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AT&T offers phone-free SIM card

Buy a SIM card from AT&T and use your own cell phone.

Now that Verizon Wireless has thrown open its doors, and grabbed a lot of attention in the process, it appears that AT&T is still trying to convince consumers that it plays nice, too. First, it took pains early last month to remind us it had an open network ("You can use any handset on our network you want. We don't prohibit it, or even police it," an exec said) and now it is selling SIM cards for use with any compatible phone.

The 3G, 64K SIMs are just $10, but you get a whopping $5 discount if you sign a two-year contract (hint: sometimes it's best to pay full price). Alternatively, if you don't fancy contracts, you also can use the cards with the carrier's GoPhone prepaid service. Though the rumor mill is saying that the phone-free SIM cards don't entitle you to multimedia messaging, I'd be surprised if that was the case, and AT&T doesn't list any such restrictions on its Web site. The carrier only says you must use the SIM card with an unlocked or locked AT&T cell phone that operates on the 800 to 900 GSM bands. Also, the handset should not have been previously reported as lost or stolen. So go ahead, free your phone!