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Instead of being robbed by ATT (again) what is my best option for buying an UNLOCKED iPhone 4S?

Asked by Buttonstc (27557points) February 23rd, 2013 from iPhone

I’ve done the Math and realized that even tho it may cost me more upfront, the savings over the two year contract obligation are significant. And even tho ATT is no longer is the sole option (as it was years ago) the other carriers deals are equally onerous. So, I’m ready to be independent. I just need the salient facts to guide my purchase. Hopefully you guys can help me out :)

I’ve been looking at listings on my local craigslist, but I’m unsure of how to check that it really is an unlocked phone that they’re selling.

I’ve also seen ads for Virgin Mobile in which they’re selling iPhones without contract but it was unclear whether they’re truly unlocked.

NB (I definitely don’t want the iPhone 5 and I definitely don’t want to be locked in to a 2 yr contract.)

So hopefully some of you techy jellies have more knowledge about this than I, or others of you have had good buying experiences apart from carriers or the Apple Store (apparently they don’t sell unlocked phones but are merely acting as a conduit for one or another carrier :(

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