Unlocked iPhone 15s on sale at lower prices

By Hoang Giang   October 10, 2023 | 07:35 pm PT
Unlocked iPhone 15s on sale at lower prices
New iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus are displayed during the 'Wonderlust' event at the company's headquarters in Cupertino, California, U.S. September 12, 2023. Photo by Reuters
Despite Apple’s preventive measures, unlocked iPhone 15s have appeared at VND7-10 million (US$292-417) lower than official prices.

A locked device comes with an exclusive network contract and so cannot be used with a SIM card from another telecom company unless unlocked.

However, some stores in Vietnam are able to unlock locked iPhones brought from countries like the U.S. and Japan.

Though there are some inconveniences when using the unlocked phones, many people buy them because of their cheap prices.

Quach Minh Hieu of HLC Store said unlocked iPhone 15s in Vietnam cost around VND16.5 million and the Plus version, VND18.5 million.

Large numbers of 15 and 15 Plus are being sold at low prices due to their ease of unlocking, he said.

Because their arrangement of hardware components and motherboard is similar to the iPhone14 series, technicians in Vietnam use old methods such as adding a physical SIM and installing a hybrid SIM to ensure full functionality, he said.

"Technicians will weld a new SIM tray into the space left by Apple inside the iPhone 15 and 15 Plus. When completed, the module will accept Vietnamese network subscriptions via a paired SIM."

Some stores are also selling unlocked 15 Pro Max phones at VND25 million.

A SIM tray and paired SIM used in an unlocked version of the iPhone 15. Photo by Minh Hieu

A SIM tray and paired SIM used in an unlocked version of the iPhone 15. Photo by Minh Hieu

But Nguyen Luong Duc, an executive at digital lock service provider KingLock, claimed that the number of unlocked Pro series devices is limited due to the effectiveness of Apple’s preventive measures.

iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max devices sold in the U.S. have a different mainboard design, he said.

"The device does not have space for a SIM tray, so it is not easy to add a physical SIM the usual way."

Replacing the mainboard is not feasible due to the high cost involved, he said.

Some stores replace the battery with a smaller one or remove the speaker cluster to create space for installing a physical SIM for the iPhone 15 Pro Max, he explained. But this interferes greatly with the hardware, and so more time is needed to evaluate its effectiveness, he added.

Phone repair store network Dien Thoai Vui said users should consider carefully before buying unlocked devices because some iPhone 14s and 15s lose the signal in areas where 5G networks are not common.

Switching back from a physical SIM to an e-SIM is very complicated, and unlocked iPhones have difficulty getting updates and lack a warranty in Vietnam, it added.

go to top