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eBay sellers: iPhone 5 is yours for a mere $1,600

People are selling the iPhone 5 at a premium on eBay in yet another sign that demand for the smartphone is high.

The iPhone 5 in hand.
The iPhone 5 in hand.

Those trying to cash in on the iPhone 5 craze have taken to eBay to sell off iPhone 5 devices even before they've gone on sale.

A check of eBay shows that the range of prices varies wildly. The secondary market thinks nothing of asking more than $1,000 for an unlocked 64-gigabyte iPhone 5 and there were was one going for $1,625. Unlocked 32GB models could be found for between $800 and $1000. Those selling unlocked 16GB versions of the smartphone were asking mainly between $900 and $1,000.

In the United States, Apple is selling unlocked 16GB, 32GB and 64GB models for $649, $749 and $849 respectively.

A screen shot of an eBay auction. Greg Sandoval/CNET

Apple is scheduled to begin offering the iPhone 5 to the public on Friday at 8 a.m. local time in a given time zone. The handset appears to be generating big demand. The number of phones Apple set aside for preorders, which Apple began taking last Friday, appeared to run out after only an hour and now some who preordered may not see their devices shipped for as long as a month. What is likely to accelerate demand are the reviews for the device, which came out yesterday. The iPhone 5 saw overwhelmingly positive reaction from most of the major reviewers, including CNET.

If you're wondering about prices for phones tied to a contract, those weren't much cheaper.

Apple's prices for iPhones 5 that come with a two-year contract are $199 for 16GB, $299 for a 32GB version and $399 for a 64GB version.

On eBay, the bids for one AT&T, 16GB iPhone 5 had reached $510 as of this morning. A black 32GB Verizon model had received 22 bids, with the highest being $890. A 64GB Sprint phone was going for $1,525.

According to The Los Angeles Times, which first reported on this, some of those purchasing the iPhone 5 on eBay may be from countries which won't get the iPhone 5 for a while.

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