After everyone got their part numbers straightened out, it appears that unlocked iPhone 4s could be hitting American soil on Wednesday, possibly opening up the freedom of choice between carriers and allowing US consumers to easily grab a SIM overseas without incurring expensive roaming fees. This is big news for the United States, where unlocked phones aren’t typically sold in stores (while you can buy a phone in full, you’ll still end up being locked into a carrier). International travelers from the U.S. will finally be able to hot swap SIMs overseas, but could this be the only benefit? T-Mobile and AT&T run on GSM, but aren’t completely compatible with each other (they work on different bands), and Verizon is on its own with CDMA. The iPhone 4 does currently have a capable GSM-CDMA Qualcomm MDM6600 inside, although Apple currently hasn’t utilized the dual-mode functionality.
MacRumors reports that the unlocked iPhones have shipped to Apple Stores, and they’ll be available on store shelves starting Wednesday. They’ll cost you $649 an $749 a pop for 16GB and 32GB models: consumers who pay up front will have the benefit of avoiding carrier lock-in.