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On Thursday, Apple began offering a factory unlocked, ‘SIM-free’ variant of its latest iPhone XR for customers ordering on Apple’s online store, which allows buyers to steer clear of Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T, and Sprint.
When the iPhone XR launched in the U.S. last month, the device was not immediately available to order in a SIM-free option, which meant that early buyers were limited into selecting plans with America’s ‘Big Four’ wireless carriers, as provided via the online Apple Store.
Given the subtle variations in LTE frequencies supported by different carriers and that not all iPhone XR buyers want to be locked into a contract with AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon or Sprint — the initial lack of an unlocked iPhone XR option caused discontent with some customers.
Luckily for U.S. buyers, Apple added the option to purchase a SIM-free iPhone XR variant, in any color or capacity, giving those served by alternative networks, such as Boost Mobile, Republic Wireless or MetroPCS, a handset that’s compatible with most GSM, CDMA and LTE network bands.
While it offers a greater assortment of mobile network connectivity options, there’s no price disparity between a SIM-free and carrier-locked iPhone XR — both will cost you the same price of $749 for a 64 GB model, or $899 for the 256 GB variant, in black, white, blue, coral pink, yellow or red.
When purchasing a SIM-free iPhone model, you pay the full retail price of the unit up-front — in this case, $749 or $899 — and cannot finance the handset via an installment plan, such as those available to T-Mobile or Verizon customers. There are, however, numerous financing options available through Apple, directly, for those looking to spread out the cost of their SIM-free investment.