Now that iPhone 4 sales in Germany have passed from the exclusive realm of T-Mobile to O2 and Vodafone as well, AppleInsider reports that customers there can also opt for a carrier-free version of the superphone. Apple has previously offered unlocked iPhones in some other countries, including France where the option is required by law. However, this is the first time that Germans have been able to order the iPhone from the Apple store there and pop in whatever SIM card they want.
Unlocked and contract-free phones are common in Europe, and SIM cards with prepaid voice and data buckets are readily available. People that travel overseas on a regular basis often buy unlocked GSM phones and local SIM cards to avoid extortionate roaming rates. Of course, avoiding a carrier commitment doesn't come cheap. An 8GB 3GS will run about US$715 in the German Apple online store or at any of the four brick and mortar outlets in Germany. Fourth generation models will cost $866 or $1,017 for the 16 and 32GB versions respectively.