Want a Legit Unlocked iPhone 3GS 32GB? Got $999

iPhone 3GS Hero

Buy.com is offering the iPhone 3GS at 32GB "Never-Locked LEGALLY Unlocked" for $999. You can also get the iPhone 3G at 16GB for $849.

While seller DB Electronics doesn't source the gear, we can only guess they're picking them up somewhere Apple sells unlocked iPhones (like Hong Kong) and reselling them here (if someone knows better, drop us a correction in the comments).

What that means for manufacturers warranties and/or Apple Care, well, we don't fancy the plane ride. If you don't either, make sure you establish how the reseller will be covering exchanges/repairs for you.

So, any world-travelers going to take the plunge at 1K?

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

More Posts



← Previously

Tuesday Fun Video: iPhone 3GS Headed Robot!

Next up →

T-Mobile UK Offering Unlocked iPhones to Retain High-Value Customers?

Reader comments

Want a Legit Unlocked iPhone 3GS 32GB? Got $999


If you happen to travel to Italy this summer you can try any vodafone or TIM shop and get an officially unlocked iPhone 3GS for EUR 599 (16GB) or EUR 719 (32GB). However, you might have to look for a long time as they might simply refuse to sell you one since they prefer to sell you a contract. The easier way might be to go to a general electronics shop instead.

Or even better get it from Australia unlocked direct from apple for AUD 1049 (EUR 612, USD 883). Buy.com is ripping you off!!

I wonder if Buy.Com is assuming the warranty for these phones, since Apple will deny service to out-of-country phones. This is one thing you guys quoting overseas prices fail to consider. If it breaks, you are in a world of hurt.
While these prices may seem like a total rip off, I'm not so sure they are.
If BUY.com has to import phones and assume the warranty costs, and be prepared to return the phone to country of origin for service they may not have as much of a retail profit margin as you think.
The average selling for 16/32 iPhones is 574/674 US$ Thats what APPLE gets.
Source: See the bottom chart here:http://financial-alchemist.blogspot.com/2009/07/apple-inc-aapl-iphones-s...
The retailers (att/rogers/o2) subsidize these phones over the life of the contract to achieve the in-store prices.
With no contract, the retailers have to sell the phone at a profit, so its hard to see BUY getting them from resellers for less than 700/800. After shipping, importing fees, etc., there does not seem to be a lot of retail markup left.
Now if BUY has negotiated a deal with Apple directly (perhaps in Australia) they might be given a little more margin, but not much).

I bought 10 of the neverlocked iPhone the day they came out in Australia as I was flying home later that day and knew the international traveling iPhone market was pretty ripe. I sold the first 2 for $2000, the rest for between 850-1200 (all were the 16gb version). As for warranty, they are only covered in the original country of purchase, but you can mail them to Apple Australia to get them serviced. Return shipping is free :-)
I wish I had bought more but already doubled the 'launch limit' of 5.

Truth: Do you have a 3 GS? If so, how much did you spend? How much will you have spent in 2 yrs?
With an Unlocked 3 GS I can have internet access for $.40/hr and do 100 texts for the same amount! CHEAP!
How much is the buy.com's shipping?
All those ebay sellers selling officially unlocked 3 GS's say they are covered by Apple for one yr.. so that's Bull?

I can walk into any Apple Store in Australia to buy an official unlocked iphone outright, or order one online and have it shipped to any Australian address. 16GB 3GS is $AUD879 or around USD$740 with today's exchange rate.
If there are enough interest I might start selling them on Ebay and make some pocket money!
There seems to be a lot more choices here - All 5 mobile phone carriers are selling iphone here FREE and the cheapest 24 month plan starts from AUD $54 a month. It sucks to have only AT&T as the only choice in US.

I took the plunge and spent about US$872 (I got a refund on the tax at the airport) on a 32gb 3GS in the Chadstone Apple Store in Australia; and about US$737 on a 16gb. And these are including tax. When I left Australia, I signed up at the TRS (Tourist Refund Scheme) desk to have my credit card credited for the tax.
It's better to get it yourself the next time you visit countries that sell unlocked iPhones in their Apple Stores. Because I bought 4 phones (2 units limit per person, but my partner bought 2 as well) and even when I resell them to family at home, I still charge a markup for credit card interest and a "fee" for the trouble I went through to go and get it (even though I went to Australia to watch a musical; the iPhones were just a bonus).