250,000 iPhones sold to unlockers

25 Oct 2007

Apple’s exclusive phone deal with AT&T for the iPhone in the US is not so exclusive according to the company’s chief operating officer Tim Cook.

Apple may have sold almost 1.4 million iPhones in its fourth quarter but it estimates that around 250,000 of these handsets have been unlocked to work with other phone networks, leaving AT&T with 250,000 less people to bill each month than expected.

AT&T signed this deal as exclusive carrier for the iPhone for five years, with the intention of holding a position of exclusivity and perhaps winning over new customers this way.

This might explain why Apple cracked down on iPhone unlockers earlier this month by releasing an update which rendered many ‘hacked’ iPhone handsets useless.

Cook went on to say that most of these unlocked phone had been cut after the recent US$200 price cut, and explained that although these unlocked handsets may be functional with other networks, they are not able to use all the features of a ‘legitimate’ AT&T iPhone.

Because the iPhone hasn’t made it to this side of the pond, there were also purchases made for iPhones that were brought back to Europe and unlocked, but Apple has not released any statistics on this.

The iPhone will be released in the UK exclusively in conjunction with O2 on 9 November, however, there is still no sign of one being released here.

One wonders how many impatient Irish fans will be sneaking one back and unlocking it in time for Christmas?

Currently there are several iPhones and unlocking packages floating around on a popular Irish bidding site as well as an Irish website specialising in importing and unlocking these handsets.

By Marie Boran