iPhone Apple Store question

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I only use a phone to make the occasional call, rather than a social device, so my old 3gs is perfectly good for me. (Yes, that is true. I swear. I really don't walk across busy streets or drive though crowded parking lots with my face planted in the glass.) So I don't pay a lot of attention to that line of Apple products.

I am trying to purchase a phone for a young woman who Will probably attach it to her body permanently. So, I want a non-contract unlocked iPhone. No problem, Apple sells one apparently. Unfortunately, the young man at the Apple bar had left his genius pills at home that day. His answer to my question why the unlocked phone is branded T-Mobile was that "Yes, it is T-Mobile and unlocked, unless it isn't, but it might be locked, unless it might not be, in which case the phone is semi-locked."

If I look at the Apple store on line, there is an option for an unlocked phone, but the click-button says T-Mobile. My question is, if it is truly unlocked and non-contract, why the connection with a phone company?

Any iPhone gurus got an answer?
 
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If I was to guess, and it is only a guess, is that Apple doesn't have direct distribution, the phones are provided by the vendors. Since most of the time people don't buy the no contract, full price phone, it is easier to provide it via the vendor.

Of the various vendors, T-moble make a big deal about the availability of no contract, so it is probably easiest to use them.

You may want to look where and when the end user is located, and the availability of the network type in that area. Att & T-mobile are GSM networks, Verizon, Sprint, etc are CDMA. I'm not sure the iPhone can be "both"

Also if the end user is a world traveler, you may want to make sure of the type.
 
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MacInWin

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T-Mobile is listed there probably because T-Mobile is IIRC at the present moment the only provider who has a no-contract contract. AT&T and Verizon both require a contract to use the service. So the unlocked phone is truly unlocked. But AT&T and Verizon will lock you into a contract to use them. Not great, but there you go.
 

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If I look at the Apple store on line, there is an option for an unlocked phone, but the click-button says T-Mobile. My question is, if it is truly unlocked and non-contract, why the connection with a phone company?

I have an iPhone 5C (T-Mobile). When you purchase an iPhone at an Apple Store you have a choice of 4 carriers: AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile. Only the T-Mobile phone is sold without a contract. (That might have changed with Sprint.) When I say T-Mobile phone, there's nothing about the phone that's marked or locked to T-Mobile. The phone is sold at the Apple Store with a T-Mobile sim card already installed.

When I picked up my phone at the Apple Store, I took it to a T-Mobile store near my home where they activated it for me and switched my number from my old T-Mobile phone to the new iPhone. It took about 10 minutes for them to do that.

If you buy a T-Mobile iPhone on line from Apple it will come equipped with a T-Mobile sim card already installed. The phone is not locked and that T-Mobile sim card can be removed with a paper clip and a sim card from AT&T inserted instead. (If you so desire.) However, which ever sim card is installed, it has to be activated by the carrier.

I chose T-Mobile because the monthly cost is the least expensive. I have unlimited Talk and Text for 2 lines and 3 GB of data (which I never use) for $74.00 per month. You do need to determine how good coverage is in your area before deciding on a carrier. T-Mobile coverage is very good here in the Dallas - Fort Worth area.
 
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Thanks everyone.

She will definitely want GSM, but I assumed that she would just plant her old sim card from the Straight Talk phone into the new one. That is what I did years ago with my 3gs and called ST to get it activated. Or moved over, or whatever - it was a while ago.

$45 a month unlimited talk and messaging. I have been told that if you abuse the data side you will get a pointy message telling you to knock off some of the bytes, but she will have minimal use for data.
 

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