article on usatoday.com, Cricket Communication's iPhone 4S, which is available for $499.99 stating to today in some Cricket markets, will be sold SIM unlocked for international use. The phones will be programmed so that they will not work on US GSM operators like AT&T and T-Mobile.
That's in sharp contrast to other US carriers including Sprint, Verizon and AT&T whose iPhones are sold SIM locked. All three will unlock a customer's iPhone on request, subject to certain conditions. And then there's Sprint's Virgin Mobile brand, which will also offer the iPhone starting June 29th.Virgin's iPhone's will be SIM locked and Virgin has indicated that they will not unlock them for customers.
I applaud Cricket for their customer friendly willingness to sell the iPhone 4S unlocked. Unlike with other US operators no unlocking will be necessary to use a local prepaid SIM when outside the US. USA Today quotes a Cricket spokesperson as saying that a customer could buy an iPhone 4S, pay for one month's service to activate it and then immediately use the iPhone with a foreign SIM.
Cricket's iPhones are only available in areas like Denver, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Houston, Salt Lake City and Kansas City where Cricket operates their own network on the 1900 Mhz PCS band. You can check availability in your zip code on the Cricket site.
Update: Cricket iPhones sold after June 18, 2013 are not unlocked for international use. There are also reports that Cricket phones before after that date become locked if reset, restored or reactivated. Cricket will unlock iPhones for international use on request provided the phone has been in use for six consecutive months on the same Cricket account.