Should I Import an iPhone

Q. I have heard that iPhones can be unlocked and used in Canada. Can I drive to the US and buy a iPhone?

A. Hopefully by the time this article is published iPhones will be available in Canada. Rumor has it that Rogers will start carrying the iPhone in November. The iPhone runs on the GSM network and Rogers is the only carrier providing GSM in Canada. As far as I know Rogers is still in discussions with Apple and Rogers is also reviewing its data packages for all phones similar to the iPhone. When these phones are in use they transfer a lot of data. By comparison the phone packge that AT&T offeres iPhone users in the US for $60 a month would cost over $350 on Rogers.

In September a number of hackers developed third party applications to unlock the iPhone. Normally the iPhone is activated with iTunes and also requires an account with AT&T. With the software workarounds it is possible to activate and unlock iPhones for use in Canada. What you end up with is a functioning wireless iPhone with which you can surf the web and with a Rogers SIM card you can make and receive phone calls. A few applications, such as Visual Voice mail, require a connection to AT&T in order to function so they will not work.

So the answer is Yes, maybe. There are unlocked phones already available in The GTA (it is legal to unlock a cellular phone) and there are many users who have them. Some early adopters have even been able to purchase iPhone in the US and have successfully received the $100 store credit – which Apple provided when they cut the iPhone’s price.

Apple recently sent out an update which, while fixing some bugs in the original iPhones, they also deactivated some hacked iPhones. Fortunately there is also a downgrade available to recover the iPhone. That is the price of living on the edge. You can spend $500 or more on the phone and there is no telling what the unauthorized service will cost when you receive your service bill. Exercising patience may be the best approach.

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