iPhone: locked up tight, not that it matters right now

Update 8/21: The iphone has been fully unlocked, but there is still some work to do before it becomes practical

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Original Post:

The iPhone is currently locked up tight, which means that people are stuck with using it on AT&T’s network. However, even if someone clever found a way to unlock them, you still wouldn’t be able to get the full iPhone experience. I wrote about this in my very first entry, but it’s aged off the front page, so I guess it’s time for an update with a few more details.

  • First off, it’s only a GSM/EDGE phone. In the US, I’m pretty sure that means that tMobile is your only possible option (other than some regional GSM providers). No chance to use Verizon or Sprint.
  • Second, because it’s a US phone, you won’t have much luck with it in Europe. even though GSM is prevelant there because they use different transmission frequencies. Also, Europe pretty much skipped over EDGE for real 3G datarates. (Update: the iPhone is quad-band, so frequencies shouldn’t be an issue).
  • Third, some of the phone features, the Visual Voicemail and Push IMAP in particular, are dependent on new, non-standard, cellular infrastructure. Also, some people have suggested that unlocked phones, in the US, at least, are denied access to a carriers mobile data infrastructure, which would pretty much make the iPhone suck, unless you had a usable WiFi signal.

That does still leave you with the internet features, but only in theory, because, once again, the iPhone isn’t unlocked, and probably won’t be anytime soon, though some people are holding out hope.

This blog is optimistically dedicated to the time when the iPhone is fully unlocked so it can be used in full featured form with a range of carriers, and so 3rd party developers can create installable apps.

Note: Some people are selling “unlocked iphones,” but all they really mean is that it doesn’t have a service plan yet. Big deal, since you only have one choice for service right now (and probably for the next 6 months, at least), and that is AT&T.

Update 8/21: The iphone has been fully unlocked, but there is still some work to do before it becomes practical

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