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As expected, unlocked iPhone 5 handsets are now available to purchase from the Apple Online Store. It has taken Apple a lot more time to launch the unlocked iPhone 5, which went on sale in September, due to production issues. Last year, Apple had started selling unlocked iPhone 4S on its Online Store less than a month after it was launched.

If you visit Apple’s U.S. Online Store, you will now see an option to “get iPhone unlocked and contract free” while buying an iPhone 5.

The unlocked GSM iPhone 5 models are available for $649, $749 and $849 for the 16GB, 32GB and 64GB models respectively and will be shipped in 1 week. Just like the unlocked iPhone 4S or iPhone 4, the unlocked iPhone 5 only works on supported GSM networks such as AT&T, T-Mobile in the U.S. It won’t work with CDMA carriers such as Verizon or Sprint.

The unlocked iPhone includes all the features of iPhone but without a wireless contract commitment. You can activate and use iPhone on the supported GSM wireless network of your choice, such as AT&T in the United States. The unlocked iPhone 4, iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 will not work with CDMA-based carriers such as Verizon Wireless or Sprint.

If you don’t want a multiyear service contract, or if you prefer to use a local carrier when traveling abroad, the unlocked iPhone is the best choice. It does not come with a micro-SIM card for iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S, or a nano-SIM card for iPhone 5, so you’ll need to get one from any supported GSM carrier worldwide. To start using it, simply insert the card into the slot on your iPhone and turn it on by pressing and holding the On/Off button for a few seconds. Then follow the onscreen instructions to set up your iPhone.

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