As American iPhone users increasingly ask for unlocked iPhone, or at least Verizon ready iPhones, the rest of the world is seeing a series of iPhone releases where the price seems oddly matched. Unlocked iPhones are going on the standard markets in countries around the world, which is part of the leverage that American advocates of a "great unlocking" use. What we have seen is that where you purchase these unlocked iPhones the price seems to be greatly elevated, and this has been obvious with the recent release of the iPhone 4 in China. Here the price of a 32-GB version of the unlocked iPhone comes in at 6,999 yuan, which is around $1,024 depending on the exact exchange rate. This is a major jump from other locations where the iPhone remains unlocked, such as $751 in Canada and even $800 in neighboring Hong Kong. Though it would appear as this pricing would be defining, but one place still beat it out. Israel leads the pricing pack with $1,084 for their unlocked iPhone, a price that makes availability limited to the populations.
This excessive pricing for unlocked iPhone are by no means unusual as this service has followed a pattern of inflation all around the board. In the U.S. AT&T will offer a 2GB data plan for $25, and the Israeli Cellcom sells a single GB for $21.
What causes this form of price gouging has been attributed to a number of different places. The market itself has not responded in the same way as it has domestically, or in other international centers like China and the U.K. The profit margin on Apple products has been seen to be a lot smaller, existing as a an excuse for raising prices.
The real cause of this, according to most business analysts, comes from the monopolistic practices by the company that distributes Apple's products in Israel, iDigital. iDigital has repeatedly been under scrutiny for this tight hold over the Apple market, and the stranglehold on the market was seen in the recent iPad controversy that exploded. Those who bought the iPad abroad and brought them into Israel had them forcefully taken by customs officials and there was the application of storage fees issues on the "violators."
AT&T and Apple both have avoided competitive practices and hold on tightly to this model, and even in locations where unlocked iPhones have become the standard there is still an overbearing presence of the companies involved. Though the release of the unlocked iPhone in the U.S. would be a major start for opening up the iPhone as a consistent leader, this is not the only place that Apple needs to begin breaking up the corporate stranglehold that they have encouraged.