iPhone 5s now available SIM-free in the U.S.

iPhone 5s now available SIM-free in the U.S.

U.S. customers can now buy the iPhone 5s without a SIM. This has been an option for iPhone customers outside the United States since launch, and the closest you could come in the U.S. is buying an iPhone 5s off contract with a T-Mobile US SIM. But you can now use a SIM from any carrier you choose, provided that it's GSM-compatible. Like all off-contract iPhones, the SIM-less iPhone 5s starts at $649 for 16GB, and ships in one to two weeks.

Source: Apple

iPhone 5s

iPhone 5s
Apple's current flagship iPhone with a 4-inch in-cell display, LTE 4G, and BT 4.0 LE. New features include:

Complete review >

Released
September, 2013

Alternatives
iPhone 5c, iPhone 4s

Replacements
iPhone 6 (rumored)
Fall, 2014

Resources
Buyers guide
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Joseph Keller

Joseph Keller is a news reporter for iMore. He's also chilling out and having a sandwich.

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Reader comments

iPhone 5s now available SIM-free in the U.S.

14 Comments

Is buying an iPhone this way the best value? I know it's more up front but would getting an iPhone this way be better than a subsidized 2 year contract?
How does the iMore staff buy? Subsidized/contract or all up front or a mix?

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It can be worth it for some people because where I live (Canada) and other places too, phone companies require at least a $70/month plan. If you currently have a $30 plan that you're happy with and the companies require $300+ to break the contract, then buying a phone without a contract is well worth it for some people.

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iPhone off contract is generally not worth it, nor is any other flagship for that matter. It's only worth it if you go to Tmobile and sign up for the $30 pre paid plan, or if you want to keep your unlimited contract with Verizon.

Not everyone lives in the US, so that statement is a bit far off. It is actually worth it if it's only marginally more expensive than the carrier locked versions. (buying directly from apple is about There are quite a few countries in Europe for example, where carrier subsidizing basically doesn't even exist or you get like a 10-30% discount even with a ~70$/mo plan. Plus you get to freely switch SIMs if you travel so you can be more cost-efficient - as others have stated. T-Mo's new worldwide package seems nice, but also seems to be US-only and I haven't come across it at T-Mo Europe, despite the fact that overall they have a larger presence there, than in the States.

This would be how I would buy one if I had the money. I don't necessarily want to have to pay a phone bill but I do want an iPhone.

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This is worth it for those that travel internationally and utilize local provider pre-paid SIMS. Carriers are notoriously unwilling to unlock phones, especially for those on contract.
Luckily I'm on Tmobile and they unlocked my iPhone 5 for use during my international travels. Even though they now offer international 2G/EDGE data it's still nice to have the option to get 3G/4G data with a local provider should you choose.

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This is the only reason I can think of that makes purchasing an iPhone upfront is worth it. Other than this, getting one along with a contract is the way to go.

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I bought one of the so called t-mobile iPhones 5S from Apple in September. It comes with a SIM but the SIM is not active and the phone is not locked in any way. I don't see how selling the phone without a SIM would be different.

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This is ok. Good to have options. Not everyone is happy with giving up their iPhone because of leaving for different carrier.

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Is the Verizon iPhone 5s still GSM unlocked like the iPhone 5 was? Is there a reason someone would not go that route?