Apple released its unlocked iPhone 5 in the United States late in November, finally providing consumers who don’t want to be tied down to a two-year service agreement with an alternative option. With the 16 GB iPhone 5 costing $699 without any carrier subsidies, the unlocked variants do cost an arm and a leg; in comparison, the 16 GB iPhone 5 on a two-year contract would cost $199, while the 32 GB and 64 GB versions cost $299 and $399 respectively on AT&T, Sprint and Verizon.
But are unlocked phones really worth the additional outright expense? Yesterday, SlashGear contributor Don Reisinger sought to seek that answer in an opinion piece about the unlocked iPhone 5 and its pros and cons. Citing the example of his “tech-obsessed friends”, Reisinger pointed out that owners of unlocked devices have more freedom and get to save more money in the long run, while avoiding the responsibility of paying monthly charges and following burdensome carrier policies.
Reisinger, on the other hand, stressed that he would still prefer buying a carrier-branded handset and saving about $500 right off the bat rather than splurging on an unlocked device. Regarding carrier policies, he had this to say: “I don’t think they’re so bad that I would need to go to the extreme decision of buying an unlocked iPhone to show them just how mad I am. Do you think carriers, with tens of millions of customers, really care?”
However, Reisinger also pointed out that consumers who do a lot of overseas travel would find an unlocked iPhone more beneficial. Consumers from other countries, particularly those in certain parts of Europe and Asia, generally prefer unlocked devices for the same reasons mentioned above, as well as saving on expensive roaming charges that would usually be charged by a carrier for using a device out of the country.