Although the 1st Gen iPhone never made it to Asia officially, we saw thousands of them coming in Unlocked and selling like Hot Cakes. But this might not be the case with New iPhone 3G which is due to launch in India and several other countries later this year.
The original iPhone were sold by Apple Stores (online and offline) without a AT&T contract activated. This allowed traders to purchase these devices from Apple, and instead of going over to AT&T to activate a plan under the 2yr contract with them, the devices were exported out of the US. But this time around since the iPhone’s are significantly subsidized by Apple / AT&T (starting @ $199) a lot of care has been taken to avoid a similar situation.
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Update 22/9/08: So far the iPhone 3G is virgin. Unlocked iPhones are no longer the talking point… World wide launch has played down the unlocked devices business…