Unlocked iPhone 4 in Japan
So unlocked iPhone 4s are now available in Japan. In fact one small MVNO carrier has even teamed up with Expansys to provide a plan and an unlocked phone, but I think the appeal is very limited.
Basically it comes down to cost. The only reason to go with an unlocked iPhone in Japan us that for some reason or another, Softbank is not going to work for you. You certainly won’t be saving any money going this route. While there are a few plans for these unlocked phones, they are pretty much the same as Softbanks plan. Also with no official Docomo plan or iPhone, there’s no easy way to get the iPhone to work with unlimited data and get the in network calling discounts. Finally the coat of the phone is pretty outrageous. Without the carrier subsidy that Softbank gives for a 2 year contract, the more than double cost is boosted even higher by import and commodity fees that push the phone well over $1,100 USD.
It’s nice to see these grey market phones for security. There are a few cases where these phones really are the best option, but it’s not really helpful for most consumers interested in the iPhone and it’s pretty much never the cheapest option.