The unlocked version of the iPhone 4S is now available in the United States.
The unlocked iPhone 4S that officially went on sale Nov. 11. It allows users to power the smartphone without a network contract. This is especially beneficial for using the iPhone internationally, industry experts noted.
The unlocked iPhone however is extremely expensive because it is not tied to a contract. The 16 GB retails for $649, the 32 GB for $749 and the 64 GB for $849.
Apple officially announced that AT&T would be the only carrier powering the unlocked iPhone 4S.
"The unlocked iPhone works only on supported GSM networks, such as AT&T in the U.S.," said Apple in a statement.
"When you travel internationally, you can also use a micro-SIM card from a local GSM carrier. The unlocked iPhone will not work with CDMA carriers such as Verizon Wireless or Sprint,” said Apple.
Sprint and Verizon support the CDMA network that is not readily compatible with international networks; however, the iPhone 4S contains dual antennae that allow the phone to switch between GSM and CDMA networks depending on the carrier.
The iPhone 4S is the first iPhone to debut with both GSM and CDMA compatibility.
Reports during the early release of the iPhone 4S indicated that Sprint would also power the unlocked iPhone 4S and the network sold its handsets SIM-unlocked.
However, as of Nov. 11, all iPhone 4S handsets purchased will be SIM-locked, according to GSM Arena.
Handsets activated before Nov. 11 are expected to remain unlocked, but for how long is uncertain.