32GB – AUD$899
    64GB – AUD$999

    what the hell? first we had to pay extra for apps then music and now for the iPhone? even with the currency exchange this is still at least AUD$100 more!

    • Kiwiholden

      Your looking at this the wrong way we are lucky we can get iPhone on pre paid ppl in the US have to wait till November and it’s always been easier for us to get the iPhone on pre paid, I have my iPhone 4 on Telstra per paid.

      We pay more for all US devices but look at it this way we get it for free on a two year plan and they have to pay around $300.

      We have always had it on all networks which means cheaper plans than them.
      It’s only now there getting it on more carriers.

      Everyone in the USA are getting ripped off because they have to much monopoly and the rest of the world are getting good deals.

      I find it funny for a change.

  • anshul

    why unlocked device will not support CDMA networks ..???

  • fas

    Apple is so confused :@

    • whats happen you used i phone 3gs and 4gs

  • mkimid

    Standard(?) 3G network can support GSM and/or CDMA thru WCDMA even you you ip3G~ip4. Such as Korea. Anyway o should wait till Nov

  • anshul

    why unlocked device will not support CDMA networks ..?????????

  • boss

    what is the diff?

    “””unlocked GSM iPhone 4S will be available in November. Contract-free GSM iPhone 4S will ALSO be available in November.””

    unlocked GSM iPhone 4S Vs Contract-free GSM iPhone 4S?????????

    • Unlocked GSM iPhone 4S means you can use the iPhone on any compatible GSM carrier, whereas in case of the contract-free GSM iPhone 4S, you will be still locked to a carrier but have the flexibility to select any plan and don’t have to commit to a long term contract.

  • midkidd

    The fact that the “unocked” iphone 4s has to be “locked” to a specific carrier “Once activated” is pure bullsh*t. I should be able to have Multiple accounts as well as different international sim cards And use any of which at my own convience. This is definitely A job for the iphone hack community. Once I buy an unlocked GSM/CDMA phone, I should be able to switch between cdma networks, USA sim card networks, or International sim card networks at “Free Wil”.

  • phil

    this is madness all this money for unlock iphone some one will find a way to so you can used cdma or gsm

  • midkidd

    I hope they do

  • Jonathan

    Will a GSM phone work with Sprint. Someone is trying to sell me an iPhone 4s unlocked but it says any GSM network.

  • Michael

    I wonder if I buy a iPhone 4s in France can it be use in Malaysia? Is France watts same as Malaysia?

  • Adie

    Hi all…i was wondering, if i buy an unlocked iphone from the US, then i move to another country but the available network is only CDMA, can i use it?