Play.com's unlocked iPhone 3Gs investigated: Apple mute on matter

Play.com has begun listing brand new unlocked iPhones for sale on its Web site. We've been investigating the offer and have plenty to report

Nate Lanxon Special to CNET News

Play.com has begun listing brand-new unlocked iPhones for sale on its Web site -- both the original and 3G models -- SIM-free, opening up Apple's smart phone to any user on any UK mobile network. Prices start at £549.

Play.com says that the phone will work on Orange, T-Mobile, Vodafone, 3 and of course O2 in the UK, and come with a full manufacturer warranty. A spokesperson for Play.com told us the phone can be registered as normal on Apple's Web site, and "the standard Play.com returns policy would apply".

The phones themselves originate from within the EU, "due to EU legislation ensuring the sale of SIM-free mobile phones," and should work the same way as phones bought from O2, except you won't be able to use visual voicemail.

You'll need to ensure you set up unlimited data on your contract, however, as the iPhone devours network data. An unlimited Wi-Fi plan might be an idea too, as that comes as part of the O2 monthly contract and pay as you go plans.

On offer are unlocked 8GB and 16GB iPhone 3Gs, for £549 and £599 respectively. Pay-monthly or pre-pay SIM cards will be compatible.

Apple declined to comment on the matter.

You can browse the deals today at Play.com.